Artist: Mungo Thomson
Venue: frank elbaz, Dallas
Exhibition Title: Background Extinction
Date: October 24 – February 29, 2020
Note: An essay associated with the exhibition by Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer can be downloaded here.
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of frank elbaz, Dallas. Photos by Kevin Todora.
galerie frank elbaz is pleased to announce Background Extinction, an exhibition of new and recent work by Los Angeles artist Mungo Thomson. Mungo Thomson’s work addresses everyday cultural and material production through a lens of deep time and cosmic scale. In this exhibition, he presents new Wall Calendar lightboxes and selections from his series The Windham-Hill Works.
Thomson’s new lightbox works display calendar pages as if held up to the sun, allowing the reverse side of the page to show through. The images on the front and back of the page are collaged together with light – a calendar graphic with a photograph of a mountain, the grid of a single month embedded in an image of geological time. These images are printed on either side of a single piece of fabric and stretched over a custom LED light box at an immersive scale. These works consider geochronology from a precarious contemporary vantage, using everyday, art-adjacent materials that already hang on the wall. Like Thomson’s earliest wind chime works, the lightboxes pair evocations of elevated consciousness and spiritual pilgrimage with pragmatic home decor.
The Windham-Hill Works is a series of turntables with modified motors that play albums released by the 1980s/90s New Age record label Windham-Hill. Windham-Hill released precision-engineered instrumental music in the tradition of Erik Satie’s 1917 Furniture Music – music composed to play in the background. Many Windham-Hill artists, particularly its star George Winston, sought thematic inspiration from the passage of time itself and titled their songs and albums for the months and seasons. Thomson’s modified turntables alter the play of Windham-Hill records so that their nearly undetectable revolutions summon the turning of the earth: Winston’s December takes 31 days to play, William Ackerman’s It Takes a Year takes 365 days, and so on.
Background Extinction also features one of Thomson’s signature TIME mirrors. This mirror references a cover of the magazine from May 6, 1985 that postulates a new theory: Did Comets Kill the Dinosaurs?
Mungo Thomson works in sound, film, sculpture, photography and publication. In 2018, he held solo museum exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Thomson has participated in the 2nd CAFAM Biennale, Beijing; the Pacific Standard Time Public Art and Performance Festival, Los Angeles; the 12th Istanbul Biennial; the 2008 Whitney Biennial; PERFORMA05, New York; and the Biennial of the Moving Image, MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland. Thomson’s work is held in many public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; FRAC Ile-de-France, Paris; and Museo Jumex, Mexico City. Thomson is represented by galerie frank elbaz, Paris, and was recently the subject of the solo exhibition Rods and Cones at Masahiro Maki Gallery, Tokyo. He has two forthcoming publications: Rods and Cones, published by Masahiro Maki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2019), and Mail, published by Inventory Press, Los Angeles (2020).