Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art is a group exhibition bringing together an international collection of artists who have disrupted or extended the traditional presentation of still lifes. The artists have appropriated the genre in order to create works within a framework of Black diasporic identities, histories, and collective experiences. Their works are expressed through various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and installation. Many of the artists are primarily known for portraiture, making these still lifes compelling outliers in their practices. A central discourse in this exhibition considers Blackness in relation to the existential question, “How does an artist create work about the body without the body being present?” resulting in political, historical, and art historical interventions. Elegies is a thematic exhibition that presents two parallel narratives: one is an art historical examination of still lifes, and the other is how that history is connected to Black figuration.
Elegies presents the work of 16 contemporary artists, listed below.
Sadie Barnette, LaKela Brown, Elizabeth Colomba, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, David Antonio Cruz, Awol Erizku, Leslie Hewitt, Yashua Klos, Deana Lawson, Azikiwe Mohammed, Rashaad Newsome, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Devan Shimoyama, William Villalongo, Brittney Leeanne Williams
This exhibition is organized by Monique Long, independent curator, with Elena Gross, former director of exhibitions and curatorial affairs, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco. The presentation at Telfair Museums was designed in collaboration with Erin Dunn, curator of modern and contemporary art.