The Eric Mouchet Gallery is thrilled to welcome to Paris, on the proposal of “1 Mira Madrid”, the first solo exhibition in 16 years by the American artist Judith Blum Reddy (Born New York, 1943). Exchanges of proposals between the two galleries are regular and the fruit of a long bond between Mira Bernabeu, director of “1 Mira Madrid” and Eric Mouchet, who have known each other for more than 20 years and have the same interest in conceptual and political art. “1 Mira Madrid”, (formerly “Espaivisor” located in Valence) hosted works by Rémi Dal Negro, Bérénice Lefebvre and Louis-Cyprien Rials in dialogue with its own programming in 2017. Today we are very happy to return the favor to Mira Bernabeu, whose talent as a researcher and “discoverer” of committed (often female) artists with a demanding practice must be recognized.
Judith Blum Reddy’s work is a reflection of the connections she has established throughout her life with the cultures of the countries she has lived in. In the early 1970s she moved to Paris, where she worked and collaborated with other female artists in documenting racism, sexism and inequality among social classes. Together they analyzed the everyday life of the French population and the reality of the city through drawings, photos, videos and unconventional narratives. In works such as Paris Ville Lumière (1974), done alongside the artist Nil Yalter, the history of 1970s Paris is told in twenty panels, one for each district. The result is a visual and textual coverage of the transformational period, in which Paris moved from being an antiquated city to being one of the great, global capitals of the 20th century. Yalter and Blum reflected on the history of the city by adopting an engaged, political and militant perspective, in addition to analyzing the role women played in society, her battles and places of exclusion. When Blum returned to the United States in the 1980s, she participated in an exhibition called “Who is she?” in which she related her experience as a north-American artist in India -a country she was strongly connected to through her partner the artist Krishna Reddy- opposing it to the experience of native artists, often excluded from international museum and biennial exhibitions. In New York, Blum spent two decades working at the Camille Billops and James V. Hatch Archive of African-American Culture of Manhattan, transcribing interviews and creating lists of all that was missing from the documentation of visual African-American culture.
Her work is rooted in her obsession for maps and lists. The absurd and the self-critical are essential components of her oeuvre and intermix with a preoccupation about the future of humanity, structured by numeration and organization of different elements. Since the 1970s the idea of classification reoccurs in her practice and gives rise to a plethora of works, in which meticulousness is contrasted with the large-scale some of her installations can reach. Blum’s artworks, done on diverse surfaces, contain lots of details, some of which are taken out of real life and others out of her own imagination. Through the process of repetition, she intends to combat contemporary disorder. Indian and French influences can of course be found in her work.
The eclectic formal and conceptual components of Blum’s work make it difficult to assign them a specific artistic movement. Some of her works take an ironic approach to the absurdities of contemporary life while others question the discrimination between nations, origins, classes and gender. Even though each work speaks individually, all part from her personal experience and end up relating to each other. With her work she gives visibility to the fragility of democratic institutions, the inefficiency of the bureaucratic system emblematic of today’s societies, and its inability in combating problems such as poverty and the inequality of women, out in the open.
Judy Blum’s work has been shown at MoMA P.S.1 (New York), Bronx Museum of Arts (New York) and the Contemporary Art Museum of Los Angeles, among others, and is represented in their collections as well as in the ones of the Fond National d’Art Contemporain (FNAC), the Cleveland Museum of Art and a variety of private collections. Recently her work was exhibited at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), the Villa Vassilieff (Paris), the African Contemporary Art Biennial in 2016, FIAC Paris in 2016, the Gwangju Biennial in 2016, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau (Amsterdam), Station Independent Project (New York) and Art Dubai in 2015. Aside from curating a variety of shows in New York her work has been reviewed in prestigious magazines such as Art Forum, Frieze, The New York Times, Blouin Artinfo, Le Monde, Hindustan Times, NY Arts y Bronx Press Review, and she was the recipient of NYSCA CAPS Grant for Drawing and Graphics.
This exhibition is made possible thanks to 1 Mira Madrid.
From January 26, 2024, this exhibition will also be on view in our Brussels venue.
// Press release
// Judith Blum Reddy
// Everything is not ok, Mira Madrid (02/06—27/07/2023)