Text by Richard Baird.
“I often think about what white fun looks like and this notion that Black people can’t have the same. Growing up with Tumblr I would often come across images of sensual, young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun – the kind of stuff Larry Clark and Ryan McGinley would make. I seldom saw the same for Black people in images – or at least in the photography I knew. My work comes from a place of wanting to push back against this lack. I feel an urgency to create a body of images where Black people are visualized as free, expressive, effortless, and sensitive.
I aim to visualize what a Black utopia looks like or could look like. People say utopia is never achievable but I love photography’s possibility of allowing me to dream and make that dream become very real.
In my work I use the tools of documentary reportage, portraiture, fashion photography, art photography, and filmmaking. I view fashion as a space and opportunity to have clothes enhance my message about the Black body. I make very little distinction between my commissioned and my personal works, using them both as an opportunity to create this utopian universe – whether that’s photographing Beyoncé, Spike Lee, skaters in Cuba, or my very close friends.
Documented and real, or fictitious and staged, my images are characterized by an interest in purity and intimacy. In them, models recline, embrace each other closely and peer into the lens, leaving evidence of a public display of affirmation in Blackness and a unifying visual text of hope. I also occasionally weave symbols into my portraits such as water guns and plastic resin chains – symbols of repression as a subtle reminder of the ways in which the Black body is still politicized, and sometimes unable to move through the real world as freely as I would like.
I Can Make You Feel Good is simply a declaration. And one that I feel is gut punching in its optimism. It feels important at a time like this to declare such a thing.” — Tyler Mitchell
Text by Richard Baird.
The White Rabbit Collection is a contemporary arts publication showcasing the work of 99 artists drawn from the White Rabbit, a contemporary art museum, gallery and archive in Sydney. The museum has become one of the world’s most significant collections of Chinese contemporary art, with over 2000 works from 700 artists. Through this new publication, designed by Australia design studio Toko and commissioned by Judith Neilson, the museum seeks to represent the breadth and depth of its collection.
Inspired by the Little Red Book (Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung) the publication is marked by a bright red clamshell box with a unique typographical gesture, and three books of 33 artists each with its own unique cover art. Together, box and books form a print run of 2475 individual variations, with each boxset being a unique piece and a invitation to discover the social and artistic changes of twenty-first century China.
Text by Richard Baird.
Erik Berglin is Stockholm-based contemporary artist. His work is flows from his understanding that some people find the art gallery uninviting and uncomfortable, and the artworks displayed as requiring insight to really appreciate. He himself has said that he dislikes 90% of the exhibitions he visits but adores the 10%. This clearly informs his work, which often brings the unexpected into the urban space or uses modern technologies to subvert the familiar. There is a beauty and playfulness to his work, an appealing aesthetic, but also an idea, an aha moment, for those that want to look deeper.
Beauty and the unexpected are central to Berglin’s The Bird Project. Over the last twelve years, having studied birds from antique books by the likes of J.J Audubon, the artist scanned pages from ornithology resources found in antiquarian bookshops and libraries and printed birds out at their actual size. He spent time with a scalpel and scissors carefully cutting these out and then wheat-pasted them in urban contexts around the world, documenting these as he went. From start to finish, a total of 4982 birds were wheat-pasted in twelve cities over five continents. These have been brought together in a new book, ‘The Bird Project 2006-2017’ designed by Lundgren+Lindqvist and published by ll’Editions. This is a 208 page hard back book 207×280mm in size. It features 101 plates printed using a process that substituted regular CMYK colours of the offset printing process with fluorescent alternatives. The book is also available as a special edition of 30 copies, which were divided into three sets of ten books. Each is presented in fluorescent acrylic glass slipcase with an inkjet print, signed and numbered by the artist.