Reception: Saturday November 7 > 5-8pm

Paul Mpagi Sepuya: Figures / Grounds / Studies

A Script for the Pleasures of Unsanctioned Knowledge Idle Pictures

(an excerpt)

01 – He wanted to do something . . . to write or draw . . . or something . . . but it was so comfortable just to lay there on the bed . . . . . . his shoes off … and think … think of everything . . . short disconnected thoughts-to wonder. . . to remember . . . to think and smoke . . . 1

03  [In 1934] Cecil Beaton captures his mentor Pavel Tchelitchew painting the portrait of the unconsummated love of Beaton’s life, Peter Watson, who is pointedly avoiding the layers of looking of which he is the object but whose stare out of the frame looking at us is even more intent that Tchelitchew’s glance at Beaton. (Waugh 27)

04 – In 1936, Carl Van Vechten photographs Richard Bruce Nugent, and as a slight, places a bust of Antinous hanging above his head.

06 – STUDIO VISIT(S)2

Paul uses the phrase “concentric circles” in describing his interest in the diaries of Bloomsbury lesbians. Their overlapping lives and the ways in which their writings overlap fascinate him. I’m not too so sure, but his summation (“They are either gardening or about to kill themselves after a breakup”) makes them sound like a good read.

Concentric circles are on my mind whenever I’ve gone up to Harlem to visit Paul in his studio. I picture, incorrectly, Venn diagrams with grade-school blue and yellow circles and the muddy green oval they have in common. I think about the ways that lives intersect because there, tacked up on the walls and scattered and stacked on the floor, are photographs of men (and the occasional lady) who I have seen in bars and on sidewalks for years, have met at one of Paul’s dinner parties, or worked under.

There are portraits of friends, people who I want to meet, and guys I’m just beginning to get to know. It’s a bit like a social network mapped out on the wall.

07

ME: its strange you know

HIM: i kind of thought about this website as a separate entity where i would try out feelings, emotions and experiences, on people i didnt relate to really and then apply those experiences onto “real” people i would meet in every day life

ME: i found my neighbor on here. as in, his bedroom is on the opposite side of my bedroom wall!

HIM: but now its become a life of its own, dragging me through my deepest wounds and through my most personal social affiliations

ME: yes, things dont always work out as you forsee them

HIM: especially in the realm of, well this space is safe and not connected…

11:35 PM

That was an excerpt of an online conversation from Manhunt, September 27, 2007, 11:35pm. It’s saved in a folder on my computer, time stamped. I have no reason why. Five years later, I photographed the neighbor on the other side of my bedroom wall. The portrait is called, Paul, before the move. We share the same name, and the same birthday. But that’s not the neighbor I was talking about in the text above, but it’s the same room, same wall.

08 – Paul. Christopher Isherwood calls him “Paul.” But his name is Denham, or Denny.3

09 – (back to Ryan)

But I say incorrectly because while writing this I looked up “concentric circles” and discovered that they are, in fact, circles that share the same center. They fit inside of one another, like a bull’s-eye. This strikes me as more apt, because more than a mere representation of Paul’s social world, the accumulation and repetition of images of objects and people in the studio seem to have the power to collapse time in a funny way. The potted succulent and shriveled orange peel that sit on the window ledge are the same ones in the framed photograph that leans beside them. When my boots and shirt get cast aside, they end up slumped over a portrait that Paul took of me months before. While I take my pants off, the Beyoncé that we’re listening to is the same Beyoncé that we danced to a few nights earlier. Paul asks me to recreate poses struck a week ago by someone I recognize but don’t personally know. I realize I could listen to Beyoncé and talk about Beyoncé pants-less with Paul all day.

Concentric circles.

