Lorna Simpson (Ted Talk) Oct 2013: “ﬁrst became well known in the mid-1980s for her large-scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history, and memory. With the African-American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the ﬁgure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships, and experiences of our lives in contemporary multiracial America. She also began a project involving an archive of photographs from the 1950s, which she has been adding to by creating her own replicas of these images, posing herself to mimic the originals.”
“Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Miami Art Museum; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She had a solo exhibition at Salon94, New York, in 2008 and a solo exhibition at Obadia Galerie, Paris, in 2009. In 2010, she was the recipient of the International Center of Photography’s Inﬁnity Award in Art.”
Lorna Simpson explains her 2016 mixed media piece titled: “Enumerated,” at 12 feet tall and 9 feet wide:
It’s a detail from an advertisement I saw that was counting these nails. The first thing that came to my mind whenever I see that way of counting to five ― those four lines with a line through them ― is always a prisoner carving marks into a wall. Probably from film, or maybe Albert Camus.
Counting ― whether counting time or incidents ― that’s something we do unconsciously. When something happens over and over, or we’re waiting for something to end. When I think of Black Lives Matter and the platform they have given to families that have experienced police brutality, the mothers and sisters and wives, there is always this waiting that occurs in terms of: Will these officers be prosecuted? All those things — waiting and time and outcome, the repetition of that, is something that I feel.
The piece is conceived of as a series of five panels. As you approach it, you really don’t see that they are nails, but they just look like these strikes. The unrelenting enormity of the number and counting. I’m not trying to direct the viewer to a specific political event, but more of a conceptual space. Living in the time that we’re living in, the viewer will come to some of their own conclusions as to how they might read the work. It’s not imperative that someone understands everything that I’m saying right now.
Visit the online Brooklyn Gallery: Salon94 to view more works by Lorna Simpson!