Dennis Adams: Malraux's Shoes & Tagging the Archives

Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts is pleased to present “Dennis Adams: Malraux’s Shoes & Tagging the Archives” from October 14 through November 19, 2013. In the video work, “Malraux’s Shoes,” Dennis Adams masquerades as André Malraux (1901–1976), the French writer, art theorist and passionate archivist of the world history of art. Over 40 years, Malraux would assemble, disassemble and reassemble montages of photographic reproductions to create Le Musée imaginaire, which ranks as one the 20th century’s seminal manifestations of the archive. Malraux’s idea of an imaginary “museum without walls” is prescient of the digital age’s displacement of the physical art object and the museum by photographic reproduction. Malraux’s privileging of curatorial over artistic production is a first instance of explicitly locating the creative act in the process of assembling, grouping and displaying works of work.

The set for “Malraux’s Shoes” is a reconstruction of the iconic photograph of Malraux standing in his study with the plates of his book The Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture laid out on the floor before him. Adams literally steps into Malraux’s shoes, suit and style—Malraux's blurring of the boundaries between history and legend in coloring his own biography makes him an ideal object of masquerade. We see the Malraux character walk on and over the images as we overhear his interior monologue, which is interrupted by outbursts of mutterings and ravings. Over the course of the video the subject of the monologue moves freely between Malraux’s time and the present, and—in moments—the persona of Malraux is overshadowed by Adams’s own personal speculations, doubts and anguish.

The works from the associated series “Tagging the Archives” (2012) also deal with cultural memory. Evocative phrases are printed on top of the covers of activist publications and as sundry images; these often parlay the process of Situationist détournement and thus the legacy of French and American radicalism. They are archives of progressive late modernist ideas, “tagged” like graffiti as if to make ironic commentaries on the ideologies of the originals.

All works are presented courtesy of the artist and Kent Fine Art LLC, New York.

This exhibit is free and open to the public.

Opening Reception: Monday, October 14, 5 – 7:30 p.m.

Anderson Hall
333 S Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

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