Pedro Cera Gallery is pleased to announce it’s first solo exhibition by the American artist Adam Pendleton. Pendleton is interested in language and its unique capacity as an open structure to both shape existing realities and inaugurate new ones. Pendleton creates new linguistic devices and systems of display, which move language closer to form and form closer to language.
The title of the exhibition is derived from the complete words of the proto-words that appear on the glass facades of the System of Display works. System of Display is an ongoing series of silkscreened mirror pieces with glass, type-printed facades. Pendleton takes art-historical and performance-art based images belonging to a visual history that continually resurfaces in contemporary art publications, along with images from other historical trajectories like Afro-Modernism, he Xeroxes them and crops them before creating the silkscreens. To generate language for the series, the artist took a text on the work of British artist Cerith Wyn Evans –which itself focused on Wyn Evan’s own attempts to instrumentalize language through such modes as morse code— and isolated individual words, which felt specific to the content of the text. Pendleton then atomized the individual words printing the remnants on the glass panes. System of Display mines distinct visual and textual discourses, removing them from their original context so that they become forms of documentation of the discourses themselves. The objects cross several systems, employing a literal presentness embodied in their abstract performativity, and a discursive play on representation that extends into the social fabric.
Pendleton’s ceramic sculptures in red, yellow, orange, green, blue and white and two-color slikscreens on canvas are inherently abstract, material reflections on the limits of language as articulated by such figures as Wittgenstein and the late ‘Clairvoyant poet’ Hannah Weiner. The three forms: circle, square and rectangle, are derived from images that were published in Weiner’s book Code Poems (1982). Wiener’s code poems used the International Code of Signals –a 19th Century system for signaling at sea that could communicate limited phrases and words by way of semaphores, signal flags or morse code— in textual arrangements that disrupted the linear sense making for which it was designed. Attracted to ‘designed languages’ because they demonstrated the constructed nature of language in general, Weiner’s version of morse code introduced to the dashes and dots that compose its signifying system a third element: the square, the apparent un-decipherability of which was never acknowledged. Pendleton’s own ‘code’ work physically articulates the politics and processes of language in direct relationship to meaning making, demonstrating that thought does not always determine language, language can also determine thought.
Adam Pendleton lives and works in upstate New York. His work is currently on view in a solo-exhibition at Kunstverein, Amsterdam (through 31 January) as part of a three-part collaboration between de Appel and Kunstverein. Forthcoming exhibitions include a solo-exhibition at The Kitchen, New York; Modernism and the Black Atlantic, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK; Desire, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; and From then to Now, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland. Recent biennials and exhibitions include Younger than Jesus, New Museum, New York; Manifesta 7, Trentino- South Tyrol, Italy; Performa 07, New York; Object, The Undeniable Success of Operations, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam; The Future as Disruption, The Kitchen, New York; Talk Show, Institute of Contemporary Art, London; The one hundred and sixty-third floor: Liam Gillick curates the collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Freeway Balconies, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Hey Hey Glossolalia, Creative Time, New York; and Manifesto Marathon at the Serpentine, London. Pendleton is also the co-editor of the occasional publication LAB MAG, which publishes the work of artists, designers, poets, and architects.