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Lorna Simpson

Artist 89 Lorna Simpson Conceptual Identity Art Multimedia

Lorna Simpson (born 13 August 1960) is an African-American photographer and multimedia artist who made her name with her photo-text installations, photocollages, and films.

Feeling a strong need to re-examine and re-define photographic practice for contemporary relevance, Simpson was producing work that engaged the conceptual vocabulary of the time by creating exquisitely crafted documents that are as clean and spare as the closed, cyclic systems of meaning they produce.

Lorna Simpson confronts and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. She uses photography, video and collage to explore identity by using her own experiences as a black woman to inspire her work.

Lorna Simpson was one of a group of artists who became well known in the 1980s for exploring themes and ideas relating to identity politics in their work.

Identity politics focuses on the lives and experience of those who are often marginalised in society such as black people, women and gay people. (Marginalised means pushed to the side, forgotten about, or not treated as important). Identity politics aims to make others aware of the issues and unfairness that these marginalised people have to face.

With unidentified figures as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of our lives in contemporary America.

In a lot of works I’m showcasing today the relationship between hair and identity is very clear.

Throughout her body of work, Simpson questions memory and representation.

Using the camera as a catalyst, Simpson constructs work comprising text and image, parts to wholes, which comment on the documentary nature of found or staged images.

Glennn Ligon, “Simpson‘s work opened up a space to talk about black interiority at a moment when the culture was obsessed with black spectacle, not black introspection.”

Her imagery and choice of how to conceptually depict her reflects power, energy and strength.

It is definitely a celebration of #blackgirlmagic made long before we had hashtags but extremely relevant today.


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