As part of Condo, London, Modern Art is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of work by Paul Mpagi Sepuya, in collaboration with Team Gallery, New York.
In Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s photographs, the history of the medium of photography studio portraiture forms the background for his exploration of the dynamics of intimacy. The figures populating Sepuya’s photographs are people with whom he is close: friends, lovers, or members of the queer and artistic communities of Los Angeles and New York of which he is a part. Consistently, Sepuya himself is a subject of the photographs, often present only in fragments of his body – arms, legs, hands – his works make a point of showing him as their maker, with his arms positioning the camera, or his hands releasing the shutter button. Mirrors are therefore a reoccurring motif in his work, both functioning as a practical technology in the construction of his images and as a symbolic fulcrum through which to consider the many meanings – erotically charged and racially located - of his own body in relation to others.
The group of Sepuya’s work shown at Modern Art is comprised of photographs made between 2016 and 2019. Seen together, the chosen works convey the scope of formal strategies employed by Sepuya. Ranging from close up portraits of interlocking body parts, to studio portraits in which subjects are carefully poised behind and with objects, to photographs of his collages of test prints and archival material of the studio, Sepuya’s strategies each speak to the self-reflexivity inherent in his practice and reveal his sensitivity and skill in capturing bodies on camera. Whether at its centre or its edges, the camera and tripod are almost always evident and always implied somewhere in each image, bringing the work firmly back into dialogue with its own technical construction and object-hood, and to Sepuya himself.
Paul Mpagi Sepuya was also featured on CURA.28, THE ULTIMATE BODY ISSUE, read more here
Courtesy of the artist, Modern Art, London & Team Gallery
Photo by Ben Westoby