Looking: Wrestling with the Image

by Nicholas Laughlin on January 25, 2011

I Am Not Afraid to Fight a Perfect Stranger, by John Cox

Detail of I Am Not Afraid to Fight a Perfect Stranger, by John Cox (2009, acrylic on canvas). Image courtesy Nadia Huggins

Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions, an exhibition of contemporary Caribbean art, curated by Christopher Cozier and Tatiana Flores, opened on 21 January, 2011, at the Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC, and runs until 10 March. It includes work by thirty-six artists from twelve Caribbean countries and the international diaspora.

In his catalogue essay, Cozier writes:

I got the idea for the name of this exhibition while looking at a series of images by John Cox, with titles such as I Am Not Afraid to Fight a Perfect Stranger. We see the artist rendering himself in training, at the starting block, as a runner, as a boxer or sometimes as a wrestler. He presents himself, in various combative postures and sequences, as a contender, but with an image of himself. This entanglement or engagement of the other-self, a shadow or mirror image, is an ongoing story. Will these selves ever merge and find cohesion, or will one be split asunder in the search for “true” self-consciousness and awareness? The Caribbean artist is always in competition with a long history of expedient labelling of their world and their very selves — externally and also internally.

You can download the exhibition’s e-catalogue here, and a review of Wrestling with the Image will appear in the CRB in the coming weeks.

Installation shot of Cape Town, by Sheena Rose

Gallery visitor looking at Cape Town, by Sheena Rose (2010, digital video). Image courtesy Nadia Huggins

Kbi Wi Kani, by Marcel Pinas

Detail of Fragment Kbi Wi Kani, by Marcel Pinas (2007, bottles and cloth). Image courtesy Nadia Huggins

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