ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

RECENT POSTS

DATE 5/20/2016

Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, Vavoom

DATE 5/18/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education

DATE 5/17/2016

Yayoi Kusama: Give Me Love, My Heart

DATE 5/16/2016

Agnes Martin On a Clear Day

DATE 5/14/2016

Olivia Bee & BØRNS Launch 'Kids in Love' at ARCANA

DATE 5/12/2016

Dave Hickey Talk & Signing at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

DATE 5/11/2016

Join ARTBOOK | D.A.P. at Book Expo!

DATE 5/10/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education Launch at Harvard CCVA

DATE 5/9/2016

Chris Killip: In Flagrante Two

DATE 5/8/2016

Happy Mother's Day!

DATE 5/7/2016

Wolfgang Tillmans: What’s Wrong with Redistribution?

DATE 5/6/2016

Rosalyn Drexler, Katy Siegel & Jonathan Lethem Launch 'Who Does She Think She Is?' at 192 Books

DATE 5/6/2016

On Curating 2: Paradigm Shifts Launch & PanelOn Curating 2 Launch & Panel with Carolee Thea

DATE 5/6/2016

Mark Bradford: Tears of a Tree

DATE 5/5/2016

Isa Genzken: Mach dich hübsch!

DATE 5/4/2016

Marcel Broodthaers: The Conquest of Space

DATE 5/3/2016

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar

DATE 5/2/2016

Hans Ulrich Obrist In Conversation with Pedro Reyes

DATE 5/2/2016

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Diana Vreeland

DATE 5/2/2016

Walead Beshty Launch & Conversation at Printed Matter

DATE 5/1/2016

Lipstick Flavor: Mickalene Thomas

DATE 5/1/2016

Cinco de Mayo!

DATE 5/1/2016

Marianne Vitale Launches 'Train Wreck' at 192 Books

DATE 4/30/2016

Meghan Boody Book Launch at Book Soup

DATE 4/30/2016

Lipstick Flavor: A Contemporary Art Story with Photography

DATE 4/29/2016

Susan Orlean & Philip Taaffe Launch 'The Floral Ghost' at Rizzoli

DATE 4/29/2016

The Floral Ghost by Susan Orlean and Philip Taaffe

DATE 4/28/2016

The Floral Ghost

DATE 4/27/2016

JH Engström: Tout va Bien

DATE 4/26/2016

Mother's Day Gift Books

DATE 4/26/2016

Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills, #3

DATE 4/25/2016

Agnes Martin: Who's Afraid of Triangles, Briony Fer

DATE 4/24/2016

Anna Lovatt on Agnes Martin

DATE 4/24/2016

Agnes Martin: "Untitled" (2002)

DATE 4/22/2016

Agnes Martin: "Gratitude" (2001)

DATE 4/21/2016

Polly Apfelbaum Book Signing at Printed Matter

DATE 4/21/2016

Blueprint for Counter Education

DATE 4/21/2016

'The Open Road' in the Wall Street Journal

DATE 4/17/2016

'David Wojnarowicz: Brush Fires in the Social Landscape' with Vince Aletti, Andrew Durbin, Karen Finley, John Kelly, Carlo McCormick, & Stewart Uoo

DATE 4/17/2016

Frank Stella: Prints, A Catalogue Raisonné, Juam

DATE 4/16/2016

Frank Stella: Prints, A Catalogue Raisonné, Marriage of Reason and Squalor

DATE 4/16/2016

Stan Douglas: The Secret Agent

DATE 4/15/2016

John Singer Sargent: Watercolors

DATE 4/14/2016

John Singer Sargent: Watercolors, Mountain Fire

DATE 4/13/2016

192 Books Presents Christophe Cherix & Elizabeth Zuba on Marcel Broodthaers

DATE 4/12/2016

The Anatomical Venus, a PW Top Pick!

