Mark Bradford (Los Angeles, 1961) is
acknowledged as one of the names that best defined painting in the last two
decades, conceiving his own pictorial language to express universal themes such
as the distribution of power within societal structures and its impact on the
individual, and the relationship between art and community engagement. Using everyday materials and tools
from the aisles of the hardware store, he has created a unique artistic
language. Frequently referred to as ‘social abstraction’, Bradford’s work is
rooted in his understanding that all materials and techniques are embedded with
meaning that precedes their artistic utility. His signature style developed out
of his early experimentation with endpapers, the small, translucent tissue
papers used in hairdressing; he has since experimented with other types of
paper, including maps, billboards, film posters, comic books, and ‘merchant
posters’ that advertise predatory services in economically distressed
his rigorous physical approach to the material presence of painting, Bradford
has been addressing powerful issues of our time, including the AIDS epidemic,
the misrepresentation and fear of queer identity, systemic racism in America
and more recently the COVID-19 crisis.
on Bradford’s artistic production of the last three years, for whom the ancient
mythology has always been a consistent source of inspiration, the exhibition
reveals a new series of paintings, tapestries and works on paper inspired by The Hunt
of the Unicorn made in The Netherlands around 1500,
and Cerberus, the many-headed dog guarding the entryway to the underworld,
suggesting an assessment between current issues and the Middle Ages period
(when art fell victim to the plague, that most medieval of dangers). Agora aims to be a space for reflection and discussion of the now, focused on Mark
Bradford’s work, turning to the medieval period as a resonant metaphor for
contemporary conflicts and social tensions.
Organized by the Serralves Foundation, curated by Philippe Vergne with the support of Filipa Loureiro, Agora aims to be a space for reflection and discussion of the now, focused on Mark Bradford’s work, turning to the medieval period as a resonant metaphor for contemporary conflicts and social tensions.
This exhibition has received the generous support from Shari and Ed Glazer, Gwen Moritz Weil and Hauser & Wirth Gallery.
© Mark Bradford
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Joshua White