Screenprint on Somerset Velvet White 300gsm
59.4 x 42 cm
Edition of 25, signed and numbered
About the work
To accompany the exhibition, Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: The Unseen Selected by Hurvin Anderson, 20 May – 7 August 2022, Hurvin Anderson has created two special silkscreen prints especially for Whitechapel Gallery.
Drawing on the American writer Ralph Ellison’s celebrated novel Invisible Man (1952) as a source of inspiration for both the show and the edition, the work references the narrator's almost hallucinatory fantasy involving Louis Armstrong’s performance of “(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue” on multiple gramophones simultaneously and the resulting permeation of the vibrations. With the song itself a well-known protest at racial injustice, Anderson’s subject matter for the work is situated within the artist’s ongoing exploration of experience and identity.
Anderson approached the print much like illustration, making numerous preparatory drawing to capture of the filmic qualities within Ellison’s text. The editions, depict the same image, printed in two black and blue colour variants. While the colours of the work were suggested by the song title, the variation occurred as a result of the creative print making process. Much like a painting, the making, remaking and variations that evolved opened up the potential for possibilities and offer a nod to the improvisation of jazz.
About the artist
Hurvin Anderson (b.1965, Birmingham) lives and works between London and Cambridgeshire. His paintings explore spaces occupied by Caribbean immigrants, such as public parks, gardens, barbershops and domestic interiors, which function as sites for both social gathering and economic enterprise. These settings represent the artist’s personal and cultural memories of functional spaces and shared experiences of the Caribbean. Born in Birmingham, United Kingdom, to parents of Jamaican descent, Anderson studied at the Wimbledon School of Art followed by the Royal College of Art, where he explored the relevance of figuration in a world dominated by abstraction and Conceptual art. Since then, he has pursued both landscape and abstract painting, exploring his own relationships to place by recalling social history and memory.
Anderson has exhibited at the Arts Club, Chicago (2021), Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2021); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2016); Nottingham Arts Centre, Nottingham (2016); Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis (2015); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013); Tate Modern London (2009); and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2009). He has participated in group exhibitions at, among others, the Tate Britain (2021); Perez Art Museum, Miami (2015); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2013); David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen (2011); and Saatchi Gallery, London (2010). He is currently participating in British Art Show 9 and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2017.
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