Pierre Bismuth is one of France’s foremost artists and a leading figure in conceptual art. Known for his intelligent dismantling of cultural products and the wry and often humorous shifts and `misuses’ to which he subjects his material, Bismuth’s work constitutes a creative intervention into familiar codes, habits and objects.
The exhibition at Team Gallery will feature the new and strikingly beautiful photographic series One man’s masterpiece is another man’s mess. These large-scale black and white photographs of shattered glass, with their intricate and sinuous spider web patterns, are evocative of the cracked Large Glass of Marcel Duchamp. Here however there is nothing behind the damaged pane—the only `masterpiece’ to be seen is the `mess’ itself. The images were created by first breaking empty glass slide covers, then photographing and enlarging the results. This procedure ironically transforms a standard material used to present images into images themselves, while also making the particular designs dependent on a (literally) chance collision.
One man’s masterpiece is another man’s mess is closely related to another work on display, Following the right hand of… In this latest installment of the series, the piece appears as a video projection rather than a still image. We watch a squiggly line being drawn onscreen as a classic movie unfolds, tracing the movements of the right hand of the main actress. In this way, the film image is gradually occluded by a chance pattern that constitutes a kind of messy signature made by the actress. There is an undeniably fetishistic aspect of this work, as a portion of its appeal is linked to the actress’s name (Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc.); at the same time, the focus on the squiggly marks paradoxically negates the film, along with its star, by filling the screen with black ink.
For Mary Boone in Chelsea, Bismuth presents an innovative new creation that plays both with the notion of the readymade and the commercial aesthetics of pop art.