past

cover-01-057b96d6101d94dc000b47a92c99325d cover-02-5f258c3d5ec566ba984434a163b68417 cover-03-7d151c5b52ac31f92ba6d14cf2970fa9 cover-04-8c93cf231b3b8d758cc2861c028bdcc7 cover-05-12bdad359af9e058abab168cf867e41c cover-06-bed751849cd5140622d88c368d0d6542 cover-07-c97714e72921150c6b69064c776cbf6c cover-08-756b3c585439ec3830c5703566ee12ce
cover-01-8acfeefaa2164bf9b7f9b0cfd611b14d cover-02-c53c057ef5f90cebffa36c8bb15c17ab cover-03-d86d9e11925bc17bf40ba91c25adc89e cover-04-b565af5e30aa84a9807cce2d4baaeb27 cover-05-886c1720b85f69e159994abf8c192361 cover-06-b6d5e06e980088b387cc80545fbcad3c cover-07-17f4c353d3667cf98033b1d220e80893 cover-08-7d49a1f902c71ca4a59bcb1502bc8c88

Rashid Johnson

Magic Numbers

The George Economou Collection Space

20 JUN. —
28 AUG. 2014

GREECE
Press Release
EN GR

The George Economou Collection is pleased to present Magic Numbers, a solo exhibition by American artist Rashid Johnson (b. Chicago, 1977). Curated by the artist in collaboration with Katherine Brinson associate curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York and Skarlet Smatana, director of the Economou Collection, the exhibition features a site-specific installation of works largely conceived on the occasion of the exhibition.

Presenting a suite of works largely comprised of site-specific commissions, this exhibition foregrounds the singular symbolic language of American artist Rashid Johnson, immersing visitors in a visual cosmology that ricochets between diverse cultural allusions and formal traditions. The installation opens with a constellation of works forged from Johnson’s signature vocabulary of materials suffused with personal and historical resonances. Covering the back wall of the gallery is the largest example to date of one of his characteristic shelf assemblages of found objects charged with talismanic meaning. This monumental work is paired with a black monochrome composition from the artist’s Cosmic Slop series and an enigmatic sculpture that draws on the forms of Brazilian modernist furniture to create a vessel for an undulating topography of shea butter – the dense, emollient fat derived from a nut indigenous to Africa that is prized for its healing properties.

At the heart of the exhibition is a gallery devoted to The New Black Yoga (2011), a short film that depicts a group of five young African-American men performing a series of choreographed movements that are in turn balletic, athletic, and martial. Originating in the artist’s absurd experience of attempting to participate in a yoga class conducted in a foreign language, the work broadens into a disorientating collision of codes and signifiers, expanding on Johnson’s pervasive interest in constructing fictive fraternal collectives and ambiguous rituals. The video begins and ends with the image of a gun’s crosshairs – a symbol appropriated from the logo of hip-hop group Public Enemy, which here takes on a more oblique, runic connotation.

The crosshairs icon resurfaces in the final gallery, where Johnson’s sculpture Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (2012) functions as both a stark portent of aggression and a serene study in geometric forms. It is installed with a group of abstract compositions that deploy layers of burned wood, cast bronze, and a special mixture of black soap and wax as expressive surfaces for the artist’s additive and subtractive mark-making. Together, the works in the exhibition channel Johnson’s current preoccupation with notions of hybridity and metamorphosis, cohering into an immersive environment freighted with narrative possibilities.