Garrett Bradley's White Sheet Tear (1915) photographic series on Frieze Viewing Room
17 February 2022
White Sheet Tear (1915) is a sequence of 10 black-and-white photographs which extend Garrett Bradley’s multi-channel video, America (exhibited previously at Museum of Modern Art New York in 2021 and upcoming at the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA LA among other venues).
The white sheet, as presented by Bradley, illustrates the mailiability of the single object - on one hand representing domestic neutrality, on the other as a symbol of horror. Whether shown all together, in smaller compositions, or individually, this work narrows in-on the narrative, symbolic and transformational gesture of disassemblage and historical resistance.
About ‘America’ by Garrett Bradley:
According to the Library of Congress, around 70 percent of all feature-length films made in the US between 1912 and 1929 no longer exist. In America (2019), artist and filmmaker Garrett Bradley imagines Black figures from the early decades of the twentieth century whose lives have been lost to history. A multichannel video installation, it is organized around twelve short black-and-white films shot by Bradley and set to a score by artist Trevor Mathison and t’composer Udit Duseja. Bradley intersperses her films with footage from the unreleased Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1914), believed to be the oldest surviving feature-length film with an all-Black cast.
“I see America as a model for how... the assembly of images can serve as an archive of the past as well as a document of the present,” Bradley said. Her installation cites historical events, ranging from African-American composer and singer Harry T. Burleigh’s publication of the spiritual “Deep River” in 1917, to the murder of popular jazz bandleader James Reese Europe in 1919, to the founding of baseball’s Negro National League in 1920. By including borrowed footage from Lime Kiln Club Field Day, she also shines a light on a film that was radically progressive for its time by celebrating Black vernacular culture. (Studio Museum In Harlem and Museum of Modern Art, New York).
Visit Frieze Viewing Room until 20 February.