Mark Bradford

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen

29 September 2023 – 10 February 2024



Mark Bradford presents ‘Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen’, a major new solo exhibition centered around a selection of paintings based on the historical tapestries known as ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ first exhibited at the Fundação de Serralves in 2021. A site-specific wall painting that will wrap the entire gallery space and an adaptation of ‘He would see this country burn if he could be king of the ashes’ (2019) will complete an immersive experience that draws the viewer into Bradford’s ongoing engagement with the themes of predation, destruction and the hope of rejuvenation for those in crisis.

‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ tapestry cycle, thought to have been woven in the Netherlands at the turn of the 15th Century, illustrates in rich detail the story of a band of hunters and hounds in pursuit of a unicorn and its eventual capture and death. Often considered to be an allegory for the crucifixion and resurrection from Christian theology, the tapestries portray a dense, dreamlike world populated by hundreds of plant and animal species where ecosystems of predator and prey proliferate. Bradford reconstructs this landscape using accumulated layers of paper and caulk processed with his signature techniques of sanding, tearing and oxidation. As he dissects the historical legacy of one of Europe’s most beloved works of art, Bradford illuminates parallels between the contemporary world and the Dark Ages, centering on figures relegated to the margins of history who are often the last to receive aid and comfort in times of turbulence.

About the artist

Mark Bradford (b. 1961 in Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) is a contemporary artist best known for his large-scale abstract paintings created out of paper. Characterized by its layered formal, material, and conceptual complexity, Bradford’s work explores social and political structures that objectify marginalized communities and the bodies of vulnerable populations. Just as essential to Bradford’s work is a social engagement practice through which he reframes objectifying societal structures by bringing contemporary art and ideas into communities with limited access to museums and cultural institutions.

Current Exhibitions