BHMF ART : Joachim Silue— Eliminating the Still from Still Life

My initial encounter with Joachim Silue’s art was quite informal. I entered the exhibition space with a simple task — to copy the description of his art onto the wall of his exhibition.

And although I contributed absolutely nothing to this exhibition but the mere wall text that accompanied the work, the mindless strokes I made with my pencil have permanently etched the artist’s intention into my mind.

Silue’s exhibition, entitled Lento Cammino, is a collection of abstracted still lifes, reinvigorated by his choice in materiality, a method that protests this very classic art genre. It is neither painting, nor sculpture, but a layered composition of drawings, photography and assemblage. The 3D nature of his work breathes life into an otherwise immobile collection of objects.

I was mostly drawn to the focal point of his exhibition — the large deconstructed reinterpretation of a still life bottle. The material choices maintain their distinctive characteristics but are manipulated just enough to create interest. The lack of concern for technical accuracy in the form of the object being replicated creates a roughness that is replicated throughout the other works in the exhibition. The scribbles etched onto the composition adds to this rough aesthetic, almost acting as a vandalism of his own work.

The deconstructive nature of his art, in my mind, also points to the need to deconstruct the narrative of what an Italian artist looks like.

As a student studying Art History in Florence, my ability to truly appreciate the works of art that I am presented with is hindered by a nudging awareness of an oppressive pervasiveness of the white perspective in art. As Silue was the first black artist in Italy whose work I was able to view in an exhibition, my affinity for his art was heightened even more.

Because to exist in and fight to be heard in spaces that exclude your own voice is art in itself.

A signed drawing from Silue himself

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