MAN_Museo d'Arte Provincia di Nuoro

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Ed Templeton

The Cemetery of Reason

29.07  -  03.10.2012

A tsunami of artworks will flood the MAN in Nuoro from 29 July: hundreds and hundreds of images and sculptures by Ed Templeton, hailed as the new
Andy Warhol, or rather Jean-Michel Basquiat, of the current American art scene. This exhibition, entitled The Cemetery of Reason, will feature photos, drawings, acrylics, sculptures, videos, clips and audio works that recount the last fifteen years in the life of this dynamic and energetic artist.

Fifteen years in which Templeton, who is still in his thirties, has been the handson interpreter rather than mere observer of the American suburbs, which are violent yet touching, places and non-places where it’s either all or nothing.

His works are slice-of-life images of teenagers searching for an identity, of gangs whose answer to boredom is to roll around a skatepark, of bloody falls, nightbirds, drugs and intimate encounters in cramped hotel rooms. The artist penetrates the depths, experiencing these worlds instead of just recording them with an entomologist’s gaze. If there is any lightness it is in his expressive style, which is almost a reworking of the illustrated fanzine or, rather, a chaotic teenage diary. Ed Templeton started out as a skateboarder, a sport he continues to practice professionally. This is precisely why he is able to approach youngsters as an equal, to document their crises and searchings, dreams, desires and fears. His images draw on a world he knows well because he has experienced it firsthand. He depicts looking for sex, sexuality, anxieties, aggressiveness and the joys and problems of lives in transition. Without being judgemental, offering instead opportunities and the means of understanding to those who wish to do so without being prejudiced.
His work, classified as street art, consists in a frenzied and remarkably vibrant and topical mix of languages. Templeton constantly blurs the lines between photos and painted images, graphics and writing, combining murals, tags, graffiti, advertising, and even music, in clusters of visual and behavioural codes.

The exhibition tells the story of a pro skateboarder, a photographer, a designer, a painter, a street kid who emerged from the tunnel, a strict vegan, a successful adman, a fashion designer (in the States his shoes are symbolic of creative freedom) … It is the story of his own experiences that
goes beyond the autobiographical to boldly expose social phenomena.

It is difficult to classify the work of Ed Templeton (b. 1972), who grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs and as a teenager spent his time skateboarding
and listening to punk rock, which were both a means of escape and salvation. The sport brought him success and when he was 21 he set up the Toy Machine Bloodsucking Skateboard Company, which became a leader in a niche market and in unconventional urban culture.

He developed a passion for painting when he discovered Schiele, Balthus and Hockney, which went hand in hand with an equally keen interest in photography.

At the beginning he used an analogue camera and created the images personally. Templeton continues to be a skateboarder and an artist, a sporting legend and eternal street kid at the same time. He doesn’t want to make a choice, to limit himself to one or the other or to a single discipline in his art. Photography, painting and sculpture are equal and complementary in his eyes. He notes impressions, anecdotes and moods on his works, thus melding writing and story. Taken as a whole, the images on display unravel personal experiences and complex stories of groups in a Cemetery of Reason experienced and recounted with harshness but without laying it on. With realistic poetry.

The exhibition was realized in collaboration with the SMAK in Ghent, and is curated by Thomas Caron. The catalogue, published by the SMAK, features texts by Thomas Caron, Jean-François Chevrier, Carlo McCormick, Arty Nelson and Philippe Van Cauteren.


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