Synopses & Reviews
How do todayandrsquo;s artists understand and depict notions of love? As witnessed in this compelling book, they often transcend traditional European romantic notions to create representations of love in less familiar manifestations. The title of this volume, The Progress of Love, refers to a group of 18th-century paintings by Jean-Honorandeacute; Fragonard, who represented love as a contemporary phenomenon rather than in the guise of allegory or fiction. Todayandrsquo;s artists go further.
Exploring the forces that shape our conceptions of love, The Progress of Love brings together the work of 30 artists from Africa, Europe, the African diaspora, and the New World. Beautiful color images show works in a range of media by a dazzling array of contemporary artists, including Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Sophie Calle, Mary Ellen Carroll, Kendell Geers, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Romuald Hazoumandeacute;, Zanele Muholi, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, and Yinka Shonibare.
"Published in concert with a collaborative project between the Menil Collection in Houston, Lagos's Centre for Contemporary Arts, and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis, Mo., this beautifully designed book gathers the work of 30 artists from Africa and the African diaspora to examine the virtues, complexities, and challenges of love. Accompanying essays discuss the difficulty of talking about love in a translational context, the effect of globalization on local identity and custom, the importance of performance in African culture, and the way artists address loss, romantic or otherwise. Full-color illustrations show artists investigating the question posed by Van Dyke in her essay, 'Love and Africa': 'What in love is timeless and universal and what is culturally and historically specific?' Zoulikha Bouabdellah renders 300 Arabic words for love in lacquer; Malik SidibÃ© photographs young couples in Western clothes dancing the night away in 1960s Bamako, Mali; Felix Gonzalez-Torres's 'Ã¢Â€Â˜Untitled' (Perfect Lovers)' uses out-of-synch wall clocks to evoke romantic disconnection; Zina Saro-Wiwa's video stills show faces contorted in the performance of sadness. The artworks travel the entire emotional landscape, touching on self-love, familial affection, flirtation, forbidden feelings, marriage, and heartbreak. Together, the three exhibitions reveal that when artists turn their focus to love, they are actually expressing, in the words of Van Dyke, 'what it means to be human.' 105 color illus." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Compelling artworks by thirty contemporary artists from Africa, Europe, and the United States illustrate how complex forces shape the representation and understanding of love across time and place.
About the Author
Kristina Van Dyke is the director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, St. Louis. Bisi Silva is the director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.