Arthur Jafa and Black Cinema
A Cooperation between FILMFEST MÜNCHEN and Museum Brandhorst
Monster, 1988, gedruckt 2019. Udo und Anette Brandhorst Sammlung © Courtesy the Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York/Rome
Following "Warholmania" in 2015, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is once again collaborating with Museum Brandhorst. In connection with its anniversary exhibition "Forever Young–10 Years of Museum Brandhorst", the museum is presenting an ensemble of works by US filmmaker, cinematographer, and artist Arthur Jafa, who was recently honored with a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. Alongside selected photographic works, his epic film "akingdoncomethas" (2018) will be screened in the museum's Media Suite starting in July. Parallel to this, FILMFEST MÜNCHEN (June 27 to July 6, 2019) will be showing a film program curated by Arthur Jafa under the title "A Peculiar Vantage: A Selection of Black Cinema".
Jafa was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1960, at the height of the US civil-rights movement. Its cause of ending racism against the African-American community and establishing equal rights under the law as well as in day-to-day life form the backdrop of his practice. In the most varied media, from photographs and objects to films and videos to performance art, he has dealt with mechanisms of marginalization on the basis of cultural identity or ethnicity.
Jafa's central theme is "blackness", or the experience of being black — although this is not strictly limited to people of color. He is more generally interested in the experience of having been consistently excluded from the Western world. "As black people, we are the ill sons, the illegitimate progeny, in the West. Although we can take advantage of all the merits Western society has to offer, we are still estranged. It is a common experience of African-Americans, homosexual people, or women." In his photographs and films, Jafa depicts a world almost devoid of white people, upturning a centuries-old paradigm: dominance by the white man, who decided what was meaningful and what wasn't. Jafa confronts this in work that presents American (cultural) history as being defined mainly by African-Americans.
"We're delighted to be able to present, along with FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, the works of Arthur Jafa in all their breadth," says Patricia Dander, chief curator of Museum Brandhorst. "In our anniversary exhibition 'Forever Young–10 Years of Museum Brandhorst' we are displaying a selection of his groundbreaking works. These never tire of confronting us with the African-American history of being suppressed and excluded. Jafa's roots, however, lie in 'black cinema' and we are honored that he is revealing them in his selection of films for FILMFEST MÜNCHEN."
Since the 1990s, Arthur Jafa has made a name for himself in the film industry, for example with his cinematography in Julie Dash's "Daughters of the Dust" (1991) and Spike Lee's "Crooklyn" (1994). In 2013, together with Elissa Blount Moorhead and Malik Sayeed, he established the TNEG production company to promote black avant-garde film. In 2007, he directed the video to Jay-Z's song "4:44". Today, Jafa is considered one of the most important African-American artists and filmmakers of his generation. For FILMFEST MÜNCHEN, Jafa has curated a film program titled "A Peculiar Vantage: A Selection of Black Cinema". This series is a survey of important films of Black Cinema, including works by Jafa himself, Larry Clark ("Passing Through 1977"), Julie Dash ("Diary of an African Nun"), and others.
As part of this collaboration between FILMFEST MÜNCHEN and Museum Brandhorst, a panel discussion with Arthur Jafa and guests will be held at Museum Brandhorst on July 1, 2019 at 7 p.m.
You'll find further information about the anniversary exhibition "Forever Young–10 Years of Museum Brandhorst" at www.museum-brandhorst.de.