Acrylic on PVC, Plexiglass artist's frame
151 x 244.2 x 7.6 cm
In the centre of the painting, a naked man (wearing only his argyle socks) is lying on a fur cover. He is holding a small pan-African flag in his hand, whose bright colours (red, green, black) draw attention to the centre of the painting.
The question of colour—black, in particular—is central to the artist's research, who uses it in all its variations, mixing the pigments of iron oxides and ivory black to restore their intensity and their ability to absorb light.
For Kerry James Marshall, it is essential to produce images of black bodies to compensate for the omnipresence of white bodies. Kerry James Marshall's deeply committed work aims to inscribe black Americans in history and society. The human figure is central to his pictorial practice: he develops a reflection on the Black condition in the United States and endeavours to give a place and a “physical presence to the women and men who were made invisible for centuries.” He has produced a body of work that gives them beauty, authority, and dignity.
With this long reclining figure, the painter reinterprets a great classic of Western painting, inherited from Titian, playing with these conventions, imagining a new Olympia by Manet by playing with the contrast of the bedding and the presence of fur that accentuates the sexual character of this figure with his haughty look.
This painting is presented for the first time by the Pinault Collection in the exhibition "Ouverture" at the Bourse de Commerce in 2021.