13 – A multiply-produced photograph acknowledges both the preexistent desire of the individual spectator and the presence of another or others as well, a whole class. A chain of production and circulation lies behind the surface of the image. (Waugh 27)

15 – (now really, back to Ryan)

I stared to keep a diary faithfully after picking up a volume of Virginia Woolf’s diaries, but that was even before Paul had told me of his interest in all of her friends. Perhaps this is why we are friends? On my first trip uptown to sit for Paul, he read aloud from one of Virginia Woolf’s letters about the prospect of sitting for Cecil Beaton: “Really, it’s worse than being bound in Morocco by Lytton, and read by all the tarts of the moment. Which reminds me, do you know a man of that persuasion called Cecil Beaton – who wants to photograph me, and Osbert will comment up on the portrait in a catalogue; and shall I go and be done? I say no: I say I am living perpetually in Sussex. I say, judging from your style and manner (this is what I say to Cecil Beaton) you are a Mere Catamite. Clive who came in yesterday, dropping with sleep after what I understood was an orgy, confirmed this.” 4

ADDENDUM

December 9, 2014

Paul,

Sorry I’ve taken a while to get back to you! There were the holidays and family and some traveling.

We’ve talked it over a lot actually, but I think we’d rather not be photographed. Because our relationship is somewhat unusual, we feel a little sensitive about displaying it and ourselves publicly for various reasons: shyness, privacy, how the relationship figures into our own work, etc.

I hope you understand! We should all get together and hang out sometime regardless!

Hope you’re doing well,

—— [ name removed]


1 I begin with Richard Bruce Nugent’s text, Smoke, Lilies, and Jade, published 1926 in the single-issue magazine FIRE! For more on R.B.N. and queer subjectivity in literature, see Joseph Allen Boone’s “Libidinal Currents,” University of Chicago Press, 1998, and Christopher Vitale’s “The Untimely Richard Bruce Nugent,” New York University, 2007.

2 While my residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem was coming to an end in the fall of 2011 I asked several friends who had spent time with me in the space to share their thoughts about the experience. “Studio Visits” is written by Ryan Chassee. Our friendship’s beginning coincided with the start of the SMH residency, and I have continued to photograph him in the years since.

3 See Isherwood’s “Down There on a Visit,” and the story, specifically, titled Paul. For more on Denham Fouts, see Arthur Vanderbilt’s “The Best-Kept Boy in the World: The Life and Loves of Denham Fouts,” Magnus Books, 2013.

4 From a letter of Virgina Woolf’s to Vita Sackville-West, dated October 9, 1927, in The Letters of Virginia Woolf, Volume III 1923 – 1928, edited by Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann. Nicolson is the son of Vita Sackville-West, a lover of Woolf and the model for Orlando, which would be published a year later in October 1928. Sackville-West would write in response to receiving Orlando, on October 11, 1928 “… you have invented a new for of Narcissism, — I confess, — I am in love with Orlando – this is a complication I had not forseen.” (also included in Letters.., Volume III).

Geraldo de Barros

Geraldo de Barros was born in São Paulo in 1923 and lived there until his death in 1998. He started his career as a traditional painter, but began an intense period of experimentation with the photographic medium in 1946, which culminated in his Fotoformas exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in 1951. The exhibition was a watershed for Brazilian photography and led to de Barros receiving a scholarship to study engraving in Paris. While in Europe he travelled extensively, meeting influential artists and encountering key movements in art and design. He returned to Brazil and established a successful career as an artist and industrial designer. A key figure in Brazillian Concrete, Abstract and Pop art he was a founding member of many influential groups including Grupo 15, Galeria Rex, Grupo Ruptura. He established the design co-operative Unilabor and furniture company Hobjeto Industry. After a series of strokes de Barros began in 1996 to work on a series of collage works using his ‘leftover’ family photographs. Entitled Sobras, de Barros continued to work on the series until his death in 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1948, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Hommage à Picasso (from Fotoformas Series), 1949, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

WANDERLUST: ACTIONS, TRACES, JOURNEYS 1967-2017

Janine Antoni. Touch, 2002. © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

