GLENN LIGON (B. 1960)
GLENN LIGON (B. 1960)
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GLENN LIGON (B. 1960)

Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one)

Details
GLENN LIGON (B. 1960)
Ligon, G.
Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one)
neon and paint, in two parts
overall: 84 x 155 in. (213.4 x 393.7 cm.)
Executed in 2018. This work is number two from an edition of five plus two artist's proofs.
Provenance
Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
"Glenn Ligon 'Untitled (America)/Debris/Field/Synecdoche/Notes for a Poem on the Third World' @ Regen Projects in Los Angeles," Autre Magazine, 19 January 2019, digital (another example illustrated).
C. Taft, "Glenn Ligon: Regen Projects," Artforum, vol. 57, no. 8, April 2019, p. 201.
W. Perkins, "The Exquisite Experience of Color: Glenn Ligon," Office Magazine, 17 June 2020, digital (another example illustrated).
Exhibited
Naples, Thomas Dane Gallery, Glenn Ligon: Tutto poteva, nella poesia, avere una soluzione / In poetry, a solution to everything, April-July 2018 (another example exhibited).
Los Angeles, Regen Projects, Untitled (America)/Debris Field/Synecdoche/Notes for a Poem on the Third World, January-February 2019, pp. 38-39 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Pérez Art Museum Miami, ongoing (another example exhibited).

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Lot Essay

Glenn Ligon is a conceptual artist whose extensive repertoire of medium encompasses painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, and video. Ligon uses these various mediums to communicate with viewers in a multitude of ways, with concepts rooted in history, popular culture, and literature. When synthesized, Ligon’s oeuvre is underpinned by explorations of symbol and language – confronting issues of authorship and the telling and re-telling of cultural narratives.

The present work, Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one), is an evolution from the artist’s earlier neon text sculptures, which were text-based, alternating a word or phrase’s orientation and perception to put into question its literal and symbolic meaning. Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one) is the first figurative neon sculpture created by the artist.

Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one) is composed of two black outlined open hands that radiate a bright white glow. This artwork marks a distinct moment in Ligon’s practice, as part of a body of works he created in response to an uncompleted film of the same title by Italian poet and film director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Originally meant to be filmed in the late 1960s in Africa, India, Latin America, and “the black ghettos” of the United States, the film’s attempt was to be an “anticapitalist positioning of the real” or the “other.” While Ligon’s take on Pasolini’s unrealized project remains ambiguous, the works from this series reflect Ligon’s own interpretation of Pasolini’s exploration of the “cultural other.” Much like the concept of the “other,” the work is imbued with paradoxes that complicate our understanding of Ligon’s intentions. The hands have nuanced and contradictory undertones, exuding at once allure in their peaceful glow but also fear through the suggestion of “hands up” surrender. Ligon also conflicts light and dark; the fabricated and the corporeal; and language and symbol, imparting a strong visual and emblematic contrast within the present work.

Marking an important shift in Ligon’s means of communication with his audience, the captivating visual language and experience of Notes for a Poem on the Third World (chapter one) characterizes the assemblage of disparate feelings and understandings that underscore the foundation of Glenn Ligon’s artworks.

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