Ron Terada – Who I Think I Am, SEPTEMBER 28–NOVEMBER ​7, 2010

Ron Terada
Who I Think I Am
September 28–November 7, 2010

Hayward Gallery Project Space, London, UK

Ron Terada’s wide-ranging conceptual practice includes painting, signage, photography, books, music and interventions. For this, his first exhibition in London, Terada presents a series of works that explore the ideas of creative aspiration and stardom from the recent histories of art and popular music.

The Jack paintings, a sequence of sixteen paintings with text on monochrome backgrounds, are concerned with the difficult and tragic story of Californian-artist Jack Goldstein (1945–2003), as recounted in the book Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia (2003). Goldstein was among the first generation of artists to emerge from the newly established California Institute of the Arts (aka CalArts) in the early 1970s. Though considered one of the most promising artists from the post-conceptual period alongside Matt Mullican, Robert Longo and David Salle, he ultimately never achieved the success of his peers. This series of canvases represents Terada’s return to language-based painting after a hiatus of nearly a decade. They are prefaced by the photograph Who I Think I Am (2010), an image of Terada’s finger pointing at a picture of Goldstein and his dog, also named Jack.

In contrast to the emotionally charged paintings are two works related to music. Big Star (2003) is a neon sign that refers to the 1970s American Rock band of the same name. The band has been remembered by history as producing a small but devoted cult following, influencing a generation of indie bands. Soundtrack for an Exhibition (2010) is a new video installation in which the image self-referentially documents the playing of its own musical soundtrack on a vintage record player. Tempered by Terada’s subtle sense of humour, these works turn on slippages of identity and the fine line between stardom and failure.

Ron Terada was born in 1969 in Vancouver, Canada where he currently lives and works.

Ron Terada: Who I Think I Am is curated by Dr Cliff Lauson, Curator at the Hayward Gallery. The exhibition is supported by Canada House Arts Trust, with additional support provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council.