Why Don’t I . . . Pretend To Be Your Dad will include a video based on the film, Weekend, synchronized with stripped down pop love songs and LED lighting. A series of quilted patterns stretched onto panel are made from clothing once worn by significant men in the artist’s life, and inspired by quilts made by his great grandfather from suits. The show’s title is a quote taken from the the film.
I’m sure you are surprised to hear from me after all this time. It’s hard to believe that it was 13 years ago when we met in London. When I first saw your film, Weekend, a couple years ago, I was struck by the similarities to our fling back in 2002. Many details were familiar, including the fact that one of the main characters is named Glen (even with one ’n’!), and is an artist. Immediately after seeing it, I looked you up and didn’t recognize you. I think your beard threw me. But, earlier this year a mutual friend told me that you had in fact based the film on our encounter. Soon after, I found a photograph we took together and a videotape I made of you, an event reenacted in your film. After this realization, I spent days in a surreal state of shock. Having watched the film multiple times since then, it’s clear to me that the Glen in the film was initially based on me, but in the end bears only a slight resemblance to me (at least as I perceive myself). Glen is your creation, perhaps an amalgamation of many people and various romances you’ve had. I see myself in him and recognize some of the events as real to my experience, but your Glen is a projection, a fiction of sorts. Yet, I wonder why you chose not to change my name or certain specifics? Did you want me to find out? Were you reaching out? If you were sending a signal, you caught my attention. I am not upset about your film or my portrayal in it, in fact I am flattered that our encounter had a profound impact on you. I am actually writing you to invite you to my upcoming exhibition at JTT Gallery in New York City on November 8th, 2015. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a video installation that uses an edited version of your film, combined with musical interludes based on karaoke versions of melancholy pop love songs. The installation will use LED lighting synchronized with the video, and will also contain a series of new wall works made from suits worn by important men in my life — my grandfather, dad, brother, boyfriend and ex-boyfriends. I would like for you to see the exhibition, and for us to reconnect after all these years. When I was re-watching your film to work on the edit, I was struck by a conversation that Glen and Russ (your stand in) have about Glen’s art and the project he is working on at the time. Glen says his work is about the moment when two people first meet. He says, “you know what its like when you first sleep with someone you don't know? .... [you] become this blank canvas, and it gives you an opportunity to project on that canvas who you want to be. While you are projecting who you want to be... this gap opens up between who you want to be and who you really are, and in that gap, it shows you what’s stopping you from who you want to be.” Moments later in the film, you promise Glen that you will come to his exhibition of this work. Will you keep your promise?