John Baldessari


John Baldessari was an American Conceptual artist known for his pioneering use of appropriated imagery. By blending photography, painting and text, Baldessari’s work examines the plastic nature of artistic media while offering commentary on our contemporary culture. 


Through a diverse practice that includes paintings, sculpture, and installations, he shaped the Conceptual Art landscape garnering early acclaim for his signature use of colourful dots atop photographic images. On a visit to a museum in 1965, Baldessari was struck by the use of unpainted plaster to fill in missing shards of Greek vases. This prompted his interest in how images are effected by having portions removed or blotted out, and he has continued to explore this ever since. 


Using pre-existing images, he arranged them in such a way as to suggest a narrative, yet by using various means of distortion - cropping, collaging them with unrelated images, blocking out faces and objects with dots - it forces us to ask how and what the image is communicating. 


Typically, his work collages together apparently unrelated categories of image, often rendering them generic and suggesting that rather than capturing a special moment, or event, photographs often communicate very standardised messages.