'Deep down, I feel like something': Arthur Jaff, artist searching for an African American identity

‘Deep down, I feel like something’: Arthur Jaff, artist searching for an African American identity

Arthur Jaffa, on April 13, 2022, in front of one of his works,

We thought we were talking to a guy, really. The proud ’60s, the spirited look, the face surrounded by short braids, the deliberate lyrical flow. “Human, male, black, yes of course,” He assured us when we met him in Arles at the Loma Foundation. Then come these pesky words his accent carries from the southern United States: “Deep down, I feel like something,” Confirms. Provocation, discredit? The thought of Arthur Java (pronounced “jai fah”) is too complex to be very easy. One thing really?

The film “AJ”, highly respected in the world of cinema, as it is known, is far from the definition. After he was the director of filming for the movie Dust GirlsAnd the By Julie Dash, for which she won Best Photography at the Sundance Festival in 1991, then an award Crooklyn Written by Spike Lee in 1994 This is the 60-year-old celebrated in museums around the world: a symbol of the generation of African Americans who grew up with the Black Lives Matter movement.

punches

It chimes with the flow of Kanye West and him light beam, his video Love is the message, the message is death (2016) presents himself as the crystallization of their anger. His exhibition in Arles, his first retrospective in France, is one of those punches that leave you speechless. Sculptures and videos tantalize the mind and senses, authoring a fascinating journey into the images and thought of black America. But he warns, I try to make more interesting works of simple political statements, open to interpretation. I like open-ended business, because black identity is an open-end”.

“The police have a physical part, the part that we see and that enters into the three dimensions of our being; but they also have a metaphysical part: they are a gate.” Arthur Jaff

One thing, always? To help us understand the idea, the visual artist takes us into this somewhat secret room, in the heart of Loma’s barn. Harboring things from which he did not obtain paternity. On a pedestal, three mysterious silhouettes of animals appear: a quadrupedal with a bump, with rough lines. It appears to be carved out of clay. ‘Dirt, blood, pig’s filth’, says the artist. These are bolis from Mali: Bambara ritual objects endowed with magical powers, according to the beliefs of this people.

“I’m obsessed with these things, He says. The first time I saw them was in a New York showroom in 1998. As soon as I walked in, they had an incredible effect on me. I went back to see the exhibition six times, because I wanted to understand whether on the first visit I was in a certain mood that would explain my feelings.. » But each time, these sculptures affected him deeply. “They just don’t have an effect on the psyche, no!” They have real strength, like a piece of uranium,” Confirms. Make it the nuclear heart of his exhibition. Arthur Java is convinced of this, “The polis have a physical part, the part that we see and that enters into the three dimensions of our being; but they also have a metaphysical part: they are a gateway. Like icebergs, the most important thing is beneath the surface.”

You have 60.17% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

#Deep #feel #Arthur #Jaff #artist #searching #African #American #identity

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.