Tavares Strachan is an epic artist whose global spanning events have changed the post-colonial narrative for a new generation. Connected to black history his work uses inspirational themes to elevate our shared human story, recognising the silence and oppression but by paying homage to heroic figures shows that the past need not chain the present. The uplifting buoyant atmosphere of his works show us that through struggle we can find joy.
Tavares Strachan Exhibition Info
Marian Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce In Total Darkness, the first solo exhibition of Tavares Strachan at the Paris gallery, presented concurrently with In Broad Daylight at Perrotin Paris. These presentations continue the trilogy initiated with the exhibition The Awakening, which took place at Marian Goodman Gallery New York in Spring 2022. The trilogy revolves around the notion of invisibility, a key concept in Strachan’s practice, and was designed to unfold over the cycle of a day, from dawn, daylight, and night. Through this triptych of exhibitions, the artist has devised distinct visual chapters, each excavating rarely told stories that highlight overlooked figures throughout history.
The exhibition at Galerie Marian Goodman is a journey into time and space, mingling past and contemporary narratives through a series of domestic and spiritual spaces. Through this immersive and site-specific experience, which incorporates mixed-media and multilayered sculptural works, Strachan summons a large spectrum of historical and cultural references. In Total Darkness engages with French colonialism through an investigation of the Haitian Revolution, the first victorious revolt of Black slaves, and in so doing, Strachan questions our presumed knowledge of history.
Central to the exhibition is The Encyclopedia of Invisibility, an ongoing research project presented for the first time in France. The work “has to do with people, places and things that have been left out of history. And I thought it would be fitting to use this encyclopedia as the kind of groundwork for thinking about ways which things that have been left out become included, a place where all the invisible things can be seen,” Strachan explains. Referencing the Invisible, Strachan’s own journey as a Bahamian-born artist, whose coming of age was marked by a realization that his education had been obscured by a Western-centric vision of the world, comes full circle in this immersive journey that explores key figures of Caribbean history.
The visitor’s journey through the parcours of the exhibition is mapped through a trajectory of the first king of Haiti, Henri Christophe (1767 – 1820). Christophe took an active part in the first Black uprisings in Saint-Domingue (now known as Haiti) against the French in 1791. He participated in the Haitian Revolution, a 13-year fight for independence achieved in 1804, as a lieutenant to François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture. Eventually he became president of the country and was recognized for creating its first currency, stabilizing the economy, bolstering education, and fortifying public health initiatives. In 1811 he proclaimed himself King, under the name of Henri I, and died at his own hand in 1820, trying to avoid a coup. Although Aimé Césaire dedicated a play to him in 1963, La Tragédie du roi Christophe, his legacy remains largely overlooked.
Tavares Strachan was born in 1979 in Nassau, Bahamas, and currently lives and works between New York City and Nassau. He received a BFA in Glass from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 and an MFA from Yale University in 2006. Strachan’s work has been the feature of many exhibitions, including Always, Sometimes, Never, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2018); You Belong Here, Prospect 3. Biennial, New Orleans, LA (2014); The Immeasurable Daydream, Biennale de Lyon, France (2013); Polar Eclipse, The Bahamas National Pavilion 55th Venice Biennale, Italy (2013); Seen/Unseen, Undisclosed Exhibition, New York, NY (2011); Orthostatic Tolerance: It Might Not Be Such a Bad Idea if I Never Went Home Again, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2010); and You Can Do Whatever You Like (Orthostatic Tolerance Project), Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA (2009); among others.
He has created site-specific installations for the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY (2021), and at the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2018). Strachan has also been the recipient of numerous awards including Artist in Residence at the Getty Research Institute (2019-2020); Frontier Art Prize (2018), and the Allen Institute’s inaugural artist-in-residence (2018); LACMA Art + Technology Lab Artist Grant (2014); Tiffany Foundation Grant (2008); Grand Arts Residency Fellowship (2007), and the Alice B. Kimball Fellowship (2006).
TAVARES STRACHAN In Total Darkness 15 October – 26 November 2022 Access to the exhibition by appointment only Opens to the public on Saturday 15 October, 3 – 7 PM (By appointment)
The concurrent exhibition In Broad Daylight is on view at Perrotin Paris from 15 September to 17 December 2022.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle