Jimmie Durham


three walnut pieces and marble pedestal
127 15/16 x 19 11/16 x 11 13/16 inches

We live in a world of our own construction, and I want to look at that strangeness in the framework of material. – Jimmie Durham

Over the course of a complex and varied five-decades-plus career, Jimmie Durham’s work has tackled numerous social and political issues through his uniquely poetic language and singular approach to materials. Durham’s work often explores how materials are a source of knowledge for mankind, and also evidence of broader issues connected to history, identity, and time. In The forest for the trees, a marble pedestal – decorative, sturdy, and a decidedly historical European object – supports three teetering pieces of walnut. The presence of a modern geometric ‘sculpture’ made of a less durable, yet timeless, material like wood balancing on the historical object might be seen as a meditation on the relationship between the past and the present and how notions of monumentality, style, and control are in an ever-shifting dialogue. Durham’s work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions and is in a number of museum collections. He has participated in numerous biennials, among them the Whitney Biennial (2014, 2006, and 1993); 55th, 51st, 50th, 49th, and 48th Venice Biennial (2012, 2005, 2003, 2001 and 1999); and documenta (13) and XI.