The first exhibition of John Baldessari’s work in Russia, 1+1=1, presents the artist’s most recent completed series of paintings that offer a playful ‘double take’ on the canon of art history and continue his longstanding investigation into the tensions between text and image in art. Produced in 2011 and 2012, the works were created in four interconnected parts — Double Vision, Double Feature, Double Bill (Part 1 and 2) and Double Play. The exhibition at Garage will be the first time a selection from all the Double series are seen together.
Using art history textbooks as his source, Baldessari has selected masterpieces from the 18th to the 20th centuries by artists including Chardin, de Chirico, Courbet, David, Duchamp, Gaugin, Hockney, Magritte, Malevich, Manet, Matisse and Warhol. In each instance, he gives the works a new lease on life by choosing a fragment and interpreting it as a complete image in its own right before 'doubling' or pairing it with a text that appears as a title. Works in Double Vision pair one artist's name with a visual fragment from another well-known artist; Double Feature combines an outtake of an Old Master painting with a title from film noir; Double Bill juxtaposes images culled from two works, with one of the artists named below and the other not; and Double Play couples an image with a title from a song.
1+1=1 is co-curated by Garage's new Chief Curator, Kate Fowle, and International Advisor, Hans Ulrich Obrist. The show is presented as part of the citywide cultural program developed in conjunction with the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.
In celebration of Baldessari's first visit to Moscow, Garage is hosting a public conversation between the artist and Ilya Kabakov on Wednesday 18 September 2013. Over the opening weekend of the Biennale, the artist will also unveil a new work created specifically for Garage on two billboards in Gorky Park.