Ceramics came into Mathieu’s research as an element that triggers a sense of alchemy, turning the four elements into an object that carries a spiritual value. For Mathieu, this sense of awareness that the...
Ceramics came into Mathieu’s research as an element that triggers a sense of alchemy, turning the four elements into an object that carries a spiritual value. For Mathieu, this sense of awareness that the object can echo itself in several dimensions though our humanity and spirituality is at the core of the Black experience.
“In the slave ship when our destiny was shattered by disruptors and we were deprived of everything we owned and turned into objects, holding onto a rock during the crossing and turning that rock, just like the Igbo did before us, through our prayers into a symbol of our hopes and desires was pivotal to preserve what was most precious in us, our humanity,” says Mathieu. “This exercise mimics our capacities as a Black people against all odds to transcend our experiences and turn dust into mountains.”
Mathieu approached his new body of ceramic sculptures, to which this piece belongs, as conceptual subjects referencing the body in transformation, constantly returning to its core—Where should we begin. The artist understands these sculptures as existing 50 feet high outside of the gallery.
Artist Studio Kavi Gupta, Chicago
Manuel Mathieu, Negroland: A Landscape of Desire, 2021, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL