Something other than either
March 7 - May 3, 2020
Opening: Friday, March 6, 7pm
This spring, Kunstverein München will present Pati Hill’s first posthumous institutional solo exhibition in Europe. Hill (b. 1921 in Ashland, Kentucky, USA; d. 2014 in Sens, France) left behind an artistic output spanning roughly 60 years and encompassing various disciplines. Untrained as an artist, she began to use the photocopier as an artistic tool in the early 1970s and continued to do so until her death, leaving behind an extensive oeuvre that explores the relationship between image and text. In addition to this comprehensive body of xerographic work, she published four novels, a memoir, several short stories, artists books, and poetry. Drawing also became an essential part of her practice.
By using the copier—a machine that was stereotypically linked to secretarial work and thus to feminized labor—to trace every- day objects such as a comb, a carefully fold- ed pair of men’s trousers, or a child’s toy, Hill developed an artistic practice that program- matically translated invisible domestic labor into a visual and public language. Through her use of this reproductive apparatus, she created a model of artistic production that critically opposes the convention of individual expression as well as the supposed neutrality of technologically produced images.
Though it takes the artist’s visual work as the primary starting point, the exhibition also con- siders her writing, publishing, and editing as practices that both question and accompany the visual work. As a fragmentary, necessarily incomplete index of her engagement with image and text (re-)production, the show includes published novels, poems, sketchbooks, unpublished manuscripts, and letters in addition to the xerographs.
As part of the exhibition, a reprint of her publication Letters to Jill. A Catalogue and Come Notes on Copying will bemade available. In this 128-page book, Pati Hill explains the status of the copier and her working process in her own words to her New York gallerist Jill Kornblee, with whom she had a total of five solo exhibitions between 1975 and 1979. These texts shed light on Hill’s relationship to excerpts and examples from earlier projects, making this publication a valuable document of her activity as an author, which encompassed both production and reception, a duality that was at the core of her artistic output.
Image: Pati Hill, Alphabet of Common Objects (hair curlers), 1977–79, xerograph, 27.9 x 21.6 cm. Image courtesy the Pati Hill Collection, Arcadia University.