Simon Linke

Remembering Marcel 1987

1988

Not on display
Artist
Simon Linke born 1958
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 914 x 914 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 2011
Reference
T13582

Summary

Remembering Marcel 1987 is a square painting that meticulously reproduces a single page of advertisements from Artforum magazine. Following the design of the page, the work is divided horizontally. The top half depicts an advert for the exhibition Remembering Marcel 1887–1987 held at the Luhring, Augustine & Hodes Gallery in New York. The advert combines a blue background with black typography and, on its left hand side, there is a reproduction of the work on paper Self Portrait in Profile 1958 (private collection) by Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968). The bottom half of the painting depicts an advertisement for two exhibitions at Xavier Fourcade Gallery in New York: a group show under the title Drawings and an exhibition of new paintings by Kevin Moss which took place in early 1987. This advert has a more conventional design, with black typography on a plain white background.

This painting is part of a series of works based on Artforum advertisements characterised by their thick impasto surfaces. Linke began work on this series in 1986. Like others in the series, the surface of Remembering Marcel 1987 is intensely tactile and the artist has worked on it exhaustively. Thick areas of impasto, such as Duchamp’s profile, appear to be in relief, while the different directions of the brushstrokes can be read in between the letters. Linke copied pages of Artforum, including the front cover, on which no editorial or photographic material appeared. He followed the magazine’s square format and grid-like design, originally conceived by the artist Ed Ruscha (born 1937) in 1962, and reproduced it in different sizes. In some paintings he kept to the magazine’s actual size, while in others, such as this one, he enlarged it. Writing about Linke’s Artforum paintings, critic James Roberts has said: ‘The laboriousness of the paintings’ construction stands in stark contrast to their striking graphic presence; courtesy of the applied minimalism of Artforum advertisements, which rely on an instantaneous visual punch and the almost subliminal power of design and typography.’ (Roberts 1989, p.2.)

Linke’s Artforum series emphasises the role of advertising in contemporary culture, highlighting the relations between art, the market, and consumer culture, and questioning the contextual, critical and hierarchical structures of the art world. Linke has explained the role that the magazine could play in an artist’s career, and how a mention in its pages could bring widespread recognition:

Artforum was a metaphor for the repository of all the information you would ever need to be an artist. It’s the promise of salvation and adoration through recognition. Just by being mentioned you can become the focus of so many. Even if it’s just for a short time the acknowledgement of the special nature of your subjectivity becomes the passport to a world of recognition and respect. And in that recognition lies the possibility of reversing the horror of the absence of unconditional love in the adult world and a return to a childlike state of bliss where just the existence of subjectivity confers love.
(Linke in ‘Simon Linke’, online text, John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool 2002, http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/johnmoores/22/artists_linke.html, accessed 19 July 2010.)

However, rapid changes in the contemporary art world and its market mean that many of the artists and galleries featured in Linke’s paintings no longer have a high profile. Some galleries have closed or changed their names and ownership, while some of the artists are no longer at the forefront of their field. By focusing on the advertisements rather than the editorial section of the magazine, Linke highlights the shifting nature of success within the art world.

Further reading
Jeffrey Deitch, ‘Abstract Advertising’, in Simon Linke, exhibition catalogue, Lisson Gallery, London, and Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York 1987, pp.1–3.
James Roberts, ‘Articulating Meaning’, in Simon Linke, exhibition catalogue, Kohji Ogura Gallery, Nagoya, and Lisson Gallery, London 1989, pp.1–3.

Carmen Juliá
March 2011

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