Seoul–Pace Gallery is pleased to present Adam Pendleton, These Elements of Me, the artist's first solo show in Korea and his sixth with Pace. The exhibition comprises a single large-scale work: a 46-panel grid of compositions silkscreened with black ink on clear sheets of Mylar. Derived from Pendleton's collages, the titular work is part of an ongoing series that incorporates the artist's own writings and drawings as well as found materials, such as historical photographs and pages from books in his personal library.
In These Elements of Me, a play of repetitive, incomplete, and unresolved propositions–'I AM NOT THE'...'BUT NOW I AM'...'BUT NOW WE'...'THE NOW I AM'...'BUT WAS THE'–unfolds in uncanny dialogue with shapes, marks, hatching, and reproduced images. These visual forms intrude into the compositional space of the words, at times disrupting their legibility. Masks and sculptural figures from African cultures feature prominently in the series, alluding to the relationships between Modernism, abstraction, and colonialism. Rereading and overwriting, masking and re-masking, Pendleton allows opacities to accumulate and proliferate, refiguring the transparent lightness of the Mylar support while disrupting any overarching sense of semiotic clarity.
'For me, the object itself is not finite or complete,' the artist has explained. 'It's really a point of departure. It's this idea I always come back to, which is about viewing the object as a site of engagement. I'm interested in finding a mid-space location, which is maybe how revolutions start.' Another point of departure is Black Dada Reader (2017), Pendleton's compendium of texts and images which have long informed his work. In early handmade iterations of the Reader, Pendleton used transparent plastic pages to delineate the passage from one text to the next, allowing the transparent material to serve as both a dividing screen and a site of interchange and overlay. In his new work, the Mylar functions similarly, but through the gridded presentation on the wall the texts and images circulate and interact freely and in totality.
Adam Pendleton is a New York-based artist known for work animated by what the artist calls 'Black Dada,' a critical articulation of blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde. Drawing from an archive of language and images, Pendleton makes conceptually rigorous and formally inventive paintings, collages, videos, and installations that insert his work into broader conversations about history and contemporary culture. His work is held in public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and Tate, London, among others.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.