Barack Obama’s favourite artist, Glenn Ligon, brings his controversial racial works to Camden Arts Centre for his first solo exhibition in a UK public gallery
Glenn Ligon counts Barack Obama amongst his collectors and admirers. This may seem surprising given the politically charged nature of his paintings, but perhaps it is also quite fitting considering his choice to directly address the issue of race from a personal perspective.
What is he known for?
Ligon, who has also recently emerged as a prolific critical writer, is best know for his text-based paintings which he uses to re-examine contemporary American history, and draw attention to the vagaries of language and representation. His canvases are a meeting point where literature, visual arts and popular culture can be interrogated. Using repetition, overlapping and layering the texts exist on the edge of abstraction. Thus, the viewer is caught between reading and looking, often dissociating meaning from the images and words in front of them.
Glenn Ligon, Camden Arts Centre
For this exhibition at the Camden Arts Centre presents a new series of large paintings based on the 1966 recording 'Come Out' by the minimalist composer Steve Reich. 'Come Out' is based on the testimony of six black youths who were arrested for committing a murder and were known as the Harlem Six. All but one have since been exonerated and released. Following Reich’s repetition of words and phrases, Ligon has layered the words to create a rhythmic effect in his silkscreen paintings. A new neon work is suspended from the ceiling, inspired by the Harlem Six as it describes the police beatings suffered by the youngsters. The constant blinking of the lights is reminiscent of worn down, contemporary police stations as well as the repetitive cycles in Reich’s work.
Poignant and engaging, this exhibition is not likely to disappoint.
|What||Glenn Ligon: Call and Response, Camden Arts Centre|
|Where||Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Finchley Road (underground)|
10 Oct 14 – 11 Jan 15, 12:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here for more information|