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Tschabalala Self (b. 1990)
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Tschabalala Self (b. 1990)

Out of Body

Tschabalala Self (b. 1990)
Out of Body
oil and fabric collage on canvas
72 x 60in. (182.9 x 152.4cm.)
Executed in 2015
Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
New York, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Out of Body, 2015.
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Lot Essay

Rendered on a dramatic scale, Out of Body is an exquisite example of Tschabalala Self’s pioneering multi-media practice. Combining oil paint with swathes of patterned fabric, the artist explores notions relating to the black female body, creating characters and tableaux that resonate with her own experience. By deliberately exaggerating her subjects’ physical appearance, Self probes cultural attitudes towards race, gender and sexuality. ‘My work explores the emotional, physical and psychological impact of the Black female body as icon’, she explains. ‘… The fantasies and attitudes surrounding the Black female body are both accepted and rejected within my practice, and through this disorientation, new possibilities arise. I am attempting to provide alternative, and perhaps fictional, explanations for the voyeuristic tendencies towards the gendered and racialized body; a body which is both exalted and abject’ (T. Self, quoted at [accessed 29 May 2019]). Born in Harlem, where she was recently appointed artist in residence at the Studio Museum, Self found early inspiration in the work of African-American artists such as Faith Ringgold and Jacob Lawrence. She was also influenced by her mother: a gifted seamstress whose sharp eye for pattern, colour and fabric would come to inform much of Self’s textile work. Her first solo museum exhibition, Bodega Run, travelled to the Yuz Museum, Shanghai and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles between 2018 and 2019. She made her American museum debut earlier this year at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle.

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