[March 11 2016]
On four floors of the Falckenberg Collection, the Deichtorhallen Hamburg presents the most comprehensive exhibition ever of works by American artist Raymond Pettibon (born 1957). On view are more than 700 drawings and hundreds of flyers, record covers and fanzines as well as films, artist’s books, paintings and wall drawings. The exhibition, curated by Dr. Ulrich Loock for the Deichtorhallen, features Raymond Pettibon as a mythologist who takes up and subverts the distinctive narratives of American culture, from Woodstock to the presidencies and the war against terrorism. The artist’s vehicle is drawings, in which he combines images and texts. Since the end of the 1970s, he has produced around 20,000 works.
In the 1980s, Pettibon’s subjects were the decay of hippie culture, murder and suicide in the drug scene as well as repression by established society. Others include the examination of family, race and gender relations, religiosity and the Vietnam War. In the early drawings, he works with bitter, precisely placed punch lines. Later, the literary dimension of his work came to the fore with references to nineteenth-century poetry, after which it reached a new high point in large-scale, colored drawings in which—disillusioned and angry—he sharply criticizes George W. Bush’s policies and the American war in Iraq.
Never before has such an extensive selection of Pettibon’s work been shown as in the current exhibition in the Falckenberg Collection at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg. For the first time ever, the exhibition attempts to restructure Pettibon’s seemingly endless work according to various principles. In this context, one order is chronological, while another concentrates on motifs such as Gumby and Vavoom, surfers, baseball, trains, the Bible, the heart and the phallus.
Photo Tim Bruening