John Baldessari
Hanging Man, 1988
John Baldessari (1931 - 2020)
Hanging Man, 1988
Black and white photographs, vinyl paint and oil tint
243.8 x 129.5 x 2.5 cm

John Baldessari’s practice takes a close look at the inner workings of photography, specifically the act of cutting or editing a frame from a particular context and presenting it as part of different narrative. Through painting, photography, video and collage, Baldessari reflects on how images draw meaning from their connection to surrounding texts—be it other photos, words or their spatial setting. By appropriating, erasing, altering and juxtaposing images, he introduces enigmatic scenarios that challenge usual readings and interpretations. His visual arsenal is mostly taken from black and white B movies –unspecified yet familiar scenes that one cannot quite put together, but which exert a certain magnetism. Like a murder mystery awaiting to be solved, Hanging Man presents sliced and reconfigured scenes that stimulate our associative instinct. This piece also exhibits some of Baldessari’s most recognizable gestures: filled in figures or silhouettes and colored circles which he uses to cover people’s faces.

Image: The Estate of John Baldessari