Zak Ové, Umbilical Progenitor, 2018
The Stephen Friedman Gallery is currently hosting a very strong show of artworks inspired by Africa and its cultural output. Talisman in the Age of Difference is curated by Yinka Shonibare and features artists as diverse as The Chapman Brothers, Marlene Dumas, Romare Bearden, and Bill Traylor, creating artworks in a diverse variety of materials.
"A talisman is thought to possess transformative energy as with a lucky charm, fetish, amulet, mascot, totem, idol or juju. The featured artists transform perception and materials into a form of talisman, a manifestation of protest and difference.
The civil rights movement and identity politics are explored by a number of artists here. Others pursue an alternative path in their shared search for originality, spirituality and the sublime... Like Shonibare, all of these artists value art as a talisman: a vehicle for change. At the heart of the exhibition, Shonibare is asking, ‘Can political art truly convey the power of its subject? Can art that is unconventionally beautiful be a form of resistance?’ ‘Talisman in the Age of Difference’ seeks to answer these questions." - Stephen Friedman Gallery.
Zak Ové, Umbilical Progenitor, 2018
I have long admired Whitfield Lovell's drawn assemblages and was really happy to get the chance to see them first-hand at last in London through this exhibition.
Whitfield Lovell, Kin XXIII (Dance or Die), 2008
Whitfield Lovell, Kin XXXIV (Deep Blue Sea), 2008
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Sam in Mother's Factory, 2017
She Was Afraid of Heights, But She Was Much More Afraid of Never Flying, 2018, a sculpture by Genevieve Gaignard naturally brings to mind the imagery and literature of Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.
Deborah Roberts, Baldwin's Promise, #4, 2018
Deborah Roberts, Present Tense, 2018
Deborah Roberts, Silent Protest, 2018
The work of artist Deborah Roberts was a new discovery for me in this exhibition. These very graphic collages were wonderful, conjuring the spirit of Hannah Höch as they question ideals of beauty in those who look different from yourself, especially black girls.
Marlene Dumas, Alfa, 2004
Romare Bearden, Spring Way, c. 1968
Again as with Whitfield Lovell, this exhibition gives us a chance to experience the work of African American collage master Romare Bearden first-hand, and a Jacob Lawrence gouache too.
Romare Bearden, Black History, c. 1979
Romare Bearden, Morning Train To Durham, 1981
Jacob Lawrence, Builders - Green Hills, 1998
Blue Rose, 2007, Wangechi Mutu's superb textural collage.
Michael Armitage, Giraffe grows a Doum Palm, 2014
Rise and Shine (Her Moment in Time), 2018, another intriguing sculpture by Genevieve Gaignard
Ghada Amer, SINDY IN PINK-RFGA, 2015, and PORTRAIT OF A GIRL IN WHITE-RFGA, 2014
Thomas J Price, Untitled (Icon 5), 2017
Thomas J Price, Untitled (Icon 1), 2017
Thomas J Price, Untitled (Icon 2), 2017
Zanele Muholi, Yaya Mavundla, Parktown, Johannesburg, 2014
Derrick Adams, Figures in the Urban Landscape13, 2018
Kehinde Wiley, Madame Rimsky-Korsakov, 2018
Abe Odedina, Love Letter, 2018
Hassan Hajjaj, African Boy Sittin', 2013
Sonia Boyce, She Ain't Holding Them Up, She's Holding On (Some English Rose), 1986
Jeremiah Quarshie, Queens no.2, 2018
Mickalene Thomas, Jet Blue #1, 2018
The exhibition continues across the street in Gallery Two.
The Chapman Brothers, CFC72540310, 2002
The Chapman Brothers, CFC72337192, 2002
Kendell Geers, Talismanik Register XXXV, 2018
Chapman Brothers, CFC76372567, 2002
The Chapman Brothers mischievous interventions questioning globalisation and cultural diversity and appropriation.
I have been an admirer of Abdoulaye Konaté's large, colourful textiles since first encountering them here.
Otobong Nkanga's The Leftovers, 2017 textile hanging.
Hew Locke - Mummy's Little Soldier, 2013
David Hammons, Untitled, 1985
Betty Saar, Liberate, 2015
I really enjoyed Betty Saar's interventions on everyday objects to deliver powerful messages.
We Was Mostly 'Bout Survival (Ironing), 1997
Fantastic art brut from Bill Traylor. Untitled (Woman with umbrella), c. 1939-42
Bill Traylor, Untitled (Figures on House), c. 1939-1942
Melvyn Edwards, Alteration, 2002
I really enjoyed this survey of artists who have a link to Africa albeit through birth, ancestral legacy, or appropriation of traditional African artefacts in their own artworks to question Western ideologies. A similar expanded exhibition on a larger scale and venue would be wonderful. Yinka Shonibare and the team at Stephen Friedman have done a great job here.
Portia Zvavahera, Zvakandivinga Muchadenga (Air Spirit Bird), 2017
until 21st July
Stephen Friedman Gallery
25-28 Old Burlington Street