07 October 2021, The Tablet

Collisions of difference

Collisions of difference

Oh, The Wind Oh, The Wind
White Cube Mason’s Yard, London

A Clay Sermon
Whitechapel gallery, London

I first came across the work of Theaster Gates (at the 2015 Venice Biennale curated by the Nigerian critic Okwui Enwezor). In that year’s edition, which turned the spotlight on marginalised communities, many artists relied on words to reinforce political messages, but Gates communicated solely through sound and images. In his installation Martyr Construction, film of a church apparently in the process of demolition played alongside a disused church bell, dismantled organ pipes and a displaced statue of a martyr. The objects were eloquent in their silence: the work was an elegy for the inner city churches lost to African American communities across the United States.

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