Part of Adam Pendleton’s celebrated series Black Dada and exhibited in the Belgian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, Black Dada (D), 2014, is a gleaming expanse of rich darkness. From afar, Black Dada (D) appears monochromatic but up close, Pendleton’s blend of matte and gloss diagonals is revealed. Nestled into the corner is a single capitalised ‘D’. Black Dada is both the series’ title and Pendleton’s personal manifesto: he is interested in using ‘radical juxtapositions’ to challenge pre-established narratives (A. Pendleton, Adam Pendleton: Black Dada Reader, New York, 2017, n. p.). These disparate connections are embodied in the name ‘Black Dada’: while the colour black serves as an anti-representational strategy, Dada encompasses both the historical avant-garde movement, as well as all things absurd. Black Dada, says Pendleton, is ‘a way to talk about the future while talking about the past’ and he aims to draw attention to what has been excluded from the canon (A. Pendleton in conversation with A. Biswas, The Brooklyn Rail, September 2016, p. 64). If, historically, the monochrome was seen as the purest form of abstraction, then Pendleton’s paintings complicate this lineage. Merging a range of textual and pictorial sources, including Audre Lorde, Hugo Ball’s 1916 ‘Dada Manifesto’ and LeRoi Jones’s 1964 poem ‘Black Dada Nihilismus’ as well the works of Adrian Piper, Félix González-Torres and Ad Reinhardt, Black Dada both aligns itself with and disrupts art history. By engaging with African American visual and political history, Black Dada (D) reflects the contemporary world, and like all portals, suggests a hesitant hope of new possibilities.