Apr 6 – Sep 4, 2023
ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art), Boston
Simone Leigh (1967, Chicago) represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2022. The works shown at the Biennale are on display at the ICA in Boston providing an overview of the artist’s output in ceramic, bronze, and video.
His art speaks of decolonization, participation, social innovation, immaterial culture, of the artist’s role in the material realization of his works through the questioning of otherness.
For over two decades, Leigh has embraced a polyphonic artistic vocabulary that elaborates on Black feminist thought, an intellectual tradition that values and centers the experiences of Black women.
Informed by rigorous attention to a wide swath of historical periods, geographies, and artistic traditions of Africa and the African diaspora, the artist often combines the female body with domestic vessels or architectural elements to point to unacknowledged acts of labor and care.
Clay forms the basis of most of Leigh’s artwork, including her bronze sculptures, which are first modeled in clay.
The exhibition traces the artist’s visual language through distinctive motifs, including cowrie shells, braids, facial vases, and faces.
Leigh fuses different cultural languages by mixing references to 19th century West African art, the material culture of early black Americans and colonial history.
Accompanied by an important monograph, the exhibition itinerary offers visitors the opportunity to experience the complex work of this artist who makes the female figure (in this regard, remember the work of Niki de Saint Phalle) the center of her formal research.