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Reception: Friday, April 13th from 5-8pm

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Paul Mpagi Sepuya (b. 1982, San Bernardino, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, where he received an MFA in photography at UCLA in 2016. From 2000 – 2014 Sepuya resided in New York City, receiving a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2004 and participating in Artist-in-Residence programs at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Fire Island Artist Residency.

Sepuya’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the International Center for Photography, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum, among others. Recent solo exhibitions include “Dark Room” at team (bungalow), Los Angeles and “Figures, Grounds and Studies” at Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York City, and group shows at the New Museum, Callicoon Fine Arts and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., in New York City. His work is featured in“Being : New Photography 2018” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, through August.


Sepuya’s work has been covered in ARTFORUM, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Art Review, Frieze, Art in America, The Nation, and he is a recipient of the 2017 Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s grant for Los Angeles artists.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya Darkroom Mirror Study (OX5A1531), 2018 Archival pigment print, 34x51

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Figure (_2100597), 2017 Archival pigment print 24x32

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study for Joe (_2010964), 2017 Archival pigment print 24x32 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study (0X5A6568), 2017, Archival pigment print, 34x51 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study (0X5A0486), 2017, Archival pigment print 34x51 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya Darkroom Mirror (_2100135), archival pigment print, 24x32 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Dark Room Mirror (_2060999), 2017, archival pigment print, 20x24 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study (0X5A1237), 2017, archival pigment print, 34x51 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, A Ground (0X5A1495), 2018, archival pigment print, 34x51 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya Mirror study for Joe (_2010980), 2017 Archival pigment print 34 x 45 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Study Reflecting Dureau (0X5A1227), 2017 Archival pigment print 34x51

Paul Mpagi Sepuya Figure (_202078), 2018, archival pigment print 24x32 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Black Mirror Study (_2110109), 2018, archival pigment print, 24x32 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Darkroom Mirror Study (0X5A1519), 2018, archival pigment print, 20x24 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Untitled (black figure), 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 33 x 22 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 33 x 22 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror Study, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 20 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Dark Room (_2010616), 2017, archival pigment print 20x24 Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mirror study, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 34 x 51 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Draping, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 20 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, A sitting for Matthew, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 51 x 34 in, Edition of 5

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Figure / ground study, 2016 Archival Pigment Print, 20 x 24 in, Edition of 5

Studio, March 2 (part 2), 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 18 in. Edition 1/5

Desktop, March 6, 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 18 in. Edition 1/5

Studio, March 2 (part 1), 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 24 x 18 in. Edition 1/5

Erik, April 1. 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 48 x 36 in. Edition 1/3

Study for T.H. with Five Figures, 2013 - 05 (0702), 2015 Archival Pigment Print, 80 x 60 in. Edition of 5

Micah, Chicago, March 27, 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 24 in. Edition of 3

Studio, March 12, 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 24 in. Edition of 3

Marques, April, 2013 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 24 in. Edition of 3

Mirror Study, December 10, 2014 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 24 in. Edition of 3

Study for D. with Four Figures (March 8), 2015 Archival Pigment Print, 30 x 24 in. Edition 2/3

Study for D.A. with Three Figures (0905), 2015 Archival pigment print, 48 x 38 in. Edition 1/3

Study for Roses at night, for K., 2006 - 15, 2015 Archival Pigment Print, 48 x 36 in. Edition 2/5

JULIEN CREUZET: AFTER THE STORM

Frieze Magazine

April 2018


Bétonsalon & Fondation d’enterprise Ricard, Paris, France

Native to the islands of the Caribbean, the manchineel tree is known in the West by the name the conquistadors gave it. The manzanilla de la muerte – little apple of death – grows along the shore, its fragrant yet toxic green fruit tempting sailors newly arrived from the high seas.

The treacherousness of manchineels is evoked in the haunting, beautiful title of Julien Creuzet’s exhibition at Fondation d’entreprise Ricard: ‘All that sea distance, for the oil filaments of the manchineel to stop our heartbeats. – The rain made that possible (…)’ The other part of this dual show runs at Bétonsalon under a different title, extracted from the same poem, written by the artist. The Bétonsalon title begins ‘The rain made that possible’ and ends ‘All that sea distance’, such that the two follow one another in an endless cycle, like waves lapping upon the shore.

Julien Creuzet, 'La pluie a rendu cela possible' (The rain made this possible), 2018, exhibition view 

Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

The sea – what it brings and what it takes; what its distance separates and its depths conceal – is central to these exhibitions. The artist himself grew up in Martinique – which is to say that his identity, in part, has been defined by the great in-betweeness of the water, the outre-mer that separates France from its overseas administrative territories.

Each show is a constellation of objects that might have been deposited by a storm tide. Creuzet has previously referred to his whole-show installations as ‘archipelagos’, borrowing Edouard Glissant’s vocabulary of ‘mondiality’ – the influential Martiniquais philosopher’s notion of a global community that preserves diversity and difference. Clumped mattings of natural and synthetic materials are circled with threads that evoke both fishing nets and the paralysing tentacles of the Portuguese man o’war. (Named for the armed galleons whose wind-inflated sails their floating polyps resemble, the transparent tentacles of these colonies of organisms can extend for up to 50 metres underwater. They offer an apt metaphor for the insidious residues of European imperialism.) A nacreous shell balances on a slice of Nike shoe; a sponge, air-dried and desiccated, nestles next to a row of aeroplane seats that seem to have landed sideways from the sky on a new crossing of an old journey.

At Bétonsalon, Chinese-made plastic mats, woven with African patterns, fray like the tops of mangled sugarcane or grasses in the sand-dunes – overlayingcontemporary and historical trade networks, and the circulation of cultural signifiers in a hyper-connected world. Plastics, products of the petrochemicals industry that defines the global economy even as it threatens to destroy it, are conspicuously present here – although, as with the grassy mats and the green plastic beads scattered on the floor like sand-grains, they often evoke natural forms. Ecological questions are complexly layered with social ones.

Julien Creuzet, 'La pluie a rendu cela possible' (The rain made this possible), 2018, exhibition view 

Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

More than archipelagos, to me these exhibitions feel like mangroves: their trees evoked by the wrapped, vertical, twig-like forms suspended from the ceilings at both venues. They are filled with the mysteries and shadows that this edge-of-water zone holds in the Caribbean imaginary. Two ghostly, prone anthropomorphic figures, both black – a flattened silhouette at Bétonsalon and a mesh-wrapped baby with a face resembling an African mask at Fondation Ricard – recall the horrors of the middle passage, as well as more recent European tragedies of migration.

Both spaces resonate with the sound of the artist’s voice, as he incants songs drawn from the title poem. At Bétonsalon, a refrain repeats over a sparse melody: ‘Il faut refaire le tour […] il faut refaire le temps’. Creuzet, who often uses poetry and music in his work, is at his most mesmeric here, taking his words off the page and making them felt, physical. ‘We need to go back […] we need to remake time’: for all the violence and difficulty of his themes, I get the sense that Creuzet’s worldview, like Glissant’s, is generous, perhaps even hopeful. Maybe, in the thickets of the mangrove, there is a way forward together.

Main image: Julien Creuzet, ‘La pluie a rendu cela possible’ (The rain made this possible), 2018, installation view, Bétonsalon, Paris

Amy Sherlock is deputy editor of frieze and is based in London.

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
General Inquiries
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Tuesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.