Galerie Daniel Templon is presenting the first solo show in France by painter Kehinde Wiley, renowned in the United States as one of the most promising artists of his generation. To mark this event, Wiley has devised a new project, taking him from Morocco to Cameroon on an unexpected journey across the African continent.
Kehinde Wiley has been criss-crossing the world since 2006 as part of his The World Stage project, organizing his ad-hoc castings from the favelas of Rio to the streets of New Dehli. He uses his chance meetings with young urban black and brown men to create baroque portraits brimming over with adornments and references to the Old Masters.
Kehinde Wiley sees himself a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, from Titian to Gainsborough and Van Dyck to Ingres. He offers reinterpretations of the traditional vocabulary of power and prestige in the hyperbolic settings he creates for his charismatic “boys.”
For this Paris exhibition, Wiley set off to seek out African cultures and the colonial history of France in Africa (1880-1960) as he explored Morocco, Tunisia, Gabon, Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
Delving into issues of racial and sexual identity, Kehinde Wiley’s works create unexpected collisions where art history and street culture come face to face. The artist makes eroticised heroes of the ‘invisible’, those traditionally banished from representations of power. His work is ambiguous, part politically-charged critique, part an avowed fascination with the luxury and bombast of Western symbols of male domination.
Born in 1977, Kehinde Wiley works between New York and Beijing. A virtuoso painter who grew up in the urban decay of South Los Angeles and graduated from Yale, he is often described as a “walking superlative“. He became known for his solo exhibitions in institutions and galleries, from Deitch Projects to the Brooklyn Museum, as well as his surprising collaborations, such as his portraits of Grandmaster Flash and Michael Jackson and his design of an Africa lifestyle collection for Puma.
Over recent years, Kehinde Wiley has exhibited at the Colombus Museum of Art in 2006, Harlem Studio Museum in 2008 and Fort Worth Modern Art Museum in 2008. He presented The World Stage: Israel at New York’s Jewish Museum in spring 2012. In 2014, the artist’s work will be on display at a solo exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.
His paintings are included in a wide range of public collections, including at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Hammer Museum and LACMA (Los Angeles) and Walker Art Center (Minneapolis).
A major monograph of his work was published by Rizzoli in May 2012. A catalogue will be published to mark his exhibition at Galerie Templon, available at the gallery.