Black City


Ink and acrylic on canvas

305 x 489 cm (120 1/16 x 192 1/2 in.)

Julie Mehretu's painting Black City perfectly embodies the cumulative trends at the heart of her approach. Using ink and acrylic, she multiplies lines and coloured patterns in mostly dark tones. With energy and intensity, she reflects on the subjective experience we can have of the contemporary city. Past and present architecture respond to each other in a chaotic whirlwind that reveals both the pleasure and the danger of disorientation.

Black City is the result of a reflection on the protective walls, such as those of castles, that founded our cities and are resurfacing in the 21st century in response to terrorism and migration issues. Mehretu’s paintings explore different time frames across space and urban history in relation to contemporary politics.

Black City was first presented by the Pinault Collection during the "Qui a peur des artistes ?" (“Who’s Afraid of Artists?”) show at the Palais des Arts in Dinard in 2009.