Adam Pendleton’s Canada solo show explores fragmentation of language and representation

‘These Things We’ve Done Together’, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), marks Adam Pendleton’s first solo show in Canada

A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer single-channel black and white video
Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Still from Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016-2017, single-channel black and white video, 13 min 51 s.
(Image credit: Adam Pendleton)

American artist Adam Pendleton is presenting paintings from his Untitled (WE ARE NOT) series alongside brand new pieces for his first solo exhibition in Canada. Pendleton, who last year united with David Adjaye for an exhibition at Hong Kong’s Pace gallery, as well as holding a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, is now bringing ‘These Things We’ve Done Together’ to Montreal.

Pieces in the exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) build on the themes Pendleton has explored in previous works, riffing off the tension between language and representation, which is encapsulated in a clash of textures. Alongside the works from Untitled (WE ARE NOT) sit seven drawings from his Black Dada series, created this year, as well as pieces created specifically for this exhibition.

Silkscreen ink on canvas

Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Untitled (WE ARE NOT), 2021. Silkscreen ink on canvas.

(Image credit: Adam Pendleton)

The paintings are characterised by a clash of layers in spray paint, a method with which Pendleton experimented in 2008’s Black Dada, which marked the beginning of his exploration into the fragmentation of language. These latest Black Dada drawings consider the creation process behind this expression, incorporating images of traces of paint left on large sheets of paper hung on his studio walls while he worked.

Pendleton’s video work, Just Back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer (2016-2017) is also on show. Filmed in a New York City diner, the film portrays dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Rainer and Pendelton in conversation, as well as scenes of Rainer performing her dance Trio A (1966). She reads from a text edited by Pendleton, which collates writing from activists Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael, poet Ron Silliman and Rainer’s friend, dancer and choreographer Barbara Dilley.

Partial view of the exhibition ‘Adam Pendleton: These Things We’ve Done Together’

Partial view of the exhibition ‘Adam Pendleton: These Things We’ve Done Together’.

(Image credit: MMFA, Jean-François Brière)

‘The new four 20ft paintings form the foundation for the exhibition,’ Pendleton tells us. ‘The questions they pose and the process it took to make them are addressed and utilised in the Black Dada Drawings and the video portrait Just Back From Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer.

‘All of the works are composed of nodes – gestures, words, letters, marks, splatters – acting upon and transforming one another. What interests me most, in the particular instance of this show, is the question of what might emerge from these transformations, in which the gesture passes between movement and stasis, in which language passes between abstraction and legibility, and in which the mark passes between inscription and circulation.’

Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Still from Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016-2017

Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Still from Just back from Los Angeles: A Portrait of Yvonne Rainer, 2016-2017, single-channel black and white video, 13 min 51 s.

(Image credit: Adam Pendleton)

Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Black Dada Drawing (C), 2021.

Adam Pendleton (born in 1984), Black Dada Drawing (C), 2021. Silkscreen ink on paper (2 sheets) 46.1 x 73 cm (each); 92.2 x 73 cm (overall).

(Image credit: Adam Pendleton)

INFORMATION

‘Adam Pendleton: These Things We’ve Done Together‘ will be on view in the Contemporary Art Square and Graphic Arts Centre of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion at the MMFA until 10 July 2022. Tickets can be purchased online at mmfa.qc.ca

Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.