Rashid Johnson - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Wednesday, February 13, 2013 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Galerie Baudach, Berlin

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Johnson’s work can be said to index the schizophrenic attitudes toward race that have come to characterize the era of post-blackness.” Huey Copeland

    Write Me In, from 2012, by the American artist Rashid Johnson, is a highly individualistic yet altogether universal multimedia work. The artist uses materials that have a metaphorical and symbolic resonance for him, including products familiar from his childhood, such as West African herbal soap blackened with ash. Johnson grew up in Chicago during the 1970s and 80s, surrounded by his family’s early Afrocentrism, which dictated that many of the household’s objects should be symbols of “applying an Africanness to one’s self” (the artist, in Christopher Stackhouse, ‘Rashid Johnson’, Art in America, April 2012, p. 106). However, as his family moved into a more middle-class, professional milieu, Johnson felt increasingly dislocated from the Afrocentric space that had been nurturing him since birth.

    The present lot is a testament to Johnson’s ongoing relationship with everyday objects that double up as signifiers for a culture. The mirror, blackened in parts, negates the reflective nature of its surface and functions as an abstraction on identity. Johnson, caught in a state of social flux, questions his own place in a shared lineage of black history, identity and art. Indeed, his work often contemplates his own relationship with the pioneering cultural figures who came before him, as the title of the present lot suggests. As the artist explains, “I’m interested in exploring that sort of seismic change, looking into the space between things that came before and after. Form the undefined, in-between space is where it gets interesting” (Rashid Johnson, Rumble, Hauser & Wirth, 2012). Wavering between the personal and the social, Write Me In challenges preconceptions of racial identity in both realms.


Write me In

mirrored tiles, black soap, wax, digital print, poplar board
mirror: 243.8 x 182.9 x 5.1 cm (95 7/8 x 72 x 2 in)
overall installation: 274 x 184.5 x 100 cm (107 7/8 x 72 5/8 x 39 3/8 in)

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £85,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

14 February 2013