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Les arts en Afrique et dans ses diasporas : pratiques, savoirs, mobilités

Séance du 9 mars 2018, de 11h à 13h
EHESS, salle 9, 105 bd Raspail, 75006 Paris

 Steven Nelson, UCLA
« The Artist as Geographer : On Mark Bradford, Moshekwa Langa, and Julie Mehretu ».

Inspired by my 2006 essay, “Mark Bradford’s Allegorical Impulse,” this lecture investigates how each artist, as a geographer who also pays close attention to the histories of 20th-century art, plays with a mix of mediums to create monumental, fantasmic, and chaotic spaces that problematize the authority of official maps while they remap new kinds of spaces that interrogate the relationships of groups of things, peoples, and ideologies in new and, at times, uncomfortable ways. In his attention to urban geography, incorporation of the cast-off, Bradford’s work, in underscoring the co-existence of form a land informal systems, explores changing urban dynamics, relationships played out in urban space, and notions of blackness. Langa, who spent his youth under the rule of Grand Apartheid in South Africa, trades in ethnography, the historic relations of whites and blacks, and the systems of homelands in the nation state to create collaged and drawn geographies that point to the constructed nature of official South African maps. Moreover,these have led to very large-scale cities made of thread, bottles, yarn, and plastic cars that play with different systems of visual language while they proffer spaces that are impossible to negotiate. These cities also point to issues of affiliation, of belonging, both racially and sexually. Mehretu’s work, which brings together painting, drawing and architectural renderings, have a politics embedded in the mash up of the different mediums on her picture planes. In the artist’s knotty, chaotic tableaus, the three mediums simultaneously support and undo one another, and this paradoxical play provides striking analogies for the negotiation and construction of complicated subjectivities and the difficult political contexts in which we find ourselves. All of these artists’ works trade on notions of presence or absence, and call up the social and psychological dimensions of race and space.

Texte de référence : Steven Nelson, « Mark Bradford’s Allegorical Impulse » dans Mark Bradford, New York, Sikkema, Jenkins & Co, 2006, p.9-13.

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