Mary Rinebold

Mary Rinebold on the best exhibitions in 2013

Raymond Pettibon, Sir Drone (featuring Mike Kelley), 1989, color, sound, 55 minutes and 37 seconds.

THERE STILL REMAIN unexamined vestiges of American West Coast counterculture figure Raymond Pettibon, indicated in the exhibition “Human Wave: The Videotapes of Raymond Pettibon” (January 25–March 17, 2013) through a series of unedited, roughly shot VHS tapes that the artist made during 1989. Programmatically simple, this show at Space, London, consisted of two video viewing stations separated by primary-colored lighting schemes. The video subjects, ranging from the Weather Underground, Charles Manson, and the Symbionese Liberation Army to the 1980s southern California punk community, were rendered satirically with support from friends turned actors Kim Gordon, Mike Kelley, Thurston Moore, and Mike Watt. Reflecting the marginal atmosphere of the content, as well as the degrading, nearly obsolete VHS medium, the videos were obtained from Electronic Arts Intermix, circumventing traditional gallery distribution.

In “Bracket (London)” (October 14–December 14, 2013) and “Bracket (Paris)” (October 24–November 16, 2013) at both of Campoli Presti’s galleries, Liz Deschenes addressed the determining role of light in photography by invoking the work of nineteenth-century photographers William Henry Fox Talbot (English) and Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (French) to produce ten new photograms. For the works exhibited in London, Deschenes used the same chemical process first explored by Fox Talbot and Daguerre applied to the surface of photographic paper. Layers of abstract images were formed by these material encounters, along with the subsequent imprint of the surrounding light sources, such as those in the artist’s studio. After the photograms were fixed, they were mounted onto aluminum plates cut into the shape of reversed parallelograms.

Cabinet Gallery recently established the parallel imprint Vauxhall & Company to release the first English translation of Pierre Klossowski’s last work, the récit L’Adolescent Immortel (The Immortal Adolescent) (1994). Alongside this publication, in an exhibition with the same title as the work (September 13–October 5, 2013), Cabinet presented seven large-scale colored-pencil works on paper that combine Catholic iconography with youthful sexual fantasies. Executed during the last years of the artist’s life, the grouping enveloped the one-room gallery in dioramic theater acts that coincided with the text. A second iteration incorporating additional pieces from the same body of the artist’s work will be on view by appointment at a second location, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi in Berlin (December 13, 2013–February 22, 2014). The combination of the Cabinet and Bortolozzi sites is fitting, as both work closely with a program of artists influenced by Klossowski’s legacy, such as Ed Atkins, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Mark Leckey, Danny McDonald, and the Bernadette Corporation, and both create a show layered in media and interpretation.

Mary Rinebold is a writer based in London and Paris.