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John Baldessari

John Baldessari (born 1931) is an American artist, clearly a pioneer of conceptual art and until today one of its main figures. Ever since the point when he destroyed his painterly work of a decade in 1970, Baldessari has been systematically and intensively testing the boundaries of what can be considered art.

John Baldessari (born 1931) is clearly a pioneer of conceptual art and is still one of its main protagonists. In 1970, Baldessari destroyed everything he had made before 1967, stating that he would not be creating any more boring art. Since then, the artist has been systematically and intensively testing the boundaries of what can be considered art. The juxtaposition of text, images, painting, and collage in his work demonstrates a palpable sense of fun and humour, which has characterised Baldessari´s art ever since. Indeed, one of his most recognised motifs is the coloured circle placed over the head of someone in photographs, called a John Baldessari dot.

"I could never figure out why photography and art had separate histories. So I decided to explore both."

John Baldessari

With a philosophy deeply inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s approach to art, Baldessari wants his audience to experience destabilisation when confronted with his art. John Baldessari´s artworks always have a social impact, never just an aesthetical one. His oeuvre neglects categories and systematisations, mixing painterly surrealist elements with repetitive video pieces and playful but strange film stills, complemented with text pieces.Baldessari began making prints in the mid-1970s and has placed printmaking at the centre of his appropriative practice. Many of his print series have been extremely influential. John Baldessari´s prints and photography are also characterised by a certain wry irony, creating a laconic approach to life’s experiences. In 2009, he was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and his art has featured in more than 200 solo exhibitions in the US and in Europe.

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