Presented in the United States Pavilion, Leigh’s exhibition is commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
Simone Leigh © Shaniqwa Jarvis
For the U.S. Pavilion, Simone Leigh has created a new series of figurative sculptures in bronze and ceramic that furthers her commitment to highlighting the labor and resilience of Black women across global histories. Drawing upon artistic traditions from within Africa and the African diaspora, Leigh uses a strategy that she terms “the creolisation of form,” merging disparate cultural languages linked through histories of colonisation. With these works, Leigh weaves together references to 19th-century West African art, the material culture of early Black Americans, and the colonial history of international expositions.
Over the past two decades, Simone Leigh (b. 1967, Chicago, IL) has created an expansive body of work in sculpture, video, and performance that centers Black femme interiority. Inflected by Black feminist theory, Leigh’s practice intervenes imaginatively to fill gaps in the historical record by proposing new hybridities.
Leigh’s sculptural works join forms derived from vernacular architecture and the female body, rendering them via materials and processes associated with the artistic traditions of Africa and the African diaspora. The collaborative ethos that characterizes Leigh’s videos and public programs pays homage to a long history of Black female collectivity, communality, and care.
In 2019, Leigh was the first artist commissioned for the High Line Plinth, New York. Recent exhibitions include The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2019); the 2019 Whitney Biennial; Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon (2017) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Psychic Friends Network (2016) at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London; Hammer Projects: Simone Leigh (2016–17) at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; inHarlem: Simone Leigh (2016–17), a public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York; The Waiting Room (2016) at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and Free People’s Medical Clinic (2014), a project commissioned by Creative Time. Leigh’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the ICA/Boston, among others.
The works that comprise Leigh’s exhibition for the U.S. Pavilion will be featured in her first museum survey exhibition at the ICA/Boston in 2023, which will subsequently tour to museums throughout the United States. The exhibition will be accompanied by the first comprehensive monograph dedicated to Leigh’s work.
For more information, please visit https://simoneleighvenice2022.org/