Artist: David Hammons
Venue: Lumiar Cité, Lisbon
Exhibition Title: Ted Joans: Exquisite Corpse
Date: March 16 – May 26, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Lumiar Cité, Lisbon
In his first solo exhibition in Portugal, David Hammons pays homage to the surrealist poet, painter and jazz musician Ted Joans. Inspired by 1920s French surrealists Ted Joans began the collective project Long Distance Exquisite Corpse in 1976. Folding a sheet of paper multiple times, participants would one by one create an image, leaving a line across the fold for the next author as starting point for their drawing to depart from. The resulting artworks often follow a humorous or violent logic. Tapping into surrealist notions of the unconscious, they contain a tension between the collaborative and the individual, intentionality and chance, drawing and object. As Joans travelled the world over the years, he asked artists and writers—including European surrealists, Nigerian and South African writers, American beat poets and jazz musicians, and Mexican painters and intellectuals—to add a drawing to his piece, ingeniously created on already folded dot matrix computer paper. As Joans recounted in an interview: “Long Distance Exquisite Corpse is a continuous idea of a collective or collaborative authorship, in which an ongoing composite image is producing its own meaning undetermined by any single participant.” The innovation in Joans’s exquisite corpse process was the distance between his participants, who may have known each other and were able to meet and watch each other add drawings, or may have been separated thousands of miles, connected only by Joans himself.
In 2001, David Hammons filmed Ted Joans unfolding the long artwork across the floor of the New York apartment of Robin D. G. Kelley and Diedra Harris-Kelley. Together with the artist Laura Corsiglia, they discuss each drawing and the creative and personal histories of the seemingly endless contributors. The camera follows the piece from fold to fold, emphasizing its physicality, the active process required to engage with it, the impossibility of viewing it in its entirety all at once. The artwork collapses into fragments but links its international participants, folding, unfolding, obscuring, revealing, connecting across great distances. In the end David Hammons adds his own drawing, continuing the long-distance transmission. As Laura Corsiglia has noted, Long Distance Exquisite Corpse is “a treasure map of friendship expanding through time, space, and disciplines.” Long Distance Exquisite Corpse (1976- 2005) is a collaboration of 132 authors, including Paul Bowles, Breyten Breytenbach, William S. Burroughs, Mário Cesariny, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Bruce Conner, Laura Corsiglia, Bill Dixon, Allen Ginsberg, David Hammons, Stanley William Hayter, Dick Higgins, Konrad Klapheck, Alison Knowles, Michel Leiris, Malangatana, Roberto Matta, Octavio Paz, Larry Rivers, James Rosenquist, Wole Soyinka, Dorothea Tanning and Cecil Taylor.
David Hammons’s film Ted Joans: Exquisite Corpse (2001-2018) was produced by Maumaus / Lumiar Cité and after a presentation at La Sirène de Yene in Dakar, in 2018, the film is presented at Lumiar Cité for the first time together with the original Long Distance Exquisite Corpse unfolded in its entirety, which has never been presented before.
David Hammons (USA, 1943) lives and works in New York. He studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (CalArts) and Otis College of Art and Design, both in Los Angeles. His work in sculpture, painting, video or installation, criticizes and subtly exposes stereotypes within the universe of art. Since the early 1970s his work has been part of major contemporary art collections, including: MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and Tate Modern. His work was presented at numerous events, museums and biennials, including: documenta 9, Whitney Biennial 2006, 50th Venice Biennale, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), New Museum of Contemporary Art, MoMA, Tate Modern and Dakar Biennale 2004.