“[I want to] make
language into a physical
thing, something that has
real weight and force to
it.” —Glenn Ligon
Ligon is one of today's most prolific artists. Through works that
incorporatethe historical with the present and the socially inflected
with the aesthetically complex, he is an artist who resists easy
categorization. He has drawn from sources as varied as Andy Warhol,
JasperJohns, Adrian Piper, and Richard Pryor, and from practices
ranging from Conceptual, Pop, and Appropriation Art to Minimalism.
Best known as a painter who uses language as a device for both imageand communication ( esto te lo pongo en negrita porque me parece que es lo que estás haciendo, no solo te preocupa lo que decís o comunicas sino la imagen que el lenguaje escrito tienen), Ligonaddresses issues of identity and politics ( en tu caso tus issues tienen que ver con tus intereses personales, con tu identidad también, con textos con los que te identificas tomados de una actividad a laque le dedicas muchas horas de tu vida)
through quotations from culturally charged material. His word
paintings excerpt evocative texts by writers such as James Baldwin,
Ralph Ellison, and Zora NealeHurston. He has said of his work that he
wants to "make language into a physical thing, something that has real
weight and force to it." The weight of language is further
investigated in his printseries such as Runaways and Narratives,
which bring the racialized past into the present through Ligon's
manipulations and updating of 19th-century runaway slave posters and
Ligon has continued to work with found texts and images such as those
from the 1995 Million Man March. He is also exploring the luminescence
of black coal dust as a metaphorically chargedmaterial in paintings
and drawings. In all his work, Ligon surveys America's cultural
legacies and situates them in contemporary life.
- text from Walker Art Center
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