Glenn Ligon, “Going There”
D’Amelio Terras, New York
November 8 – December 23, 2003
D’Amelio Terras is pleased to present Going There, our second solo exhibition with New York artist Glenn Ligon. The exhibition will contain new work: his first video, a two-screen projection; a childhood drawing in the first stage of being conserved; a set of prints; and a previously lost, never-before-exhibited painting. These works resonate with the themes of subjectivity that Ligon has explored in his black-and-white text paintings and in “Coloring,” the recent body of work focused on Afro-centric coloring books, yet the works are also a departure, as Ligon devises new formal and conceptual methods to query familiar issues.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is “The Orange and Blue Feelings,” an hour-long video depicting several therapy sessions in which the artist discusses a painting from the “Coloring” series that was lost in transit to a museum. Over a soundtrack of the artist and his therapist talking, one screen explores the immediate environment of the session while the other focuses on the therapist’s body and gestures. In this work Ligon explores the parallels between therapeutic and artistic processes. He is also concerned with how the presentation of self is mediated through the patient/therapist dialogue and selective recollection.
In other artworks, Ligon delves into questions of temporality, memory and history. The first is a drawing of a plant made by the artist at age 10 that is being presented in the first stages of its ongoing conservation. The second is the lost Malcolm X painting that was the catalyst for the video project. It is based on a child’s drawing done in an Afro-centric coloring book that the artist then repainted on a large canvas. The work is being exhibited for the first time. The third is a set of silkscreen prints on handmade paper with text from grade school evaluations. While disparate in form, the works in this exhibition are unified by their inquiry into the representation of memories and a concern with what the past may or may not tell us about the present.