Saturday 18 October 2014

Interview with Glenn Ligon

Glenn Ligon: Call and Response
Camden Arts Centre
10 October 2014 – 11 January 2015

Glenn Ligon (b1960) is famed for his thought-provoking works which combine text, silkscreen painting, neon and video and explore themes of identity, racism, sexuality and civil rights.

His first solo exhibition in the UK, now on show at the Camden Arts Centre, presents new works based on the plight of the Harlem Six and using footage of the comedian Richard Pryor.

A new series of enormous black and white silkscreen paintings are based on composer Steve Reich’s taped-speech work, using the recorded voice of Daniel Hamm, one of the Harlem Six, describing how he had to puncture one of his bruises to prove to the police he had been beaten. Layered up so as to obscure the text, creating a rhythm that recalls Reich’s musical piece, the works dominate the large gallery at the Camden Arts Centre.
A new neon piece takes from the same source material and demonstrates Ligon’s technique of creating ‘black’ neon.

Finally, a seven-screen video installation uses footage from the comedian Richard Pryor’s stand up show, Live on the Sunset Strip, from 1982. Removing the sound, Ligon forces viewers to observe Pryor’s lively and exaggerated body language, exploring an alternative means of communication and self-expression.

Ligon spoke to Studio International before the opening of his exhibition.

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