I was reminded of Yinka Shonibare recently, while watching a preview for the latest season of Art: 21, a fantastic PBS documentary series. (the video is posted below, for your viewing pleasure.)
I was aware of Shonibare’s work before, and seen it in person, but this video in a few short seconds, gave me new insights into his work and allowed me to appreciate it more fully. I think it’s because I wasn’t aware of his photographs or video work before, and now suddenly it all came together as a whole. I really enjoy how the installations are so performative, and the photography and video work even more so, almost hyper-real, super-performative.
I also appreciate that he is tackling issues of race, but not in dumbed down black and white (literally or figuratively), but with work that is nuanced, multi-dimensional, and asks us to explore and question (concepts like “african fabric”), instead of scolding us or telling us how to feel, usually guilty or proud depending on the color of our skin. “My figures are neither white nor black, […] it’s a device that manages to make the pieces post-racial,” he says.
[The william kentridge footage in this video was also exciting. I love the one scene where live action forward time is juxtaposed with video/recorded reverse time and there is interaction between the two. I might just have to go check out Shostakovich’s The Nose at the Metropolitan Opera when it finally arrives there in 2010.]