October 15 - November 30, 1999
On October 15, an exhibition of the work of Rodney Graham from 1983-1998 will open at Christine Burgin.
Since 1983, Graham has been making works which use existing literary texts as ready-made material. In his self-published Lenz of 1983, Graham repeats the first five pages of George Buchner's unfinished Romantic tale Lenz eighty-three times, binding them together as one book in such a way as to create a seemingly endless narrative of the poet Jacob Lenz' wanderings through an artificially infinite landscape, condemned through Graham's intervention to the very existence of repetition and ultimately meaninglessness which Lenz imagines he might escape in his travels. In Landor's Cottage: A Pendant to Poe's Last Story (1984-87), Graham inserts his own text into the last story published by Edgar Allen Poe in his lifetime, a seamless addition written in the voice of Poe. While Poe's original story takes place in the home which Poe lived in at that time, Graham's textual annex describes action temporarily diverted into an architectural annex to Poe's home described in minute and fantastic detail by Graham.
Also included in the exhibition are a series of projects by Graham spanning the years 1986-92 based on the work of Sigmund Freud and Richard Wagner and such projects as Graham's 1992 collaboration with the Belgian fashion designer Anne Demeulemeester, White Shirt for Mallarme (Spring 1993), a white shirt designed for the artist inspired by and to accompany the reading of Mallarme's prose poem "The Demon of Analogy;" and Interiors (1992-93) in which Graham proposes various rearrangements of the contents of the studios of the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Rodney Graham has had solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum; The Renaissance Society and most recently the Vienna Kunsthalle. In 1997 Graham represented Canada in the Venice Biennale with his film "Vexation Island."
Installation views, 1999, Christine Burgin Gallery, New York