Study in Black Modernity
The installation includes a series of publications from key figures within what Kensmil calls Black Modernity. These books are accompanied by a series of drawings, large and small, which reflect on the historic position of the back subject within emancipatory politics, art history, hiphop and the anti racist and Black Lives Matter protests which have recently gained increasing visibility and traction. For Kensmil her style of painting and use of portraiture has a specific function. By bringing them into the European art museum she gives Black individuals, who have had a formative historic role, their place in art history.
Study in Black Modernity was commissioned as part of Becoming More, a ten-day caucus event comprising lectures, performances, screenings, commissions, discussions and food hosted by the Van Abbemuseum. Kensmil has been invited along with other artists to develop and co-author the caucus. Drawing on previously neglected histories and generating new work with promising artists in the Netherlands stimulates the Van Abbe to take part in a broader dialogue as a catalyst for change. In this context Iris Kensmil has convened the programme “On experiences and Choices” on 18th and 19th of May.1 May 2017