Magazine article Artforum International

Mark Bradford: Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Magazine article Artforum International

Mark Bradford: Sikkema Jenkins & Co

Article excerpt

The titles of Mark Bradford's recent exhibition, "Nobody Jones," and of featured works such as the collage painting Ghost Money (all works 2007), hint that the show's abstraction of urban topography might find an echo in the notion of hauntology. The term, originally coined by Jacques Derrida in 1993 and recently revived by a clutch of popular-music critics to describe recordings that conjure a retro-futuristic vision, refers to the suggestion that society is increasingly in thrall to ideas and aesthetics that are picturesquely obsolete. Cultural dead ends and blind alleys. Specters. That Bradford makes canvases in which the graphic detritus of his native Los Angeles has been buried and stratified only to be partially unearthed suggests a vision of the present as constantly shadowed by the past.

The sprawling matrix at the center of Ghost Money floats against a patchy field of silver-gray; an interzone of noncolor inflected by non-forms that also echoes the hauntological construction of the specter; that which exists only as a twilit half-presence. Using reclaimed billboard posters as well as pages from magazines, comic books, and newspapers to create a flickering, fragmented record of urban sprawl and decay, Bradford reanimates the ripped-and-torn decollage methodology trademarked by Jacques Villegle and Raymond Hains in the 1950s. Piling paint, ink, and other materials on top of his salvaged base, and marshalling an array of sanding, scraping, ironing, and bleaching techniques to manipulate it still further, he filters and intensifies the diverse effects of its sources. Yet while his work has all the density and richness of the French New Realists', it also shares with New Realism, in its admittance of the arbitrary and the cluttered, an intermittent tendency to either nonplus or overwhelm. It is arguably too true to its context, apt to be as thrilling or as crushing as the metropolitan setting itself. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.