Lynette Yiadom-Boakye gallery exhibition
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is of Ghanaian descent, but was born, lives and works in London. That she should take over the Serpentine Gallery Hyde Park space this summer comes as no surprise, as she has exhibited in numerous solo shows, was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2013, and features in major collections like Tate, the V&A, Miami Art Museum and the Arts Council Collection. This Serpentine Gallery London exhibition spotlights figurative oil paintings from 2009-2013, which epitomise Yiadom-Boakye's practice in all its poetic secrecy.
Serpentine Gallery exhibition 2015
This is the first major solo display of Yiadom-Boakye's work and it burns with a challenge to the representation of black portraiture in the canon of art history. You'll find plenty of references to 18th and 19th century masters like Degas, Cezanne and Manet in her work, which toys with these influences and deconstructs them. One of the oldest works on the display, Yes Officer, No Officer (2008) unpicks Manet's famous avant-garde painting Olympia (1863) by replacing the reclining nude female prostitute with a black man and completely deleting the black female servant from the background. The fact that Lynette Yiadom-Boakye paints predominantly black figures has tempted many to politicise her paintings. Certainly there are some interesting political themes at play here, but visitors will also love the painting techniques and engaging characters that fill Yiadom-Boakye's work.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye art
If you are looking for a painting exhibition in London, this is for you; Yiadom-Boakye is clearly a master with colour and tone, managing to use a dark, macabre palette that never uses the same skin tone twice. She uses both raw and muted colours to quickly fill her canvases with fluid gestures that create figures who never seem to entirely materialise. She typically produces a painting in just a day, ensuring that the image is guided by a stream of consciousness rather than a pre-conceived narrative.
Dressing the figures in ambiguous clothing, framed by a painterly background, Yiadom-Boakye is able to free her characters from the restrictions of definite time, location, age, and even gender. In doing so she creates “suggestions of people…They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether”. It's a little like trying to remember a dream because Yiadom-Boakye's figures seem so familiar and yet completely undefinable. In our information-obsessed and intrusive society, there is something quite poignant about these figures in the way they withhold their personal stories. The curating of this show is also immensely sensitive, allowing the works to speak to each other with side glances and gestures that lead the viewer around the Serpentine Gallery.
Aside from her stellar array of expressive paintings, Yiadom-Boakye has ten new etchings on display and you also might want to discover her little-known writings which will be published for the exhibition.
Revel in the obscurity of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's figures at the Serpentine this summer, and delight in the unexpected richness of form and colour from this rising star.
|What||Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Serpentine Gallery|
|Where||Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Lancaster Gate (underground)|
02 Jun 15 – 13 Sep 15, Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm
|Website||Click here for more details|