American multimedia artist Fahamu Pecou explores contemporary notions of blackness through painting, photography, mixed media, video and performance. Pontone Gallery presents an exhibition of a selection of Pecou’s paintings and works on paper, seen for the first time in the UK.
Added to list
These arresting images are derived from wide-ranging source material taken from the iconography of hip hop, street fashion and ethnographic research. He is particularly interested in investigating and questioning the stereotypes and assumptions that surround the representation of the black, male body.
The pictures are worked up with a variety of paint, drawing media, spray paint and collaged material. The richly clothed and decorated figures are loosely rendered in a representational idiom, which owes much to the descriptive language of pop art. Pecou’s graphic draughtsmanship confidently describes his various active protagonists as they act out scenarios against a background of exuberantly applied paint and media. This is a sumptuous world of splashed and stained colour, graffiti and flamboyant costume enhanced and accessorised by clouds and scatters of glitter and diamond dust.
Fahamu Pecou’s facility with his method and materials is theatrical. The eye is caught and intrigued by an unfurling of incident: costume is put on and taken off; and roles are referenced and subverted. Some of Pecou’s cast adopt personae familiar from pop-culture cliché. Others inhabit the skins of more mysterious and subtle characters, who reach back into an African past. The ghosts of African deities float through these turbulent picture-scapes. This artist is telling us that being black is multi-layered, particularly when it comes to the various iterations of the black male. This is a unique opportunity to make a pact with the artist and experience a journey into something that hovers just beneath the surface of assumed experience.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)