Raymond Pettibon returns to Regen Projects with a new body of works for an exhibition entitled Desire in Pursuyt of the Whole, the artist’s ninth solo exhibition at the gallery. The show’s title refers to Baron Corvo’s complex novel of three interlocking plots where the author is thinly disguised as the protagonist. Pettibon’s work often combines his own writing with quotes lifted from a myriad of sources ranging from quotidian to classical literature. His upcoming exhibition will feature new works in which the subject matter is a continuation of the artist’s oeuvre: the landscape of war, politics, popular culture, art, literature, sports, religion, and sexuality. Pettibon will also exhibit his signature depictions of heroic surfers dropping into epic waves. Working in both large-scale color works and collage, the layering of images and text produces a multiplicity of elements that shift constantly in style, tense, and structure.
Pettibon’s fundamentally open works confront the viewer with a cacophony of information leaving one to read, search, and decipher. The more recent, densely worked collages combine images and text that are found, drawn, cut, and montaged, producing fractured narratives told through multiple voices.
The serenity and subtlety of these often extensive and enigmatic quotations construct linguistic force fields, textual counterweights inside his drawings that suspend the reader once again in the dialectics of desublimations that we have argued is at the center of Pettibon’s artistic project at large. Thus the artist’s literary erudition performs the perfect dialectical countermove, in as much as literature provides us with the historical accounts of the subject’s formation and differentiation. The vastly different cultural spheres of writing, citation and speech on one hand and a universe of technological image production on the other constitute the two dialectical halves of Pettibon’s seemingly paradoxical synthesis.
(Buchloh, Benjamin, Here’s Your Irony Back, Steidl, Regen Projects/David Zwirner, November 2011.)
Raymond Pettibon / Regen Projects II / 9016 Santa Monica Boulevard / Los Angeles / CA 90069