GLENN LIGON | Figure #24



Figure #24
signed, titled and dated 2009 on the reverse
acrylic, silkscreen and coal dust on canvas
60 by 48 in. 152.4 by 121.9 cm.

Price Available Upon Request

Luhring Augustine, New York
Regen Projects, Los Angeles
White Cube, London
Acquired by the present owner from the above

“I wanted the material that I was using for the paintings to have the same kind of gravitas as the text. I was also looking at Warhol’s diamond dust paintings and became intrigued by the idea of the addition: material that is laid on top of the paint and changes it… Coal dust obscures the text while making it more present and sculptural. There is always that push/pull in the work, of the desire for legibility and disappearance of the text.” - Glenn Ligon

Executed in 2009, Glenn Ligon’s Figure #24, encapsulates the artist’s critical, painterly engagement of cultural identity through an instantly identifiable lexicon of appropriated text, shimmering across an expansive composition. Glimmering and brilliant, the iconic stenciled text forms are rendered distinct, yet barely decipherable in Figure #24, via the application of swathes of black coal dust. The artist’s use of glistening black coal dust blurs definitive legibility to create an effective visual strategy that challenges prevailing expressions of semantics within the painted medium. Ligon relies heavily on varied linguistic sources: novels, non-fiction, poetry and civil rights slogans, all of which are ingeniously appropriated, fused and obfuscated to create a rich intertextuality about the black experience. The muted, deep purple ground illuminates the glowing text in Figure #24, creating both amassed and defined letters that sharpen the positive and negative space. The artist’s reliance on the medium of black coal dust is a profoundly layered one, the sharp relief of the glistening stenciled letters echo Ligon’s post-blackness ethos that dispels reductive stereotypes and racial prejudice within black representation, while also moonlighting as a direct reference to the artist’s skin color and personal identity.

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Currently Available for Private Sale

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