Glenn Ligon

The solo exhibition of the American conceptual artist Glenn Ligon showcases a continuation of his "Stranger" paintings, a new series of abstract paintings titled "Static", and a series of untitled drawings on Kozo paper. The works all excerpted from James Baldwin's landmark essay "Stranger in the Village" (1953), exemplify the artist's radical use of text to explore the politics of culture and identity.

In the "Stranger" series, the artist used oil sticks to imprint words on canvas to form reliefs composed of sentences. As the stencil is moved across the canvas, remnants of the oil stick and smears of previous words leave marks on the canvas, obscuring some of the text. And in the new "Static" range, he sees building on this technology but with a more abstract purpose. Like his "Stranger" painting, using stencils to excerpt Baldwin's text, however, he used a white oil stick on a white plaster ground and then rubbed a black oil stick over the raised shapes. In applying paint to the overlapping layers of letters, the artist creates varying degrees of abstraction and emphasizes their illegibility.

Likewise, in his untitled works on paper pushing the limits of abstraction by employing traditional rubbing techniques. Kozo paper is placed over it and carbon and graphite are rubbed to transfer the blurred text from canvas to paper. Spontaneously emerging forms build on the concept of "improvisational abstraction", which is at the core of the artist's practice, exploring the tension between chance and intention, consciousness and subconsciousness, which is a reflecting on "the things that can and cannot be said, or the things that are difficult to say, or the things that remain opaque despite our willingness to clarify and explain."

Glenn Ligon
Date: 25 Mar – 11 May 2024
Gallery: Hauser & Wirth
Address: G/F, 8 Queen's Road Central, Central, Hong Kong

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