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Arthur Jafa: MAGNUMB
Edited by Lærke Rydal Jørgensen, Mathias Ussing Seeberg. Foreword by Poul Erik Tøjner. Introduction by Mathias Ussing Seeberg. Text by Nahum Chandler, Jared Sexton, NourbeSe Philip. Conversations with Arthur Jafa, Jacob Holdt, Faith Icecold.
An essential overview of Jafa's sweeping, dynamic and disquieting video portraits of Black American life
Though he has worked in film and music for decades, American video artist Arthur Jafa only garnered acclaim in the art world in 2016 for his video work Love is the Message, the Message is Death. Composed of found images and videos, his oeuvre revolves around Black American culture, the history of slavery, and ongoing structural and physical violence against Black Americans. As Jafa put it in his 2003 text “My Black Death”: “The central conundrum of black being (the double bind of our ontological existence) lies in the fact that common misery both defines and limits who we are. Such that our efforts to eliminate those forces which constrain also function to dissipate much which gives us our specificity, our uniqueness, our flavor by destroying the binds that define we will cease to be, but this is the good death (boa morte) to be embraced.”
This essential overview presents Jafa’s best-known works, such as Love is the Message, the Message is Death and its 2018 follow-up piece The White Album, alongside never-before-seen projects and essays by notable scholars.
Filmmaker and artist Arthur Jafa (born 1960) grew up in Mississippi, where his lifelong fascination with found imagery manifested in his childhood hobby of assembling binders of photographs culled from various sources. As a cinematographer and director of photography, Jafa has collaborated with Stanley Kubrick, Solange Knowles and Spike Lee, among many others. His work on Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust won him the Best Cinematography award at Sundance. At the 2019 Venice Biennale, he was awarded the Golden Lion for The White Album. Jafa lives in Los Angeles.
Arthur Jafa, still from "Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death," 2016. Video (color, sound), 7 minutes, 25 seconds. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. From 'Arthur Jafa: MAGNUMB.'
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
Arthur Jafa has been collecting images since he was a child growing up in Mississippi. The lifelong passion has manifested in film and video projects rife with a dynamic mix of pictures, perspectives, and juxtapositions. This volume provides an essential overview of Los Angeles-based Jafa’s most acclaimed projects, including “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” and “The White Album,” along with unseen projects.
STATUS: Out of stock indefinitely.
FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 5/12/2021
Featured stills are from Arthur Jafa’s indelible Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death (2016), reproduced from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s highly anticipated survey, published to accompany the exhibition on view now through October 2021 in Humlebaek, Denmark. “Writing about the work of Arthur Jafa is a daunting task, due in no small part to the conceptual and emotional density of the material,” Jared Sexton writes. “One has to approach it slowly and let it wash over you in waves: light waves, sounds waves, tidal waves, waves of emotion. There’s a whole intertextual universe that it draws from—folklore, history, literature, music, philosophy, religion—that in turn draws you into prolonged study, however and wherever you take it up. It is difficult to do any justice to it, whether considering the particular works that will debut in this exhibition or the larger body of work that anyone moving through the art world over the last decade is trying to get their heads around. Or trying to get their arms around, to embrace it or commune with it or wrestle with it. No matter your approach, though, the work will knock you on your ass. But only after first announcing there is, by design, no furniture to sit on, no handrails to guide you, no stairs, no ramp, no elevator, no portal to get you where you need to be.” continue to blog
USD $100.00 | CAN $140
Pub Date: 10/23/2018
Active | Out of stock