Mickalene Thomas: Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Beyond the Pleasure Principle is a solo exhibition by the contemporary African-American visual artist Mickalene Thomas, which is the final chapter of a multi-part exhibition, which will unfold in four international cities in the fall of 2021, showcasing new interrelated works, including paintings and collage installations and videos.

In the past 20 years, the artist has cultivated the unique vocabulary of black eroticism, black sexuality and black queer aesthetics in her multidisciplinary practice. With the successive premieres of Beyond the Pleasure Principle showcased in various places, she started to draw attention to the central research of her art in form, space and philosophy: the power of black and the desire for women and their presence, imprint and heritage in the global avant-garde visual culture.

In the Hong Kong exhibition, she exhibited for the first time 6 new mixed media paintings in her Tête de Femme series, a sophisticated contemporary interpretation of Cubism themes and Pop Art’s sensitivity to technique to reflect more great cultural significance. Her most abstract series, these vibrant paintings use formal techniques developed by Pablo Picasso and George Braque, fragmented and multi-perspective images, and the aesthetic qualities of a magazine cover model. These paintings represent the black female amulet created by the artist to fill the serious failure of modern cultural narrative. The depiction of black and femininity has become the main touchstone for many, and black women have almost been omitted from art history due to art historians, finally, T.J. Clark described black women as "blindness" in terms of institutions and academics.

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