Baldessari's cinema works on DVD.
Baldessari's cinema works primarily in the Space of the spectator and opens up the filmmaking field to other language forms, to other story telling procedures.
The film is no longer a narrative progression but rather a succession of near-still, suspended, photographic moments. Baldessari's film aesthetic is built around his conceptual photographic work, an obsession with
the non-link, with fragmentation and gaps. Images are both autonomous and integrated forms, time-image units referring to an ever-evolving film. It is up to the spectator to reconstruct and project a structure, to make up sequences from images.
"Title" is without doubt one his most radical Projects, a juxtaposition of extremely minimal images following each other without hierarchy nor direction. In this work Baldessari isolates and breaks up a classic film into its component parts. First the objects, the characters, the landscapes, then the frames associating two shapes, and finally the start of an action, of a dialogue.
In this way he shows the precise making and manipulation of meaning, the tricks of cinematic space-time.
In "Six Colorful Inside Jobs" he draws a parallel between a double process of life and creation. The video shows a room being painted in six different colors, each color of the spectrum corresponding to a day of the week. This work, which started as a performance/installation, integrates the artist as a comic figure faced with contemporary history—that of American painting—and shifts his function toward
that of a house painter. Through this form of irony, Baldessari shows to what extent instruments and materials help him define the subtle limits between art
and work, art and life.
"4 Short Films" is the product of the same ironic twist, a free and absurd association between time, matter, and objects.
John Baldessari (*1931) is a key proponent of Conceptual art
and one of the most important figures in contemporary art of the last forty years. Since his sensational "Cremation Project" in 1970, which involved burning all the paintings he had made between 1953 and 1966, his work has revolved around the relationships between language and image as forms of expression. In his painting, photography, film/video, collage, and reliefs, Baldessari explores the mechanisms of media representation, as well as the subject of artistic work itself. Early on, Baldessari began integrating images and text from advertising and movies into his works and building up a large archive of film stills, publicity, and press photographs. This image material is then contrasted, cropped, and processed in numerous variations and visual realizations. From 1980, the artist worked mostly without text in series of photographs and pictures, while continuing to deal with conflicts and constructions of narrative content. Over the course of his oeuvre, overpainting, voids, gaps, and withheld information increasingly take on the function of the language evoked within the viewer.
See also John Baldessari & Naomi Shohan