Ellen Gallagher - eXelento

Double Natural (detail), 2002
Plasticine, ink, and paper on canvas
96 x 192 inches (243.8 x 487.7 cm)

Photo by Tom Powel


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Opening reception for the artist: Tuesday, September 14th 6 – 8pm

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings, works on paper and films by Ellen Gallagher.

This much anticipated body of work includes "Afrylic" and "eXelento," both from 2004, which are the fourth and fifth paintings in a new series that began in 2001 with "Falls and Flips," and includes "Double Natural" (2002) and "Pomp Bang" (2003). Once completed, this series will consist of eight contingent panels. To begin each painting, Gallagher composes a grid from 396 individual portraits appropriated from archival materials she collects from mid-century black journals. Working from left to right Gallagher makes incisions in the portraits and builds a plasticine prosthetic or wig onto each character. This dual operation between the archival and the whimsical creates a blind spot, a gap in legibility, which helps to activate a degree of temporal disturbance. Such disturbance works through the chronological involution that combines history with speculation. This in turn proposes that mutability has been here all along and that we are its conscripts.

This series of interwoven paintings, drawings, and 16mm animations seeks to chart a poetic myth of the black oblique. Such a map emerges as cartography inscribed into the surfaces of the "Watery Ecstatic" drawings, etched into the "Murmur" films and pictured in the recurring characters Gallagher has culled from publications such as "Ebony," "Our World" and "Sepia". These mythologies imagine an African ontology characterized not by essence, but by the concept of mutation.

A fully illustrated catalogue and special edition artist's book project will accompany this exhibition, for more information please contact the gallery.