IN the Black Fantastic is the UK’s first major exhibition celebrating the work of black artists at the Hayward Gallery, London.
The show aims to capture alternative realities surrounding racial injustice, through unexpected and imaginative elements and presents us with a fantastical way of seeing and thinking about the past and future.
Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2014. Mixed media including fabric, buttons, antique sifter, and wire. 211 x 60.5 x 67.5 cm © Nick Cave. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Mandrake Hotel Collection
Curated by British writer and journalist, Ekow Eshun, the exhibition holds together a group of artists who convert and redesign elements of folklore, myth, science fiction, spiritual traditions, pageantry and legacies of Afrofuturism.
The show also includes work from American fabric sculptor and performance artist, Nick Cave, from his 30-years-in-the making series, consisting of a group of Soundsuits.
A Soundsuit represents a second skin to hide gender, race and class. By adding to an element of disguise, it encourages viewers to observe without perception.
This year a new Soundsuit will be showcased to commemorate the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Sedrick Chisom, Medusa Wandered the Wetlands of the Capital Citadel Undisturbed by Two Confederate Drifters Preoccupied by Poisonous Vapors that Stirred in the Night Air, 2021. Oil, acrylic, spray paint, and watercolour pencil on tiled sheets of paper glued to canvas. 151.6 x 208.3 x 0.3 cm. © Sedrick Chisom. Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias, London. Photo: Mark Blower
The participating artists aim to create a multi-dimensional experience, which seeks to take the viewer into a brand-new world.
Described as somewhere between the real and the imaginary, a variety of art forms such as paintings, photography, video, sculpture, and mixed media installations are there to transport attendees into a fresh environment.
Tabita Rezaire, Ultra Wet – Recapitulation, 2017. Pyramid projection mapping installation, variable dimensions. 11:18 minutes. Ultra Wet – Recapitulation, Royal Standard, Liverpool, UK, 2018, by Rob Battersby. Courtesy of the artist and Goodman Gallery, South Africa
by Alicia Tomkinson
In the Black Fantastic is on at The Hayward Gallery from June 29 – September 18, 2022