Frances Stark

Works based of the self-reflexivity of modernist writing.

Frances Stark is exhibiting four works that adapt the writings of other authors. Having an Experience, 1995, traces a reader's underlinings in a copy of Art as Experience, 1934, a book on aesthetics by the American philosopher John Dewey. The other three works employ quotations from novels: Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities, 1930–42 (The quantity of the effect and the effect of quantity, 1997); Witold Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, 1937 (I must explain, specify, rationalize, classify, etc., 2008); and Samuel Beckett's Watt, 1945 (Untitled (Drop Out), 2003).

Stark often draws on book culture within her work, and she seems especially interested in the self-reflexivity that is a feature of modernist writing. Such self-reflexivity is echoed in the visual strategies that her work employs, which include repetition, fragmentation and collage (and her graphic treatment of text can create parallels with concrete poetry). However, Stark's quotations from literary culture are more playful than didactic. They are also part of a wider interrogation of the creative act, and of authorial uncertainty, that has a pronounced autobiographical aspect for the artist, who often, as in I must explain, specify, rationalize, classify, etc., appears in her own work.

Frances Stark was born in 1967 in Newport Beach, California, and lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied at Art Centre, Pasadena, and at San Francisco State University, graduating in 1991. Recent exhibitions include A Torment of Follies, at Secession, Vienna, and Greengrassi, London, in 2008; and in autumn 2009 the artist will have an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary.

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