Prima Facie (Third state): Inconsolable/ Exuberant


(1931–2020, USA)

Prima Facie (Third state): Inconsolable/Exuberant, 2005

Diptych — digital photographic print on foam PVC board and enamel on canvas, in artist’s frames

Planet Word, on loan from the collection of Tom and Ann Friedman

“Inconsolable” and “exuberant” are opposite words: one means very sad, and one means very happy. Which word do you think best matches the woman in the photograph? Do you think that she could be either inconsolable or exuberant?

Baldessari’s Prima Facie series explores the relationship between showing and telling. In these works, the construction of meaning — through words and facial expressions — is explored by the juxtaposition of photograph and text, calling into question the “prima facie” (first impression) of the viewer.