Slater Bradley: All my happiness is gone
The exhibition features a mix of paintings and altered photographs that explore emotional states of melancholy, bliss, and the energy surrounding themes of identity, intuition, illusion, and so-called hypercosmic spirituality – a term coined by Bradley.
In 2005, at the age of 30, Bradley became the youngest male artist to have a solo show at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. In the show, called the Doppelganger Trilogy, Bradley examined the collective unconscious of our mass-mediated culture through imaginary restagings of performances by deceased rock stars.
Bradley departed New York for Berlin in 2013. Once there, he began to re-invent himself through rigorous spiritual introspection, with science, faith and cosmology taking a central place in his art. Moving between painting, photography and installation, his works contain a plethora of astrological references and calculations, numerological codes and patterns from the Golden Ratio to the Mayan calendar.
In the exhibition All my happiness is gone, the diamond-shaped canvases may at first sight appear to be completely abstract art reminiscent of Mondrian, but in fact they can be conceived of as a form of very precise symbols relating to the Earth’s position in the Universe. The sharply bordered fields of color accentuate a figure of straight lines that – in the right context – designate a specific date. In order to retrieve this information, the pattern in question needs to be applied to a horoscope wheel. Consequently, the paintings in the exhibition symbolically depict the launch of certain Cryptocurrencies.
Bradley’s series thus combines complex algorithms and astrology, thereby assigning a Zodiac sign to something purely technological. The seemingly simplistic acrylic paintings thus interweave two widely different obscure, abstract concepts that share the fact that scarcely any people truly comprehend either of them.
Bradley’s time-consuming process of applying countless layers to each painting almost mimics the straining virtual extraction of value. On the subject of value, Slater Bradley employs gold color in another group of works, using it as signifier of value – not only the obvious monetary value, but also to explore the color’s religious connotations, for instance due to its prevalence in the adornment of Catholic and Orthodox churches.
The title of the exhibition, All my happiness is gone, is the name of a song by Purple Mountains, the band led by David Berman who committed suicide shortly after the release of the band’s debut album. Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance describes the song as having “sadness so sad that it cancels itself out and becomes bliss. A very Zen-like melancholy.”
Slater B. Bradley was born in 1975 in San Francisco, California. He lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Bradley is currently represented in several museum collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Guggenheim New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Whitney Museum in New York, and the Zabludowicz Collection in London.