A dictionary should begin from the point when it is no longer concerned with the meaning but only with the use of words. Thus “formless” is not only an adjective with a certain meaning, but a term serving to deprecate, implying the general demand that everything should have a form.
(Georges Bataille, 1929)
Gagosian is pleased to present Critical Dictionary: In homage to G. Bataille, a group exhibition that takes its title from Georges Bataille’s deconstructive text and juxtaposes artworks of different time periods and styles.
For Bataille, words and images were subject to infinite conflicts and variations, transforming according to their use and context. While his Critical Dictionary (1929–30) explicates terms ranging from “materialism” to “spittle” through circuitous, free-associating paragraphs, the exhibition puts into question the hierarchies and chronologies of art history by grouping classical sculpture, postwar avant-garde painting, and key contemporary works. Focused primarily on the dialogue between sculpture and painting, the combinations reveal the ways in which proximity can confer new meaning on objects.
The exhibition includes works by Louise Bourgeois, Joe Bradley, Alberto Burri, Dan Flavin, Helen Frankenthaler, Duane Hanson, Donald Judd, Wassily Kandinsky, Anish Kapoor, René Magritte, Guido Reni, Paolo Schiavo, Frank Stella, and Mary Weatherford, as well as a tchitcheri sakwa, a clan shrine figure made in Togo circa 1900, and a Roman sculpture from the second century.