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Light Leaks
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Light Leaks
Såld

Light Leaks

US
NY, US
US

Om föremålet

Ruschas The End exists at the end of such a movie cycle, where nuance meets its vanishing point and turns back. He dwells on imperfections as though they create new meaning. As though they will finally help us get over it or get on with it. The glitches play highly abstracted games of titillation, itching the self-consciousness that afflicts all late art with hints of other options. Of roads not taken, of lives to be lived. (Robert Mahoney, Edward Ruscha: The End, Grand Street 49, Summer 1994, p. 122) The End: shimmering through an ethereal haze, the graceful curlicues of the words emblazoned upon the canvas of Light Leaks simultaneously suggest the nostalgic finality of a bygone era and the alluring promise of a fascinatingly enigmatic narrative. A fittingly elusive emblem, the phrase offers a profound embodiment of artist Ed Ruschas career-long investigation of the imagery and semantics that define, shape, and embody Hollywood within the American pop culture vernacular. Painted in 1993, the present work was notably illustrated in an issue of Grand Street, the revered literary magazine founded by Jean Stein; creating an exceptionally cinematic narrative for the present work, Walter Hopps, the art editor of Grand Street and Steins mentor, had previously served as the founder and director of the iconic Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, where he gave Ruscha his first one-man show in 1963. Following its inclusion in the 1994 Hollywood issue of Grand Street, Stein acquired Light Leaks for her personal collection. As though cast upon a massive illuminated screen, the shadowy letters effortlessly summon the familiar final frame of Hollywood films of the 1940s and 50s, the italicized script appearing to flicker through the faint lines and flashes of an antiquated film roll as, behind an unseen curtain, the projection reel whirs towards the end of a spinning cylinder of negatives.\nWith two familiar, three-letter words, Ruscha stages an exquisitely composed arrangement of form, light, and shadow that powerfully invokes the faded glamour of Hollywoods golden age. Light Leaks is a superb example from the limited series of paintings by Ruscha displaying the theatrical slogan The End; first conceived by the artist in 1991, examples of The End paintings are held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Museum in London, amongst other prominent public and private collections. Precisely centered upon the ghostly canvas of the present work, the shadowy letters echo the split second of a film projection upon the big screen, an effect of instantaneity further enhanced by the silvery flashes and vertical streaks that resemble the tiny scratches, scrapes, and particles of dust that can mar film and projector lenses. The lyrical title of the present work references the pearly glow cast upon the right edge of the canvas, which the artist describes as an echo of the filmic effect of light leaking from a projector. (Ed Ruscha, The End (portfolio), Grand Street 49, 1994, p. 120) While the narrative which has come to a close can only be imagined, the suggestion of cinematic drama is clear; remarking upon his fascination with the American film industry, Ruscha notes, If Im influenced by the movies, its from way down underneath, not just on the surface. A lot of my paintings are anonymous backdrops for the drama of words. In a way theyre words in front of the old Paramount mountain... I have a background, foreground. Its so simple. And the backgrounds are of no particular character. Theyre just meant to support the drama. (The artist cited in Exh. Cat., Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cotton Puffs, Q-Tips, Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha, 2004-05, p. 21)\nRuschas training as a graphic commercial artist after moving to Los Angeles in 1956 is evident in his unique vernacular of works influenced by the booming advertisement industry, magazines, Hollywood, and popular culture. Ruschas paintings The Back of Hollywood, 1977 and Hollywood is a Verb, 1983, both convey a similar sense of theatrics and an emphasis upon text juxtaposed against a muted, ethereal background. The ambiguity of Ruschas dead-pan text paintings, whilst chiming with their commercial and social counterparts, draws attention to the banality of such statements and demands, with some irony, a deeper explanation of their meaning. However, rather than merely critiquing American culture, Ruscha taps into the peculiarity of cultural norms to inhabit the space between semantic meaning and visual power; in essence highlighting, even celebrating aspects of our surroundings that we might otherwise overlook. Indeed, his appropriation of the commonplace, and its subsequent transcendence into fine art, chimes with the iconic work of such Pop artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Barbara Kruger, who worked simultaneously with Ruscha throughout much of the late Twentieth Century to deepen the artistic exploration of the changing commercial world. Describing the significance of this series in Grand Street magazine alongside an illustration of the present work, Robert Mahoney remarks: Edward Ruscha, having learned from Las Vegas how to turn the dream of Pop to a logo on the horizon, or to a word to contain the energy of the moment, having also found the informe in information and the la-la in L.A., has always known something of the onset of darkness. At the end of the Pop era (and of the century), Ruschas art, and particularly The Endplays an endgame for Pop. And cliché aside, Ruschas art projects the remains of the day in a format that is in tune to the flow of meaning at the end of things. (Robert Mahoney, Edward Ruscha: The End, Grand Street 49, Summer 1994, p. 121)\nThe poignant sense of finality embodied in Light Leaks, both visually and semantically, conveys a wistful nostalgia for an era of Hollywood glamour fading into impending obsolescence. By summoning the imagery of cinematic technology long antiquated, Ruscha infuses his painting with an alluring ephemerality, reminding the viewer that all narratives, even those merely imagined, must come to an eventual close. Describing the series, curator Ralph Rugoff notes: With their velvet and sootiness conveying a softening of focus (and an entropic rise in noise levels), these pictures speak to a fading collective memory, or alternatively, to a spectral aspect of an increasingly homogenized and indifferent contemporary landscape. (Ralph Rugoff, "Heavenly Noises", in Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, Ed Ruscha: Fifty Years of Painting, 2009, p. 23) Speaking several years after the creation of the present work, Ruscha poetically described his tendency towards nostalgia as a belief that seeing things age is a form of beauty. (Ruscha in Tracy Bartly, "Seeing Things Age is a Form of Beauty: A Conversation with Ed Ruscha", in Ed Ruscha, Leave Any Information at the Signal, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1998, p.358) Indeed, the melancholy grace of the present work suggests, in its very specificity, the inevitable decay of cultural recollection; describing the suggested flickering of these paintings, the artist continued, Ive always remembered thatits a particular phenomenon of films that I like. If someone seventy-five years from now looks at this painting they wont understand it at all. Its depicting a kind of mechanical defect which will not even be in our language. (The artist cited in Helen Fetherstonhaugh, Interview with Edward Ruscha, Coutts Contemporary Art Awards 1998, Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation, Zurich, 1998) Executed with the incredible subtlety and incisive significance that typify Ruschas iconic painterly oeuvre, Light Leaks fuses image and text in a masterful, arresting homage to the poignant presence of an almost forgotten past in our ever-shifting present.\nSigned and dated 1993 on the reverse
US
NY, US
US

medium

Acrylic and tinted varnish on canvas

creator

Ruscha, Edward

dimensions

40 by 72 in. 101.6 by 182.9 cm.

literature

Ed Ruscha, "The End (Portfolio)" in Jean Stein, ed., Grand Street 49, Summer 1994, p. 120, illustrated in color Robert Dean and Lisa Turvey, eds., Edward Ruscha: Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings, Volume Five: 1993-1997, New York, 2012, pp. 70-71, no. P1993.93, illustrated in color

provenance

The Artist Acquired by the present owner from the above

signedDate

Signed and dated 1993 on the reverse

artist_range_end

1937

artist_range_start

1937

consignmentDesignation

The World of Jean Stein

creator_nationality_dates

B.1937


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