SEPTEMBER 7-DECEMBER 31, 2017

UB ART GALLERY THRU DEC. 16 AND UB ANDERSON GALLERY THRU DEC. 31, 2017

OPENING RECEPTION: UB ART GALLERY, CFA SEPTEMBER 7, 5-8PM
UB Art Gallery: September 7-December 16, 2017
UB Anderson Gallery: September 7-December 31, 2017

 

Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017 is a 50 year survey exhibition that considers the themes of action and exploration outside of the studio and how artists engage this theme in various ways, including walking, cartography, land use, endurance, and the consideration of public space. This exhibition highlights a variety of art practices, dating from the late 1960s and continuing through present day. Artists include Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Nevin Aladag, Francis Alÿs, Janine Antoni, John Baldessari, Kim Beck, Roberley Bell, Blue Republic, Sophie Calle, Rosemarie Castoro, Cardiff/Miller, Zoe Crosher, Fallen Fruit, Mona Hatoum, Kenneth Josephson, William Lamson, Richard Long, Marie Lorenz, Mary Mattingly, Anthony McCall, Ana Mendieta, Teresa Murak, Wangechi Mutu, Efrat Natan, OHO, Gabriel Orozco, Carmen Papalia, John Pfahl, Pope.L, Michael X. Ryan, Todd Shalom, Greg Stimac, Mary Ellen Strom, and Guido van der Werve. The exhibition will be on view at the UB Art Galleries from September 7-December 31, 2017 and travel to the Des Moines Art Center in February 2018. The catalogue, published by MIT Press, includes essays by Jane McFadden, Lori Waxman and Rachel Adams

For the first time, this exhibition brings together regional, national and international artists that focus on actions in and with the landscape through various practices. No longer separately relegated to “walking” art or “land” art, but including action-based processes, Wanderlust allows viewers to experience 50 years of artistic practices that are intertwined while highlighting diverse approaches to contemporary art. By experiencing the gallery exhibitions and participating in public programs, viewers will gain an understanding of working outside the box. Artwork in the exhibition ranges in medium from drawing, photography, sculpture, installations, film, and video to performance and social practice taking place in both urban and rural landscapes. Taking its name from Rebecca Solnit’s book Wanderlust: A History of Walking, the exhibition will include works that are narrative, political, performative, and conceptual examples of contemporary art. Represented works vary in process—some artists work as solitary figures implanting themselves physically on the landscape while others form actions and create movements in a collaborative manner or in public. The exhibition will not be installed chronologically; historic artworks will be juxtaposed with recent and commissioned artworks that relate to each other through influence from previous decades and artistic intention.

Beginning with significant historical works from artists such as Richard Long, who was one of the first artists to make walking his art form, to Ana Mendieta, who carved and shaped her own figure into the earth and documented these private sculptural performances, to Michelangelo Pistoletto’s performance, Walking Sculpture, in which he and a group of people walked a large newspaper ball down the streets of Turin, the exhibition will include works from all decades since the 60s and commission artists to create new work for 2017. Commissions of new work will include: a two-channel video piece by William Lamson, who will explore a double mirror video project filmed on a boat; and a new walk by artist Carmen Papalia; and The Grass is Always Greener—a collaboration with art collective Fallen Fruit to bring fruit trees back to Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood.

During the exhibition, public programs and workshops will be scheduled to take place outside of the gallery walls, allowing visitors to experience their own form of wanderlust. A schedule of public programs will be posted closer to the opening of the exhibition.

Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, and Journeys 1967-2017 is organized by the University at Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo, New York and curated by Rachel Adams, UB Art Galleries Senior Curator. Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, and Journeys 1967-2017 and its publication are supported by Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

IMAGE: Janine Antoni. Touch, 2002. © Janine Antoni; Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

Wanderlust: Actions, Traces, Journeys 1967-2017

 

Geraldo de Barros at DOCUMENT (6)
Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
General Inquiries
info@documentspace.com

Gallery hours:
Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm

Private Works Login
DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.