Spanning painting, performance, video and writing, Adam Pendleton produces insightful works which merge a wealth of references ranging from Dadaism to the Black Arts Movement. The artist engages with problematics inherent to mechanisms of representation, and more specifically, notions of ‘race’ and 'blackness'. Working predominantly in black and white, Pendleton unpicks and deconstructs dominant historical, political, socio-cultural and aesthetic discourses, putting forward alternative narratives. Within his own concept of 'Black Dada', for which a manifesto also exists, the artist investigates the past to “imagine alternate presents” (The Parallax View: the Art of Adam Pendleton, 2011).
"Pendleton is a rare artist in his ability to synthesise disciplines and mediums, and to steer with collaborators towards “total works,” which yet remain drafts of a larger essayistic practice. His works—like those of his many avant-garde forebears—are experimental in the truest sense. He sets up a laboratory in which our social and political desires can appear, however fleetingly. Historical materials (images, sounds, and printed language) become a point of departure for making present what cannot be grasped by representations of history (narratives, archives): the emergence of events and situations, which can only become known retroactively. Recent live art has rarely been more conscious of its origins in civil disobedience and the civil rights movement, where we view the body as a site of social antagonism, and as a “case” for struggles for recognition and justice. With Pendleton’s work, even though we are often left with aporias and blind spots, we feel the force of historical matter self-organizing and finding form beyond representability and essence. We discover the protest of the object—works of art and performance resisting their subsumption by common epistemological frameworks and modes of narration posing as truth."
T. Donovan, 'Adam Pendleton‘, in BOMB Magazine, 2011
Image: The The The/What Is The, 2018, silkscreen ink on Mylar, each: 102,6 x 79,7 cm, framed