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Barbara Kruger’s exhibition at The Serpentine brings the artist’s legacy right up to date

All that’s old is new and all that’s new is old – especially in the world of Barbara Kruger. In her exhibition Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. at the Serpentine in London, she adorns the walls with her collages of Futura Bold Oblique font atop found imagery. But this time it feels different. While she welcomes us into her ever-growing capsule that often demonstrates our advancement, it also reveals how little we’ve actually changed.

Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. is the first institutional show for the artist and graphic designer in London in over 20 years, and her second time exhibiting at the gallery since participating in the group show Wall to Wall in 1994. Adapting many of the works (she refers to them as “replays”) for the Serpentine South, after previously showcasing them at galleries throughout the US, the show is as much a survey of her obsession with visual culture as it is a melding of her oeuvre with the architecture.

In an interview with the Serpentine artistic director Hans Ulrich Olbrist ahead of the show, Kruger describes her upbringing in Newark, New Jersey, and the fact that her parents never owned a home, but “spent the weekends going to open houses” conjuring up dream lives in these properties. The experience led the young Kruger to dreams of being an architect in her adolescence, when she’d draw up plans for housing developments. Later on, her relationship to space strengthened, leading her to incorporate installation into her practice some 20 years ago. “When I walk into a space, I pretty much know how I want to engage it and how I choose to spatialise the meanings of my work,” she says. Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You. is no different.

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