Under – Song for a Cipher

Under – Song for a Cipher

From May 3 to September 3, 2017, New Museum, New York will present Under – Song for a Cipher by Ghanaian artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. This exhibition brings together a selection of works by the artist, a 2013 Turner Prize finalist and one of the most renowned painters of her generation.

Yiadom-Boakye’s lush oil paintings embrace many of the conventions of historical European portraiture, but expand on that tradition by engaging fictional subjects who often serve as protagonists of the artist’s short stories as well. These imagined figures are almost always black, an attribute she sees as both political and autobiographical, given her own West African heritage. Often immersed in indistinct, monochrome settings, Yiadom-Boakye’s elegant characters come to life through her bold brushwork, appearing both cavalier and nonchalant, quotidian and otherworldly. In part because they inhabit neutral spaces, her subjects’ idle, private moments provoke the imagination of viewers and remain open to a range of narratives, memories, and interpretations.

Natalie Bell will curate this exhibition with assistant curator, Massimiliano Gioni, artistic director Edlis Neeson and accompanied by a fully illustrated publication.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, born 1977 in London, UK, is a figurative painter whose oil paintings focus on figures that exist outside of a specific time and place. She has featured in several exhibitions including The Ungovernables at the second New Museum Triennial (2012); The Encyclopedic Palace at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); Extracts and Verses, Chisenhale Gallery, London (2013); Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015); Capsule 03: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2015); Serpentine Gallery, London (2015); Verses After Dusk, British Art Show 8 (2015 – 2017); and A Passion To A Principle, Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2016 – 2017).


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