Whether documenting a statue that commemorates the founder of Copenhagen (Image of Absalon to Be Projected Until It Vanishes, 2001), or studying the moral community of the Underground Railroad, a 19th-century American anti-slavery movement (Subterranean Pass Way, forthcoming), Buckingham’s artistic practice seems to be guided by certain fundamental, critical questions: by what means and through which technologies is history written? In whose name and to what ends? And what has been omitted from its narratives?
In the exhibition Buckingham presents material from his visual art doctoral project The Sense of the Past. Here Buckingham emphasizes the self-reflexive dimension of his research. The project is based on a close reading of Henry James’ incomplete posthumously published novel The Sense of the Past, an elaborate tale about an American historian who crosses the Atlantic to the ”old world”, literally travelling through both space and time. Writing in the margins of James’ text, Buckingham probes both its philosophical and its ideological underpinnings, his notes forming a separate reflection into the relationship between historiography and art. He writes: “Even though memory is the only ‘data base’ we have the past is something we can never experience directly. We can only represent it. Positioning ourselves as closely as possible to the limits of narration we must ask ‘are the stories we tell ourselves adequate to our needs and, if not, how may we construct new ones?
Born 1963 in Nevada, Iowa [US]
Lives and works in New York [US]
1997 Whitney Independent Study Program [US]
1996 M.F.A., Bard College [US]
1988 B.A., University of Iowa [US]
1984 The School of the Art Institute of Chicago [US]
Selected solo exhibitions
2009 Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid [ES]
2007 Everything Has a Name, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin [DE]
2003 A Man of the Crowd, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien/Vienna [AT]
Selected group exhibitions
2008 The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality, and the Moving, Part II: Realisms, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. [US]
2006 No Reservations: Native American History and Culture in Contemporary Art, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut [US]
2000 Greater New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City [US]
McElheny, Josiah, ”Matthew Buckingham”, BOMB Magazine, våren/spring 2009.
Godfrey, Mark, ”The Artist as Historian”, October, våren/spring 2007.
Dean, Tacita. “Historical Fiction: The Art of Matthew Buckingham”, Artforum, mars/March 2004