Thomas Dane Gallery presents Jimmy Robert’s new project Frammenti. Conceived specifically for the space and context of Thomas Dane Gallery in Naples, the exhibition opens a reflection on the Black body and its representation in classic statuary.
As Philippe Jockey discusses thoroughly in his book Le Mythe de la Grèce Blanche, the aesthetic of white imperialism was generated by the belief that ancient Greek sculptures were created white. Technology now provides incontrovertible proof of the presence of polychromy throughout classical sculpture including at the Parthenon, the supreme icon of ‘white Greece’.
It is within this context that Robert positions himself, developing a new body of works that mix collage, photography and sculpture. Starting with images of various fragments of polychrome sculptures, Robert presents a series of ‘composites’ that illuminate how an image or a sculpture, and by extension history, are carefully constructed.
Like island archipelagos emerging from the sea that connect hidden geological strata, Robert’s archaeological fragments are united into a genealogy in which each entangled element is reliant on the next. By bridging each island to the next Robert creates a narrative that questions a fixed acceptance of historical understanding.
Robert will present a series of eight Frammenti, each the result of collaging and re-photographing images of classical sculptures in and around Naples. These works will each be framed in various, often unorthodox, ways extending the artist’s interest in exploring the possibilities of paper as a photographic but also sculptural medium.
Robert’s multidisciplinary practice encompasses performance, photography, film and collage, frequently collapsing distinctions between these mediums. Robert’s interest in how the body can be personified through materials and the reverse is a force that integrates his longtime work with performance with his wider practice. Robert has choreographed performances within exhibition spaces, in relation to existing architectural structures, as well as restaging, reframing or sampling historical performances. The frequent citation of moments from art history, film and literature is characteristic of his deeply layered narratives.
Jimmy Robert was born in Guadeloupe (FR) in 1975 and currently lives and works in Berlin. Robert was the subject of a mid-career survey at Nottingham Contemporary in 2020, which travelled to Museion, Bolzano, and is currently on view at CRAC Occitanie, Sète. Recent solo exhibitions include Künstlerhaus Bremen, Germany (2022); The Hunterian, Glasgow (2021); Le centre d’air contemporain – la Synagogue de Delme, France (2018); Museum M, Leuven, Belgium (2017); The Power Plant, Toronto (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2012); and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2012). Robert’s performances have also been presented at Tate Britain, London; MoMA, New York; and Migros Museum, Zurich. His most recent performance ‘Joie Noire’ premiered in 2019 at KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin, and travelled to Kaaitheater, Brussels. Robert will participate in the 5th Aichi Triennale in Summer 2022, and will present a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Baden-Baden in the winter of 2022.
© Jimmy Robert. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Roberto Salomone