David Lamelas “London Friends (Lynda Morris)”, 1974
Black and white photograph
Detail from the contact print
© David Lamelas

September 6 – 29, 2007
Opening: Thursday, September 6, 6 – 8 P.M.

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are pleased to announce an exhibition of Argentinian-born artist David Lamelas. With both Lamelas´ seminal film installation “Film Script (Manipulation of Meaning)” (1972) and the photo series “London Friends” from the following year, the show focuses on two works the artist realized during his residency in London from 1968 to 1977.

David Lamelas is one of the pioneers of Conceptual Art and the related practice of institutional critique which developed during the 1960s and 1970s. Born in Buenos Aires in 1946, he emerged in the early sixties with an arsenal of artistic strategies and a clarity of concept that at the time had not previously been formulated within any cultural context in Europe and the United States.

Characteristically, his use of different media is wide ranging, and has included sculpture, site specific installation and performance, as well as drawings, photographs and film, the latter of which he is perhaps most known for. What unifies this wide range of medium is the artist‘s focus on the transmission of “information”: the conditions for the production of art and its perception, the notion of “time” and “space”, the role of the viewer, and perhaps more crucially the generation and manipulation of meaning in contemporary mass media.

In 1968, the year he represented Argentina at the Venice Biennial, Lamelas also moved to London where he studied sculpture at St. Martin´s School of Art and stayed until 1977. It was during this time that Lamelas created his seminal installation work “Film Script (Manipulation of Meaning)”, consisting of the simultaneous projection of one film and three slide sequences. The first presentation of the work was held at Nigel Greenwood‘s gallery in 1972. Filmed within the gallery itself with Greenwood’s assistant Lynda Morris playing the leading role, the plot and location of this film was intriguingly self-referential. The film projects a running accumulation of scenes that may just as well be documentary as fictional. The first slide projector shows the action in a sequence of stills; the second shows two of the pivotal sequences of the film in a different order; while the third cuts out key moments of the action. Thus Lamelas varies the ways in which action is being manipulated, which in turn affects narrative development and influences its reception.

In the second work on display, “London Friends”, 1973, Lamelas explores the narrow space between fiction and reality. Having invited a number of friends to a photo-session in a studio to have their pictures taken by a professional fashion photographer, Lamelas found that his subjects naturally took on glamorous poses embodying an image of fictionalized portraits of famous personalities. The resulting images, being simultaneously personal portraits and “fashion” photography, become a striking portrayal of the London scene at the time.

David Lamelas lives and works in Buenos Aires and Los Angeles.
Recent solo exhibition of Lamelas’ work have been held at the Secession, Vienna; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; and Neue Kunsthalle St. Gallen. Lamelas´ work ´The Violent Tapes of 1975´ is currently on view in “Panic Attack”, the Barbican´s survey on art in the punk years.

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