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Robert Bittenbender Profile

BACKWASH 1 Sept – 22 Oct 2023
Drill Hall Gallery

b.1987, Washington DC, USA.
Lives and works in New York City.

Robert Bittenbender’s work consists of complex assemblages of found objects, printed matter, photographs, and painting. The works are dense, complex and overloaded with information. Some of the materials incorporated are not independently recognisable, highlighting the work’s desire to be apprehended as an organic whole. 

Arranged with his own sense of “decorative virtuosity”, Bittenbender turns the discarded and the cheap – plastic lids, tiaras, wooden fans, safety pins, toys…all kinds of stuff – into hyperbolic tangles of the everyday. Setting large volumes of material into rudimentary frameworks, their structure operates like a sieve, filtering the materials and memories that we accumulate in our daily interactions. The works appear as a recollection, marking a particular time and place. Zip-ties tether separate events as time connects distinct memories. Some unseen force pulls-together hundreds of fragments, which become woven into an ambivalent mess. 

While they remain highly specified indexes, they occur within the cultural backwash of the American Dream – a tenuous attachment that could come undone at any point. The works are precarious in their resolution, threatening to slip back into the stream of stuff from which they came. 

Bittenbender received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Cooper Union, New York City (2008). In 2019, Bittenbender participated in the Whitney Biennial. Courtesy Alexander Shulan, LOMEX Gallery, New York. 

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.