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Adrian Piper

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

Artist 7 Adrian Piper

Adrian Piper is an American conceptual artist and philosopher. Her work reflects her exploration of terms, ideologies and experiences each series is uniquely crafted with each medium of art equally available and treated as valuable instruments for realizing it.

Her early work reflected her interest in yoga and meditation. Then she introduced issues of xenophobia, race and gender with her performance series in the 1970s. In the 1980s, she sharpened the focus of her artwork to deal with the interpersonal dynamics of racism and racial stereotyping.

In the 1990s she transferred these topics she worked on into a series of Serial Minimalism.

Piper further expanded in 2000 dealing with silk-screens in her Color Wheel Series, dealing with divinity. Since she has extended these concepts into introspective videos looking at the investigation of loss, desire, detachment and self-transcendence.

Through her work Piper creates dialogues she poses questions and challenges views in how people think.

I’m choosing to focus on her “Everything” Series from 2003. “Once you have taken everything away from a man, he is no longer in your power. He is free.” This quote by Alexander Solzhenitsyn was the inspiration for Adrian Piper’s “Everything” series. Piper takes this inspiration and expands it to encompass blacks and women as well as the author’s universal “man.” She then boils it down to a simple sentence: “Everything will be taken away”—an open ended line for the audience to decipher.

This destruction of images, the loss of faces and the added text create timeless pieces which could be any family, any story. This causes us to question the fatality of life. It marks how there is no permanence. The images are printed on paper, not the original photos. In this day and age of material objects and a fascination with documenting every day with Instagram it draws the scary question of if this all will be taken away is it important now? What is important? What can not be taken away?


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