press release

Kerry James Marshall. Painting and other stuff is the most important exhibition in Europe to date of the work of the American artist (Birmingham, Alabama, 1955).

Author of an important figurative body of work, Kerry James Marshall addresses questions of identity – national, gender, but especially racial – and responds to an investigation in order to contextualise the African American experience in the current socio-political situation. While his work is evidence of what the artist calls a ‘vacuum in the image bank’, questioning existing systems of legitimation, his painting goes beyond denunciation. Technically complex and risky in the invention of new images that contribute to filling this vacuum, Marshall finds as much inspiration in popular culture – the cinema, and especially the comic – as in art.

The scope of the exhibition at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies is complemented by the artist’s vast personal collection of image cuttings that form a reservoir of references on black representation in art and wider culture. The artist’s interest in these images is evidently not just a matter of formal representation or even narrative. For Marshall, the breadth of visual media he uses also has a speculative dimension – image-making becomes a site to ask some of art’s most profound and enduring questions.

The exhibition is divided between two venues. At the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía there is a focus on historical works and paintings, while the Fundació Antoni Tàpies includes more recent works, not only in painting but also in other media such as drawing, photography, video and installation.

Curated by Nav Haq

Organised by: Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhaguen Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona