Kunsthalle Basel

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

A Passion To A Principle

18 Nov 2016 - 12 Feb 2017

A Passion To A Principle
18 November 2016 – 12 February 2017

In her first institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b. 1977 in London; lives and works in London) fills our majestic, skylit upstairs galleries with all new paintings, lush and vibrant reflections on perception, painting, and the figure. At once traditional in her approach to form, line, and color, and decidedly contemporary in her self-reflexivity about her medium, the British-Ghanaian writer, poet, and painter represents a bold and beautiful cast of black figures culled from the haze of memory, projection, and fiction. The goal is not formal perfection, or exactitude with regard to any real person, but another sort of precision, one that aims to, “make people intelligible through paint.”

As she has explained: “Although they are not real I think of them as people known to me. They are imbued with a power of their own; they have a resonance – something emphatic and otherworldly. I admire them for their strength, their moral fiber. If they are pathetic, they don’t survive; if I feel sorry for them, I get rid of them. I don’t like to paint victims.”

The exhibition is generously supported by Peter Handschin and Jackson Tang, with additional support from the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.