DATE 4/12/2016

Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, Hearts

DATE 4/11/2016

Raymond Pettibon: Homo Americanus, Tripping Corpse 2, The Hippie Thing

DATE 4/10/2016

Carrie Mae Weems: Kitchen Table Series, Woman Standing Alone

DATE 4/9/2016

David Campany & Jerry L. Thompson Launch 'Walker Evans: Labor Anonymous' at Aperture

DATE 4/9/2016

A Japanese Constellation: Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond


AT FIRST SIGHT

ERIN DUNIGAN | DATE 8/20/2010

Belkis Ayón: Nkame
Captivating Mystery

When I first learned about Belkis Ayón: Nkame in our weekly editorial acquisitions meetings my interest was immediately piqued; and the more I read about the Cuban artist the more I was sucked into the captivating mystery of her work and life. Belkis Ayón committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 32, sending ripples through the art world and shocking family and friends who had detected no outward signs of depression in the successful young artist. Ayón’s sudden death proves to be just as enigmatic as her art.
The artist’s meteoric rise coincided with the harshest years of Cuba's post-Soviet economic crisis. As a result, she developed a practice that made use of the limited materials at her disposal. Ayón was skilled in the art of print-making, lithography, serigraphy and collography, and frequently experimented with the application of paper scraps, sandpaper, gesso and even carborundum to her surfaces. She tended to work in a range of grays, blacks and whites creating vibrant and highly-textured images that all but leap off the picture plane. Though her compositions are aesthetically powerful, the most compelling aspect of Ayón’s work is her macabre subject matter.
Belkis Ayon
In this overwhelming 312-page catalogue raisonné (which includes a DVD companion with additional essays, images and even archival video footage), readers can trace the gradual shift in Ayón’s work from prosaic scenes of city life, portraits and household interiors to her consuming fascination with Afro-Cuban religious iconography, specifically that of the Abakua.
Belkis Ayon
The Abakua are an all-male secret society, a combination of both Christian and African traditions, which first made its appearance in Cuba around 1836. The origins of the brotherhood can be traced back to southern Nigeria and their beliefs were likely brought to Cuba’s port cities by African slaves. The Abakua function as a mutual-aid organization and are known for rituals and ceremonies full of theatricality and drama (such as drumming, dancing and chanting in their own secret language). In their initiation rites members are sworn to secrecy, perhaps explaining why the Abakua have remained hermetic for nearly two centuries and are considered one of the most misunderstood contemporary Afro-Cuban religions.
Belkis Ayon
While Abakuan symbolism plays a predominant, and at times, ominous role in Ayón’s engravings, the artist was also incredibly drawn to the tragic figure of Sikan, a central and recurring character in many of her tableaus. In Abakuan lore the African princess Sikan plays an Eve-like role, wherein she is folds to temptation and is punished for her disobedience. Unlike Eve, Sikan is killed for her indiscretion and her death marks both the beginning of the Abakuan brotherhood, as well as the beginning of the female ban on joining the society.
Belkis Ayon
Ayón’s striking images are dominated by alien-like beings portrayed without facial features, aside from piercing almond-shaped eyes contorted to express their intense emotions. Art historian Cristina Figueroa describes the effect, "These figures can look at you but cannot speak. So you have to interpret what they're trying to say through their eyes." She goes on to postulate that the absence of the mouth in Ayón’s figures illustrates the secrecy of the members of the Abakua. These shadowy spirits are depicted performing ritual acts or simply surrounded by mysterious symbols and iconography. A narrative seems to be present in many cases but shrouded by layers of meaning that cannot easily deciphered. They are both haunting and absolutely enchanting!
Belkis Ayon
The mythology surrounding Belkis Ayón and her art may never truly be understood, but the impact that she left on the world will endure. Since her death the Cuban government has declared a patrimony on her work, prohibiting it from leaving the country. And in the artist’s lifetime her art was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, NY and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among other notable institutions.
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Belkis Ayon
Turner publications affirms Ayón’s legacy with this thorough and heartfelt tribute to the artist’s life and work. And it is worth noting that the Project Director for this catalogue is Dr. Katia Ayón (Belkis’s sister) who in the introduction writes: “…Thus it is confirmed that art is, among many things, a sort of life after life, or the most effective weapon to confront death. The reminiscences of a person are something else. Belkis was accustomed to dealing with myths, and her own myth grows between her friends, colleagues and students who loved her… a token of such affection can also be found in these pages.”

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

Belkis Ayón: Nkame

TURNER
Hbk, 9.5 x 12.25 in. / 312 pgs / 400 color / Data CD.

DATE 8/23/2015

Xanti Schawinsky

Xanti Schawinsky

DATE 7/31/2015

Axel Hoedt

Axel Hoedt

DATE 9/11/2014

New York Is ...

New York Is ...

DATE 5/13/2014

Libuse Niklová

Libuse Niklová


ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the art world's source for books on art & culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 S. Broadway, Suite 700
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Tel. 323 969 8985

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com