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Matrix 216: Slater Bradley
April 24 – June 26, 2005
Berkeley, CA, March 21, 2005 — The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents MATRIX 216: Slater Bradley The Year of the Doppelganger, featuring a video installation that blends a drumbeat from Led Zeppelin with a surprise appearance by the Cal football team. The exhibition, curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator, is on view in the MATRIX Gallery from April 24 through June 26, 2005.
Last summer, before the Cal football team made national headlines by ending the 2004 regular season ranked fourth in the nation, San Francisco-born, Brooklyn-based artist Slater Bradley inadvertently filmed them performing their practice exercises: pulling weighted sleds, running sprints, and kicking their legs in synch. Bradley's videos often incorporate footage collected as observation and encountered casually, with poetic and unexpected results. The Year of the Doppelganger, Bradley's MATRIX installation, features his doppelganger and friend Benjamin Brock, whom Bradley often employs as his stand-in in his videos, playing the widely recognizable drumbeat from Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" in the Cal Berkeley Memorial Stadium. When the Cal football team surprisingly enters the stadium to practice, the competition of men emerges as a theme.
Slater Bradley's video works often combine footage of real events, soundtracks drawn from classical and contemporary music, and references to literary, scientific, or historical works. The results are glimpses of unexpected moments of poetry in observed life.
Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson writes: "By replacing himself with another, Bradley highlights the fallacy of individuality and underscores his own mortality. Like many artists of his generation (he is thirty), Bradley exhibits a fascination with death in much of his work. ... With an uncanny ability to channel moments loaded with cultural relevance, equipped only with a video camera, Slater Bradley becomes a clairvoyant for collective consciousness."
Bradley's The Doppelganger Trilogy is the subject of a concurrent solo exhibition this spring at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. His Doppelganger Project measures the distance from experience to its representation, as he probes the elasticity of identity and its relationship to mediated images, the space between reality and fiction. For the past several years, Bradley has enlisted the help of Brock, who looks like him, to create a body of imposter works. Beginning with the postcard image for his 2000 Charlatan exhibition at New York's Team Gallery, Bradley began passing off photographs of his double as though they were images of himself. That led to photographs of Brock styled and posed as Ian Curtis, lead singer of British post-punk band Joy Division.
In 2004, Bradley presented Stoned and Dethroned at New York's Team Gallery, which marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain. The show commemorated his passing and his importance in the formation of others' identities. Stoned and Dethroned was inspired by a website where Nirvana fans trade video documents of the band's live performances. Bradley fashioned a faux Nirvana video, Phantom Release (2003), a three-minute "live" performance by three actors Bradley cast as the members of Nirvana, with Benjamin Brock convincingly "channeling" Cobain in video and photographs.
Bradley's 2002 video Theory and Observation brought physicist Stephen Hawking together with footage of a choir filmed furtively from the back of the cathedral of Notre Dame, and a musical soundtrack composed by the Replikants. An earlier video project from 2000 featured actress Chloe Sevigny on the beach solemnly reciting passages from Thomas Mann.
Slater Bradley was born in San Francisco in 1975. He studied at the University of California, Los Angeles (BA 1998). Other solo shows have been presented at the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum at Bard College (2003); exhibitions in Geneva, Switzerland, Berlin and Kaiserslautern, Germany (2002); Galerie Yvon Lambert (2001); P.S.1 (2000), and others. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and at the Palais de Tokyo; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Amsterdam; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; National Museum of Film, Television, and Photography in the U.K., and many others. Bradley's work was previously seen in the Bay Area in a solo exhibition at San Francisco's Refusalon in 2001.
Works by Slater Bradley are in the collections of the Center for Curatorial Studies Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; The Kramlich Collection, San Francisco; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
MATRIX 216: Slater Bradley The Year of the Doppelganger is organized by BAM/PFA and curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator. The exhibition will not tour.
Sunday, April 24
4 p.m., Gallery 1
Artist's Talk and Reception
Last summer, before the Cal football team made national headlines by ending the 2004 regular season ranked fourth in the nation, San Francisco-born, Brooklyn-based artist Slater Bradley inadvertently filmed team members performing their practice exercises: pulling weighted sleds, running sprints, and kicking their legs in synch. The resulting video is the centerpiece of Bradley's MATRIX exhibition.
Thursday, May 12
12:15 p.m., Gallery 1
Curator gallery talk
MATRIX Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson will lead a walk through of MATRIX 216: Slater Bradley/The Year of the Doppelganger.