WALLACE BERMAN - VERIFAX
June 11 – July 24, 2010
Opening Thursday, June 10th 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Anne Mosseri-Marlio Galerie dedicates the summer exhibit to the legendary Verifax works of Wallace Berman (1926 – 1976). A selection of Verifax collages, editions and a reproduction of Semina will be exhibited. His film “Untitled” (commonly referred to as Aleph) will be projected.
Wallace Berman was born in Staten Island, New York, moved and grew up in California. In the 1960’s he became the charismatic fundamental figure of the California Beat Generation. Dennis Hopper described him as “…If there was a guru, he was it – the high priest, the holy man, the rabbi.” The late actor, artist and photographer documented members of the Beat scene in insightful portraits. Berman created a new form of collage in which he meshed popular culture, tradition, politics, symbolic and mystical messages. During the early Pop Art decade Wallace Berman was one of the central figures of the California art scene in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Mamco in Geneva dedicated a solo show to him in 2000, Art is love is God, 1957 – 1976; the Centre Pompidou in Paris included him in the retrospective Los Angeles 1955-1965; and the Camden Arts Center, London presented a memorable show in 2008 entitled All is personal: the Art of Wallace Berman. Most recently, in 2008 – 09 Stockholm’s Moderna Museet included Wallace Berman works in Time & Place: Los Angeles 1958 – 1968, which was merged with the other two focus regions Milano / Torino and Rio de Janeiro as Hot Spots in Zurich’s Kunsthaus in 2009.
The Verifax series are Wallace Berman’s best-known artworks. Between 1964 and 1976 he experimented with a precursor of the photocopier, known as Verifax, that was already obsolete at the time. He combined photography, collage and printing in the Verifax works. An image of a right hand taken from a magazine advertisement was chosen as the framework within which he placed a transistor radio. He superimposed pertinent images on the speaker section. The most commonly used imagery ranges from fighters to ice hockey players as these portrayed what Wallace Berman saw flowing through the airwaves: people, things, events, symbols. The popular hand-held radio is transformed into a personal message projection surface.
Between 1955 and 1964 he published Semina. All 9 issues were printed, assembled and bound by hand. Semina was a means of communicating and distributing artworks, prose, poetry, photos that were far beyond mainstream America. As an admirer and early translator of Hermann Hesse, Jean Cocteau and Beaudelaire he could discern new important literary figures and cultivated relationship networks and friendships amongst poets, musicians and artists.
Over almost a decade Wallace Berman filmed and edited his only movie, which he never named but is commonly referred to as Aleph. It is a sort of visual journal on 8 mm film, with Hebrew letters of the Kabala written on it. The film’s rhythm reflects the raw energy, innovation and revolutionary alternative atmosphere of California in the 1960’s.
Works of Wallace Berman are in the permanent collection of the most important art and photography museums in the United States and Europe, as well as private collections. This exhibit is made possible by the generous cooperation of Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles and the Estate of Wallace Berman.
For further information please contact the gallery at +41 43 243 0380 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday – Friday 12 – 6 PM, Saturday 11 AM – 4 PM Bleichwerweg 33, 8002 Zurich