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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly In League With The Night
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye:「與夜晚一起飛翔」

Tate Britain
24 November 2022 – 26 February 2023

Fly In League With The Night is the most extensive exhibition of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work to date, taking place in Tate Britain. The exhibition was initially presented in 2020 but was cut short due to the pandemic lockdown, nevertheless, now visitors will have a second opportunity to see this special exhibition.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, born in London in 1977 and of Ghanaian descent, is considered one of the most important figurative painters of the present day, and known for her enigmatic oil paintings of human subjects who are made up of the artist’s imagination. This exhibition brings together over 70 paintings covering two decades, from her earliest works to her most recent ones. It includes paintings such as her graduation piece from the Royal Academy Schools, First (2003); as well as later well-known works like A Passion Like No Other (2012), Amaranthine (2018) and For the Sake of Angels (2018). This time, there has been a special addition of her newest works done this year, such as A Transformation (2022) or Dangle The Keys To A Kingdom (2022), and some still with the paint wet.

All of Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings depict human characters, however, these people do not exist in real life. They come from the artist’s imagination, as well as found images from scrapbooks, magazines, photographs, and sometimes from life. Regardless, the human figures in her paintings feel very much alive and familiar, yet mysterious. In the earlier stages, Yiadom-Boakye learned to paint by working from life. But while studying at Falmouth School of Art, on the Cornish coast, she realized she was more interested in the act of painting itself.

Images, memories, literature, and music, are all sources that inspire the artist’s works. Each painting explores a different emotion, movement and pose, illustrated on a canvas. As both a painter and writer of prose and poetry, writing is central to Yiadom-Boakye’s artistic practice. These two are closely intertwined. “I write about the things I can’t paint and paint the things I can’t write about”, the artist has said. This is furthermore reflected in the titles she gives to the paintings, with no explanatory text labels, but with beautifully poetic titles, such as ‘Tie the Temptress to the Trojan’ (2016) or ‘To Improvise a Mountain’ (2018). Additionally, music plays a significant role in the artist’s practice, as she listens to music while painting, using it as inspiration or mood setter, the curator explained. The exhibition is accompanied by a Spotify playlist created by Yiadom-Boakye herself, inviting audience to listen to the music that inspired her works.

From the exhibition, we can clearly see that all the characters portrayed in her paintings are black. In the words of the artist: “Blackness has never been other to me. Therefore, I’ve never felt the need to explain its presence in the work anymore than I’ve felt the need to explain my presence in the world, however often I’m asked. […] It isn’t so much about placing black people in the canon as it is about saying that we’ve always been here, we’ve always existed, self-sufficient, outside of nightmares and imaginations, pre and post “discovery”, and in no way defined or limited by who sees us”.

What makes this exhibition even more special is the timeless quality of the characters in the paintings because the artist rarely includes anything that relates to the style, fashion or culture of a specific period of time. Yiadom-Boakye’s characters seem to exist in their own private worlds. Though they might smile or glance in our direction, they are concerned with their own space. Familiar and mysterious at the same time, these fictitious characters invite viewers to project their own interpretations and raise important questions of identity and representation. It is this uncertainty that is central to Yiadom-Boakye’s works, as it requires the viewer to use their own narratives, memories, and imagination to interpret the artist’s paintings.

LYNETTE YIADOM-BOAKYE:與夜晚一起飛翔

英國泰特美術館
2022 年 11 月 24 日至 2023 年 2 月 26 日

現在正在英國泰特美術館的「與夜晚一起飛翔」是 Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 迄今為止在英國舉辦的規模最大的展覽。該展覽最初於 2020 年舉辦,但由於疫情封鎖而被停止,儘管如此,現在觀眾將有第二次機會看到這個特別的展覽。

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye 是一名 1977 年出生於倫敦的加納裔女性藝術家,被認為是當今最重要的具像畫家之一,以其由她想像中構成的神秘人物油畫而聞名。本次展覽匯集了藝術家20年來70多幅畫作,包括她最早的作品以及最新的作品:她在皇家學院的畢業作品,《第一(2003)》,後來廣為人知的作品,如《無與倫比的激情(2012)》、《不朽(2018)》和《為天使著想(2018)》。這一次,展覽特別增加了她今年的最新作品——《變身(2022)》 和《王國的鑰匙(2022)》,有些畫布上的顏料還未乾透。

Yiadom-Boakye 的所有畫作都描繪了人物角色,然而,這些人物在現實生活中並不存在,他們均來自藝術家的想像力,以及從剪貼簿、雜誌、照片中找到的圖像,有時甚至是生活中的圖像。不管怎樣,她畫中的人物給人帶來的感覺非常鮮活,既熟悉又神秘。在Yiadom-Boakye的早期階段,她是通過生活而繪畫。但在康沃爾海岸的法爾茅斯藝術學院學習期間,她意識到自己對繪畫本身更感興趣。

照片、記憶、文學、音樂,都是藝術家創作的靈感來源。每幅畫都是對不同情感、運動和姿勢的探索。同時作為畫家、撰寫散文和詩歌的作家,寫作是 Yiadom-Boakye 藝術實踐的核心,繪畫與寫作這兩者緊密地交織在一起。 “我寫我不畫不出的東西,畫我寫不出的東西”,藝術家說。這進一步反映在她給畫作的標題上,雖然沒有解釋性的文字標籤,但帶有優美詩意的標題,如《將妖精綁在特洛伊木馬上(2016 )》,《即興創作一座山(2018 )》。此外,策展人提到,音樂在藝術家的實踐中扮演著重要的角色,因為她在繪畫時經常聽音樂,將其用作靈感或情緒調節器。展覽伴隨著 Yiadom-Boakye 自己創建的 Spotify 播放列表,邀請觀眾聆聽激發她作品靈感的音樂。

從展覽中我們可以清楚地看到,她畫中所描繪的人物都是黑人。用藝術家的話來說:“黑色對我來說從來都不是其他性的。因此,我從來沒有覺得有必要解釋它在作品中的存在,就像我覺得沒有必要解釋我在這個世界上的存在一樣,雖然我經常被問到。 […] 與其說將黑人置於正典之中,不如說我們一直在這裡,我們一直存在,自給自足,在噩夢和想像之外,在“發現”之前和之後,並且絕不由誰看到我們來定義或限制”。

使這次展覽更加特別的是畫作中人物的永恆品質,因為藝術家很少包括與特定時期的風格、時尚或文化相關的任何東西。 Yiadom-Boakye創作的角色似乎生活在他們自己的私人世界中。儘管他們可能會朝我們的方向微笑或瞥一眼,但他們只關心自己的空間。這些虛構人物既熟悉又神秘,邀請觀眾提出自己的理解,以及有關身份和象徵的重要問題。這種不確定性是 Yiadom-Boakye 作品的核心,因為它需要觀眾使用自己的敘述、記憶和想像力來解讀藝術家的畫作。

Edited x 编辑 Victoria Huang 黄婧

             

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