Mark Bradford, ‘Soccer Ball Bag 1’, 2011, Phillips

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"The conversations I was interested in were about community, fluidity, about a merchant dynamic, and the details that point to a genus of change." – Mark Bradford

Mark Bradford was born and raised in south Los Angeles, in a neighbourhood that experienced a gradual but seismic change in social and cultural demographics. Revered for drawing inspiration from the environment around him, Bradford continually engages with his surroundings. Paper is, perhaps, the most important medium for Bradford. He sees it as a container of information, inseparable with memory, but at the same time, it is an unforgiving material. He scoured the streets of south Los Angeles. for fragments of newspaper, magazines, and posters, creating monumental collages and installations.

This sculpture, taking the shape of soccer balls, is Bradford’s commentary on the social and cultural issues that pervaded his own surroundings. Beyond the superficial appearance and title, Soccer Ball Bag 1 scrutinises the complex structures of urban culture and highlights the intricate social undercurrents. The soccer balls embody deliberate constructions and deconstructions, the theme transcending Bradford’s oeuvre, much like the communities in the neighbourhood. The individual balls, while similar in shape and sizes, were uniquely reassembled with estrange and separate pieces of paper, reuniting to form a cohesive whole. Slightly misshapen and rough, the soccer balls are charmingly flawed - much like the urban streets from which they came from. Finally, the net, mirroring the streets, holds all the balls together in one unifying bundle. The fragments of the past congregate to form the present and, eventually delineate the future.
Courtesy of Phillips

Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner

About Mark Bradford

Fabricating his signature mixed-media collages with ephemera such as segments of billboards, flyers, and graffitied stencils, American artist Mark Bradford’s works marry his interests in modernist abstraction with the urban community from which he culls his materials. These ambitious, visually arresting works are striking for their simultaneous incorporation of physical remnants of a site and semi-figurative depiction of a scene or topography. In Kryptonite (2006), for example, Bradford amasses a dense grid of collaged materials that seems to delineate the aerial view of a city while visually recalling iconic modernist artwork such as Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43). Bradford also creates public art, installations, and video, often exploring the relationship between high art and popular culture and between materiality, surface, and image. Bradford is a recipient of the Whitney Museum's Bucksbaum Award and was a 2009 MacArthur Fellow.

American, b. 1961, Los Angeles, California, based in Los Angeles, California