C. Grimaldis Gallery is pleased to present Plunder, a solo exhibition by Jim Sanborn. The exhibition presents a selection of sculptural work that tackles the mythic and subversive.
In Without Provenance: The Making of Contemporary Antiquity, Sanborn offers a rare glimpse into the world of antiquities trade in Cambodia, a country whose cultural sites and heritage are subject to a global market of looted and forged artifacts. Now in its eighth year, the project includes over 20 sandstone replicas of 8th – 13th century Khmer sculpture masterfully produced to be indistinguishable from genuine artifacts. Sanborn posits that these works have their independent value and authenticity as “contemporary antiquities”, capable of affecting positive change in an industry shadowed by illicit and destructive practices.
A series of relief sculptures made from pulped CIA documents give precedent to the artist’s investigation of the looting of antiquity. Disassembled from a larger work, the stelae allude to ancient artifacts that have been excavated in pieces and sold. Fragmented Arabic and Cyrillic inscriptions describe classified covert operations, connecting the effects of modern censorship and the degradation of a historic record.
Sanborn combines written word and light in Contritum, illuminating a bronze cylinder from within and projecting the extruded text onto the surrounding walls. Named after the Latin word for “broken”, the work chronicles the history of the land in four Indigenous American languages.
Whether he is building replica atomic bombs, recreating nuclear experiments or developing ciphers yet to be solved by the CIA or NSA, Jim Sanborn strives to understand the entirety of his subject before giving it new form. Plunder is organized in partnership with the exhibition, Without Provenance: The Making of Contemporary Antiquity, running concurrently at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center.
Jim Sanborn graduated with a double major in art history and sociology from Randolph-Macon College, Ashland in 1969 and received his MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn in 1971. Originally from Washington, D.C., the artist now works and lives in Maryland’s Western Shore. His work is in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; MIT, Cambridge, MA; The Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, VA; The National Endowment For The Arts, Washington, D.C.; Kaohsiung Museum Of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and the Kawasaki International Peace Park, Kawasaki, Japan.