IN COLLABORATION WITH MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY
Tracy Williams, Ltd. is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition PONG, a unique collaboration between John Baldessari and Matt Mullican, featuring a series of new work spanning a variety of mediums, from photography and painting, to projection and mixed media. This is the first collaborative project between Baldessari and Mullican, and this collection of work altogether functions as a stimulating dialogue between the two artists. Loosely based on the exquisite corpse, a technique utilized by the Surrealists to collectively assemble thoughts, ideas, words and images, both Baldessari and Mullican have created a dynamic and provocative oeuvre, with each piece conceived in response to the preceding work created by the other. While the two artists have discussed this type of collaboration in the past, the project was formally conceived a year ago, when Baldessari sent Mullican a series of photographs, precipitating the start of the artists’ creative exchange and commencing their own adaptation of the exquisite corpse.
More generally, PONG is an investigative colloquy, a thoughtful and at times absurdist dialogue between teacher and student. As Matt Mullican’s former professor at California Institute of the Arts, John Baldessari has challenged the way in which we perceive and interpret visual language. Through his juxtaposition of pop-cultural images with text and blots of unmodulated color, Baldessari recontextualizes familiar imagery and appropriates new meaning through the visual obstructions in his work. Mullican also draws from a similar preoccupation with representational imagery, however his focus is centered on the way in which we perceive reality and classify the external world—his elaborate and extremely personal system of signs and symbols create a new type of world order. PONG delves into both artists’ Surrealist and Dadaist tendencies, investigating their unconscious associations and responses to each other’s work and creating an introspective dialogue that both engages and confounds the viewer.