Friday, October 1, 2010

Yinka Shonibare @ Brooklyn Museum

In Fall of 2009, the Brooklyn Museum had an exhibit of work from Yinka Shonibare.  View the exhibit page HERE.  It's funny because his name came up in my Graduate Play Analysis class this past week, as we were discussing Efua Sutherland's play "Edufa," based on Euripedes' play "Alkestis."  Mainly he was mentioned as a reference for the clothing patterns: printed fabrics that mimic batik that the masses generally identify as African (really, the fabric is based on Indonesian batik, printed in the Netherlands, sold in markets around Europe, and were, once upon a time, bought by Africans who brought the fabric back to their homelands).  Thus derives the association.

Anyway, Shonibare's use of fabric is both comical and evocative.  Much of his work plays on dichotomies between ideas in classical art, race, absurdity, sexuality, and film.  Many of his pieces are of mannequins without heads dressed in these printed fabrics tailored into Rococo-style clothing.

Shonibare parodies Jean-Honore Fragonard's Rococo oil painting "The Swing" from 1766 with a mannequin scene.  The mannequin is to human scale.

Here he parodies Francisco de Goya's etching "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" from 1797 with photographs.  Each photograph is about 10 feet tall.

Shonibare's interpretation of "Swan Lake" the ballet, in which Odette and Odile (anti-Odette) are dancing on pointe mimicking each others' momements exactly through a giant frame representative of a mirror.

Stills from one of the projected films, which mimicks a Rococoan ball with choreographed dancing.  The difference, however, is a murder occurs.  That, and the clothing is decidedly more chromatic than found in Rococo Europe.

Other images from the exhibit, some of which are paintings:

The dude himself:
For a brief interview, click HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment