Luciano Perna, Schlumbergera, 2020.

Luciano Perna | Librairie Marian Goodman | Opening 20 January 2021

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What I do is determined by what I believe in, and what I believe in constantly changes.
—Luciano Perna

Librairie Marian Goodman is pleased to present a solo exhibition of photographs by conceptual artist Luciano Perna. Born in 1958 in Naples, Italy, Perna spent his youth in Venezuela before settling in Southern California in the 1980s, where he lives and works today.

Through the use of painting, sculpture, installation and photography, Perna has created a playful body of work combining autobiographical references with tributes to artists and ideas that have influenced and inspired him. Although his artistic vocabulary is rooted in conceptualism, Perna’s early involvement at CalArts and his integral presence within the Los Angeles art scene since the late 1970s have also shaped his trajectory as an artist. During that time, he witnessed performances, activities and openings from artists and peers such as John Baldessari, Michael Asher, Douglas Huebler, and many others.

Perna’s interest in photography as an artistic medium can be traced all the way back to his early years in Naples, when he adopted a visual diaristic practice, capturing elements of the urban landscape and social aspects of the city. His profound exploration of the medium culminated with the inclusion of his work in the 1989 show, “Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980s.” This seminal exhibition, organized at The Smithsonian American Art Museum, celebrated the 150th anniversary of the invention of photography and featured artists known for challenging the traditional role of photography. Among them areCindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler, and Barbara Kruger.

At Librairie Marian Goodman, Perna premieres a new series of seventeen color photographs, inkjet, featuring eclectic subjects such as still lifes with wilted flowers, fragile plants, fruit and various objects, as well as landscapes and ancient sculptures.

As Benjamin H.D Buchloh recently described in a comprehensive Artforum essay on his new body of work, “Perna seems to have grasped the paradox that the still life’s ancient mnemonic power of a sudden arrest of time might nowadays find its optimal place and distribution form in the perpetually restless cycles of asocial digitality.” *

Having discovered Perna’s Facebook page during lockdown, Buchloh encouraged Marian Goodman Gallery to feature the artist and his series. In the current pandemic context, Perna’s fascinating and disturbing images of flowers, sculptures and abandoned objects are an important reminder of the precarious, yet meditative, qualities of our times.

Luciano Perna was born in Naples, Italy in 1958. In 1975, he moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where he worked for the National Library, documenting visual aspects of the political campaigns of presidential candidates and the elections. In 1979, Perna relocated to Los Angeles to attend the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) where he studied with artists such as Judy Fiskin, John Baldessari, Douglas Huebler, Michael Asher and Barbara Kruger, and worked as a studio assistant for John Baldessari and Douglas Huebler. In 1988, Perna had his first solo exhibition at Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, and in 1989 his work is included in the exhibition “Photography of Invention: American Pictures of the 1980s” at the National Museum of American Art. In 2009, his work was featured in an exhibition of Olivier Mosset’s art collection at MAGASIN – Centre National d’arts et de cultures in Grenoble, France. The show on view at Librairie Marian Goodman is Perna’s first solo exhibition in France.

  • © Artforum, October/November 2020, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, “Pandemic Flowers: The Art of Luciano Perna.”

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