For his first solo show in France, Theaster Gates has initiated a new project, pursuing the exploration of social histories of migration and inter-racial relations. He thus deals more exactly with questions of black subjugation and the resulting imperial sexual domination and racial mixing, while concentrating on an episode in American history. These themes allow Gates to explore new cinematographic, sculptural and musical futures while examining the history of land ownership and race relations in North Eastern, United States.
The starting point of this exhibition, entitled “Amalgam”, is the story of Malaga Island, a small isle in the state of Maine, in the USA: In 1912, the governor of the state of Maine had all of its inhabitants expelled. This poor population, made up of an interracial, mixed community of about 45 people, considered to be “indolent” by many of the local inhabitants, was forced to spread out through the region, some of them even being condemned to psychiatric institutions.
The term “Amalgam”, which currently seems outdated in English-speaking culture, was used to describe a racial, ethnic and religious mingling. It has acquired for Theaster Gates a “loaded” significance, calling for a new series of works made up of videos, sculptures and architectural gestures, thus clearly committing his practice towards new formal and conceptual explorations.
Curator: Katell Jaffrès