Team Gallery will present a solo show of a new video work and photographs by Slater Bradley. Entitled stoned & dethroned, the exhibition will run from the 21st of February through the 27th of March 2004. The gallery is located at 527 West 26th Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, on the ground floor.
April 8, 2004 will mark the tenth anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain. Slater Bradley’s stoned & dethroned is an elegiac exhibition that functions partly to commemorate Cobain’s passing and to foreground the importance of his music in the formation of millions of identities. A lament tinged with fury, this is Bradley’s most poetic work to date as it has found its genesis in a pool of adoration.
stoned & dethroned is also an elaborate hoax, albeit one constructed with utmost respect for its subject and its proposed audience. Inspired by a website — digitalnirvana.net, where Nirvana fans trade video documents of the band’s live performances — Bradley has fashioned a body of work around the creation of a new Nirvana video. Phantom Release (2003) is a three minute long “live” performance by Nirvana, enacted by three actors whom Bradley cast as the members of the band. A number of photographs, taken with a large format camera, show Benjamin Brock “channeling” Cobain’s persona in a convincing manner.
For the past four years, Bradley has enlisted the help of Brock, a friend who looks very much like him, to create a body of imposter works. Beginning with the postcard image for his 2000 Charlatan exhibition at Team, Bradley began passing off photographs of his double as though they were images of himself. What quickly materialized were a number of photographs of Brock styled and posed as Ian Curtis, the lead singer of British post-punk band Joy Division. These photographs, and their successful integration within the image bank of Joy Division artifacts, led Bradley to fashion Factory Archives (2002), a video that is still largely understood as having been created from pirated footage of Curtis. In actuality, the video, along with Ghost and Trompe le Monde (both 2001), is part of a complex autobiographical fiction that Bradley continues to build. In this work, Bradley probes the elasticity of identity and its relationship to mediated images of these powerfully iconic public figures. Occupying the space between lived life and learned life, between the real and the fictive, Bradley’s Doppelganger Project measures the distance from experience to its representation. What becomes of us? And how do we become us?
Ten years after his death, Cobain is still very much a vital part of American culture, as the thousands of regularly maintained websites dedicated to his work will attest. The untimely loss of icons is a central part of rock mythology, experienced by Bradley’s generation principally through the deaths of Cobain and Curtis. During the period of band ascendancy, a bond is forged between singer and audience, one which is then brought to an abrupt end. The toll that these repeated violent ruptures take on their fans whose only closure is a very public, highly mediated period of grieving, is a sorrowful unknown.
Slater Bradley has had one-person shows in New York, Paris, Berlin, London, Geneva, San Francisco, and Basel. He has participated in numerous museum and gallery group exhibitions in such venues as the Palais de Tokyo, the Kunsthalle Fridericianium, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst and the Reina Sofia. In addition, Bradley was the subject of a solo show this past summer at the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies.
This is the 29 year-old artist’s fourth one-person show at Team. He will also appear in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, beginning on the 10th of March.