Barbara Kruger: First London Institutional Exhibition In 20 Years – Serpentine South

Barbara Kruger

Acclaimed American artist Barbara Kruger brings her powerful fusion of images and words to the Serpentine South in London with “THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU.” This marks Kruger’s first solo institutional show in London in over two decades.

Kruger’s distinctive visual language, shaped by her early graphic design career for magazines, delves into advertising and media aesthetics. Since the 1970s, her work has explored power, gender, class, consumerism, and capital.

The exhibition encompasses installations, moving image works, and evocative soundscapes. A highlight is the UK premiere of “Untitled (No Comment)” (2020), a three-channel video installation immersing viewers in the contemporary dynamics of online content creation and consumption. Blurring the lines between text, audio, and found images, Kruger crafts a compelling commentary on the digital age.

Several iconic pieces from the 1980s, including “Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am)” (1987) and “Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground)” (1989), are revisited through recent video reconfigurations. Kruger adapts her works for specific locations within Serpentine, indoors and outdoors, adding a unique spatial dimension to the exhibition.

Barbara Kruger reflects on her practice, stating, “It would be great if my work became archaic if the issues they try to present were no longer pertinent. Unfortunately, that is not the case at this point.”

Bettina Korek, CEO of Serpentine, expresses excitement about presenting Kruger’s first London institutional exhibition in over 20 years. The show extends beyond gallery walls, engaging Kensington Gardens and other London sites.

Hans Ulrich, Artistic Director of Serpentine, acknowledges Kruger as a transformative artist. The exhibition, “THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU.,” visually and sonically connects with the South Gallery’s architecture, inviting viewers to contemplate context, histories, cultures, and hierarchies.

The exhibition features reconfigured iconic pieces, such as “Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am)” (1987/2019) and “Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground)” (1989/2019), offering a fresh perspective on Kruger’s enduring themes.

“Untitled (No Comment)” (2020) presents an immersive exploration of social media snippets accompanied by Kruger’s thought-provoking questions, statements, and quotes. The exhibition also introduces “Pledge, Will, Vow” (1988/2020), a three-channel video work that reinterprets texts from the US Pledge of Allegiance, marriage vows, and the last will.

THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU.” at Serpentine South is a testament to Barbara Kruger’s enduring relevance and ability to engage with the contemporary while building on her impactful artistic legacy. 

Barbara Kruger (born 1945 in Newark, NJ, USA) is an artist celebrated for her work with images and words. She has exhibited internationally, making a lasting impact on public spaces and institutions. The show at Serpentine South is a site-specific iteration of works presented at prominent art venues, adapted to respond to the unique context of each exhibition.

Barbara Kruger THINKING OF YOU. I MEAN ME. I MEAN YOU. At Serpentine South 1 February – 17 March 2024 FREE

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