How many billboards?
Jennifer Bornstein
Photo: Gerard Smulevich

Jennifer Bornstein

Since the late 1990s Jennifer Bornstein has been engaged in producing serialized images in a variety of media including sculpture, photography, 16mm film, and most recently, intaglio printing. In 2003, while doing research for a film project, Bornstein studied various 19th-century periodicals, in particular the engravings that illustrated these publications. That year she began the arduous task of learning the techniques of incising and copper-plate printing in order to generate intaglio prints that she often uses as studies for her films. Counterbalancing the "slow art" of the etching with the vehicular pace of billboard viewing is an example of how Bornstein's conceptual rigor is infused with a sly sense of humor. For How Many Billboards? Bornstein produced an etching that was then copied and enlarged. A precious medium intended for close study at intimate range is now stretched incongruously across several yards and exposed to the elements. Its subject is an Eiki 16mm film projector atop a simple wood crate (an utilitarian material that often appears in Bornstein's sculptures). The fragmentary words "The End" are projected solemnly across the muted darkness rendered by Bornstein's meshwork of crosshatches signaling celluloid's imminent demise in today's digital environment. The words and gothic type reverse engineer the technological progression of the history of media. Film's death knell is delivered in the even more antiquated process of copper-plate etching. Bornstein's font choice also underscores typography's signficance within the history of Conceptual Art. Ed Ruscha's The End (1991) shows the same phrase and font; the bottom register is cut off and repeated at the top, mimicking film's movement in frames and is emblematic of Conceptual Art's ability to generate metaphorical meaning from words and type. Bornstein's expertise in copperplate etching offers a significant counterpoint to the narrative of de-skilling often identified with Ruscha and West Coast Conceptualism.
By Gloria Sutton

LOCATION: Sunset Blvd, west of Martel Ave, on the south side of the street, facing east.
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Jennifer Bornstein (b. 1970)
Based in Los Angeles, Jennifer Bornstein received her MFA from University of California, Los Angeles. Her work explores the possibility of setting up physical and conceptual interactions between people, and between bodies and objects, heightening the viewer's awareness of the relationship between spectator and performer. A filmmaker, Bornstein is equally well known for her small, detailed etchings and her evocative studies for films that she may or may not make. She has had solo exhibitions at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; greengrassi, London; Gavin Brown, New York; Studio Guenzani, Milan; Färgfabriken, Stockholm; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

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