Agnes Poitevin-Navarre is showing her seminal piece ‘Colour Coding Julien & Jasper – The Age of Innocence’ as part of the show ‘From Taboo to Icon’ at the Ice Box Project Space, Crane Arts in Philadelphia from Thursday 10th January until Sunday 10th February 2008.
You are cordially invited to private view/artist talk on Friday 1st February, from 6 until 9pm, that will coincide with the First Friday cultural event.
A more low key opening is also scheduled tomorrow, Thursday 10th January from 6-8pm.
“Colour Coding Julien & Jasper – The Age of Innocence” [two colour prints on Kodak paper, 2003-07, 1m x 0.8m]
"In these colour prints, the artist Agnes Poitevin-Navarre maps out the variations of black and white tones on two toddlers’ faces, labelling them with food terminology. In French, the mother tongue of the artist, a person of mixed black and white racial heritage is defined amongst other things as café au lait, literally coffee with milk or white coffee.
The pleasure derived from tasting, smelling, touching, looking, is lingering in the child's tongue where knowledge is swallowed, ingested, repeated. Racial categorisation doesn't yet hinder the toddler's world. The mastication of language is pivotal to ascribe a definition to the concept of the exotic and the vernacular embodied by mixed race people.
This sense of in-between-ness is a post-colonial taboo that the artist addresses through the symbolism of the land, food and language as markers of one’s identity and sense of belonging.
By outlining and labelling the various tones of pigmentation, the artist highlights the complexities of racial combination, the Theorem of the Epidermis. She poeticizes and resists the metalanguage of race, a notion that EB Higginbotham defines as “the norms in society that become not only accepted but also expected”.
Hence she playfully speculates on the terminology the next generation will be using to define their identity."
Wednesday, 9 January 2008
Posted by HOBAC at 15:03