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Blum & Poe : Carroll Dunham: A Drawing Survey
Victor Man - The White Shadow of His Talent
- 21 Apr 2012 to 26 May 2012

Current Exhibition

21 Apr 2012 to 26 May 2012
Hours -Tuesday - Saturday from 10:30 am to 6 pm
Blum & Poe
2727 S. La Cienega Blvd
CA 90034
Los Angeles, CA
North America
T: +1 (310) 836-2062
F: +1 (310) 836-2104

Carroll Dunham, Untitled (1/26/12, 1/27/12), 2012 (detail)
Watercolor crayon, colored pencil and pencil on paper
15 x 11 1/8 inches

Artists in this exhibition: Carroll Dunham, Victor Man

Carroll Dunham: A Drawing Survey

April 21 - May 26, 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, April 21, 6-8 pm

Blum & Poe is very pleased to present a thirty-year survey of works on paper by New York-based artist Carroll Dunham. This exhibition marks Dunham's second solo presentation with the gallery.

Comprised of almost 400 works on paper, executed between 1982 and 2012, this exhibition serves as the most comprehensive evaluation of Dunham's drawing practice to date. Dunham's remarkable commitment to the medium is evident in both the sheer volume of drawings included in the exhibition (a fraction of his archive) and the frequency with which these works have been produced. A meticulous cataloger of his own work, Dunham dates each piece on its face with the day, month, and year of its making, offering viewers an intimate glimpse into his history as a practitioner and stylistic shifts from week to week, month to month, or decade to decade. In many cases, Dunham produces one or more drawings per day, for a week at a time or longer, adding up to an astonishing breadth of material and content. As witnessed in three separate drawings, each titled Untitled (3/28/96), two figures aggressively battle for command of the composition. When brought together, the three drawings begin to develop a narrative, which might change entirely two days later with a new series of drawings.

A formalist by nature, Dunham's drawings are studies in control, confidently moving between abstraction and figuration, bold mark making, and elegant scribbles and swirls. Refined over thirty years, Dunham's line has become a character in itself; nothing is accidental, whether executed in gentle pencil shading, reckless crayon scribble, or painterly ink and gouache. The drawings' protagonists have evolved over time from amorphous amoebas, oozing out of cluttered masses, to what are now more fully developed male and female nudes in exchange with lush landscapes. Several of the earliest works on view (1982-84) are executed on wood veneer, a trademark material used in Dunham's early paintings and drawings. For many of the next 20 years, Dunham's depiction of biomorphic forms equipped with grinding teeth, phallic noses, top hats, daggers, and guns dominated his visual language. These rough figures and mutated growths are pure expressions of unbridled sexuality, idleness, violence, and confusion, struggling to come to terms with the landscapes they have been placed in by their maker.

Carroll Dunham was born in New Haven, CT in 1949 and currently lives and works in New York and Connecticut. He has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum, New York; and an exhibition of paintings and sculptures at Millesgarden, Stockholm. His work has been included in several Whitney Biennials and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Tate Gallery, London; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago amongst others.

The White Shadow of His Talent

April 28 - May 26, 2012
Opening reception: Saturday, April 28, 6-8 pm

Blum & Poe is pleased to present The White Shadow of His Talent, the second solo exhibition at the gallery by artist Victor Man.

With this new series of paintings and arrangements of images and objects, Victor Man creates non-linear scenarios that are loosely based on nine fictional texts forming the book If Mind Were All There Was. Man commissioned writers, curators, and artists to write texts revolving around the figure of Giuseppe Sacchi, a 17th Century Italian painter who gave up his profession as an artist to become a Franciscan monk and died young. Sacchi left no evidence of his work and further information about his biography does not exist. One of the few, supposed traces of his life can be found in the Basilica di San Francesco in Arezzo, where his name appears in the form of graffiti, added at an unknown date by an unknown hand, on the forehead of a horse depicted in Piero della Francesca's cycle of frescos The Legend of the True Cross, completed in 1466. The figure of Sacchi is seen as a metaphor to explore issues of ambition and failure. His almost non-existent biography could describe Man's interest in the motif of the artist as a lonely being and his fate of self-exclusion from the world.

Taken as a whole, Victor Man's work is a tour de force into the multiple dimensions of memory. For every image that is carefully evoked from the recesses of history, there are many others that are plunged into the slippery abyss of remembrance and amnesia. With texts by Maria Fusco, Massimiliano Gioni, Martin Herbert, Francesco Manacorda, Tom Morton, Alessandro Rabottini, João Ribas, Torsten Slama, and Martin Vincent, Man conceived If Mind Were All There Was as a chance to re-think the making of art history as a series of acts of inclusion and denial. The texts are accompanied by collaborative drawings Man realized with artist Andro Wekua.

Victor Man's exhibition The White Shadow of His Talent is a dense orchestration of images and words, history and fiction, and light and darkness. As in the majority of his works, Man explores painting as a site where knowledge and consciousness are caught in a perpetual state of motion; things are remembered and forgotten, and change appearance. Their location in time is never fixed and continually repositions itself.

As it often happens in Man's oeuvre, multiple references are twisted in a complex web. The motif of the horse, such as the one vandalized in the frescos by Piero della Francesca, is echoed in the title of a series of massive, stone slabs: Places, Lodgings, Company, 2011-2012. Presented alongside the paintings, Places, Lodgings, Company refers to the often-told episode of Friedrich Nietzsche's mental collapse in 1889. Evidently while in Turin, the German philosopher witnessed the whipping of a horse, after which he threw his arms around its neck and fell into a state of mental illness. In both cases - the vandalization of the image in Arezzo and the flagellation witnessed by Nietzsche - the horse becomes a metaphor for an extreme state of empathy, the medium to express deeper forms of non-verbal connection between human beings and the world. Furthermore, Man has carved eyes into the stone slabs and filled them with colored glass, a decoration partially derived from a building in Turin with nuances taken from the painting The Flagellation of Christ (ca. 1455-1460) by Piero della Francesca. These eyes reinforce the tangle of references around the concept of "inscription," as does graffiti onto fresco and flagellation onto flesh.

Press release written by Alessandro Rabottini.

Victor Man (b. 1974) lives in Cluj, Romania and Berlin, Germany. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in public institutions, including the Centre international d'art et du paysage Ile de Vassivière; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Hayward Gallery, London; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; and GAMeC, Bergamo. Man represented Romania at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and participated in the Busan Biennale in 2008, as well as a number of thematic exhibitions, including the Kunsthalle Lingen and Kunstverein Lübeck (in a two person exhibition with Dan Perjovschi); Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius; Arnolfini, Bristol; Museum Dhont-Dhaenens, Deurle; Frac des Pays de la Loire; Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover; and the Kunstverein, Hamburg. The artist is currently having a solo exhibition at the Mudam - Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg and will participate in Intense Proximity, the Triennale in Paris, curated by Okwui Enwezor. He will also be part of a group show titled Six Lines of Flight curated by Apsara Di Quinzio at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in Fall 2012.

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