Plateaus, 2014

by

Rashid Johnson

From left to right :

Omar Ba. Tempêtes de poussières à Kidal. 2013

Oil, pencil, ink, acrylic, gouache on corrugated board. 200 x 150 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

Rashid Johnson. Plateaus. 2014

Steel, lacquered paint, plants, cement, ceramics, plastic, copper, burnt wood, neons, radio equipment, shea butter, books. 579.1 x 457.2 x 457.2 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

Barthélémy Toguo. Look at me!. 2016

Watercolour, acrylic and ink on fabric. 235.5 x 209.5 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

Credit of artists whose works

are represented : © Meleko Mokgosi © Rashid Johnson © ADAGP, Paris 2017 pour l’œuvre

d'Omar Ba © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Rashid Johnson. Plateaus (detail). 2014

Steel, lacquered paint, plants, cement, ceramics, plastic, copper, burnt wood, neons, radio equipment, shea butter, books. 579.1 x 457.2 x 457.2 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Rashid Johnson © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Rashid Johnson. Plateaus (detail). 2014

Steel, lacquered paint, plants, cement, ceramics, plastic, copper, burnt wood, neons, radio equipment, shea butter, books. 579.1 x 457.2 x 457.2 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Rashid Johnson © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Rashid Johnson. Plateaus (detail). 2014

Steel, lacquered paint, plants, cement, ceramics, plastic, copper, burnt wood, neons, radio equipment, shea butter, books. 579.1 x 457.2 x 457.2 cm

Fondation Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris

© Rashid Johnson © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

A monumental work made of steel, plants and fluorescent lights, "Plateaus" deals with themes of displacement and change: how do not only plants, but human beings, adapt? What memories and forms from the past remain?

The artist has placed a set of plants of seemingly exotic origin on a grid, which is a direct reference to minimalism. Situated within the same structure are busts cast in Shea butter—a plant grown only in West Africa and used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries—that revive the memory of the Middle Passage endured by Africans who were sent to America as slaves. Also present are classics from African-American literature, like Wright’s Native Son, and hobbyist radio equipment evoking the idea of transmission and the artist’s own memories of his father, who was a radio amateur.  “Shea butter refers to skin and the impossibility of acquiring Africanness […], the books disseminate information. The goal for each of these elements is to merge into a new language that I have created. The steel frames provide the platform for this merging; they exist as unknown spaces to colonise.”

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