Barbara Bloom
The French Diplomat's Office

March 1 – April 30, 1999
at Peter Blum SoHo

Peter Blum is pleased to announce an exhibition by Barbara Bloom, opening on Saturday, February 27, at 99 Wooster Street. This exhibition will feature Bloom's most recent installation, The French Diplomat's Office. The show continues through April.

Bloom has been recognized for her major installations in which she combines artworks, artifacts and cultural information. For Bloom, images and objects never have a single meaning. By creating situations through the arrangement and presentation of various objects-furniture, paintings and photographs-we experience ways in which to extend how we apprehend meaning through systems of classification, juxtaposition and contrast. This hybrid form of Bloom's work has evolved over the past decade. Her recent installation, The Collections of Barbara Bloom, presented at the Wexner Center for the Arts (May-August 1998) was filled with components from past installations, recycling preexisting works and creating new elements. Bloom's work, however, has become more reductive, where a single image can trigger a narrative by what Bloom refers to as visual innuendo. Such is the case with The French Diplomat's Office.

At a Paris flea market Bloom found a discarded watercolor of what appeared to be an interior decorator's rendering of an office or salon. "I was delighted by the Parisian fussiness," Bloom remarks, "of all the details rendered: the interior furnishings, the decorations and carpet, which the anonymous artist had depicted more abstractly." Bloom had a facsimile of this carpet manufactured in hand-dyed wool, measuring 15 x 18 feet, taking specific details and re-creating them in an aerial view. "Does the carpet have a quasi-geometric pattern, or is this not a patterned carpet at all, but a depiction of fallen shadows?" Bloom asks. The carpet in relation to the other elements of this office-its painted walls, areas depicting curtains and windows-is the proscenium on which Bloom's implied fiction is staged. Woven into the carpet we find footprints of a man and woman, revealing some interaction that has taken place between this fictional "French Diplomat" and an unidentified woman. The effect, as Bloom cites, might be similar to a French literary form of the 1960s, recalling a presence felt of absent persons in many books and movies of this period, for example in the works by Duras or Robbe-Grillet.

On the occasion of this exhibition a CD in collaboration with the artist/composer Christian Marclay has been produced, consisting of a  mix of film music and sounds that might have occurred in The French Diplomat's Office.  

Barbara Bloom's works and installations have been exhibited at the Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Zürich; Serpentine Gallery, London (1990); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1992); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1996); and most recently at Sala de Exposiciones Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain, and Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio (1998).  

For additional information or photographic materials please contact Arthur Solway or Peter Blum. The gallery is located at 99 Wooster Street. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 11-6 and Monday by appointment. Tel: 212-343-0441.