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Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California (BAM/PFA) announces Lutz Bacher MATRIX 242

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California (BAM/PFA) presents Lutz Bacher MATRIX 242 on July 18–October 7, 2012.

Since Lutz Bacher’s first MATRIX exhibition in 1993, the artist has become a leading figure in contemporary art. Recent exhibitions include a retrospective at MoMA PS1 and the 2012 Whitney Biennial. MATRIX 242 presents Bien Hoa, an important but rarely seen series from 2006–07.

Bien Hoa juxtaposes enlargements of photographs taken by a soldier in Vietnam named Walter, unearthed by the artist at a salvage store, with the versos of the originals which reveal the soldier/photographer’s handwritten annotations. His comments have a surprisingly casual tone, given his circumstances as a soldier stationed in Vietnam. At times, Walter’s notes sound almost like a tourist writing a postcard; in others, he seems to have been more concerned with the composition of the image than with the grisly content of a scene. Bacher’s enlargements invite us to hone in on these details and scrutinize the photographs aesthetically, as Walter directs: “This is a practice session that the Fire Department has every now and then. They are practicing on a burning helicopter. I messed up on my border at the top of the picture.”

Despite being composed of discarded photographs, Bien Hoa resonates as a pivotal description of a fraught moment in United States history. In exhuming these images and aligning her voice with Walter’s, Bacher recontextualizes her source material, opening it to interpretation and resisting any sense of its historical cohesion.

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive,
University of California (BAM/PFA)
Woo Hon Fai Hall
2625 Durant Ave. #2250
Berkeley, CA 94720-2250
Hours: Wed–Sun, 11–5pm
Open until 9pm on L@TE Fridays
T 510 642 0808
www.bampfa.berkeley.edu

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