Fondazione Antonio Ratti

Jimmie Durham

Stones Rejected by the Builder

3 July 2004
Spazio ex-Ticosa


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In the opening conference of the summer workshop, Jimmie Durham presented his layered activity as a visual artist, poet, and performer, setting the premises for his seminar. The title of the conference Stones Rejected by the Builder summarized the basic concept of Durham's poetics and his idea of ​​an anti-monumental art, related to an alternative reading of European art history. As the artist said: “an art against architecture and against all certainty, where the artistic process is possible without the need for language and metaphors.”

Jimmie Durham (b. 1940, Houson, Texas - d. Berlin 2021) was a Cherokee poet, author, and visual artist, who was an activist in the American Indian Movement in the 1970's. Durham creates in an array of mediums: drawings, installations, video —which he uses to document his performances—, and sculptural constructions. Working predominantly as sculptor, he often combines found objects and natural materials and incorporates text to expose Western centric views and prejudices hidden in language, objects, and institutions.

Durham has participated in several editions of the Venice Biennale (2013, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999) and of the Whitney Biennale, New York (2014, 2006, 1993) and took part to the 6th Moscow Biennale (2015); 13th Istanbul Biennale (2013); Documenta 13 (2012); and Taipei Biennale (2012); among others. He was awarded the Robert Rauschenberg Award by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York (2017) and the Goslarer Kaiserring Prize (2016). Jimmie Durham is also the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia - May You Live In Interesting Times (2019). His recent retrospective At the Center of the World (2017-18) traveled from the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, to Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Remai Modern, Saskatoon.

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