Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, the Message is Death

Store Studios, 180 The Strand, London

5 Oct 2017 - 12:00 PM to 14 Dec 2017 - 6:00 PM

Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, the Message is Death

Admission Free

Following his critically-acclaimed Serpentine exhibition, A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions, artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa will now exhibit Love is the Message, the Message is Death (2016) in a site-specific installation at Store Studios, co-presented by the Serpentine Galleries and The Vinyl Factory. 

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Jafa’s contemporary revisualisation of black American history will be shown in a bespoke tent at Store Studios, 180 The Strand, from 5 October to 14 December, in the work’s first London presentation. The tent is inspired by revival tents, a custom from the southern United State where Christian worshipers gathered in a marquee erected specifically for meetings, healing missions, church rallies or simply to hear a preacher speak. 

Set to Kanye West’s gospel-inspired hip-hop track, ‘Ultralight Beam’, Jafa’s work is a convergence of found footage that traces African-American identity through a vast spectrum of contemporary imagery. The meticulously edited 7-minute video jumps from photographs of civil rights leaders to helicopter views of the LA riots, suspending viewers in an emotional montage that is a testament to Jafa’s masterful ability to juxtapose and sequence footage and that poignantly embodies the artist’s desire to create a cinema that ‘replicates the power, beauty and alienation of Black Music’. 

A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions transformed the Serpentine Sackler Gallery into an immersive assemblage of still and moving images. The exhibition included the work of three additional voices: the photographer Ming Smith, @nemiepeba (the Instagram feed of artist Frida Orupabo) and content from the YouTube channel of Missylanyus. Together, these three ‘platforms’ or ‘guests’ were integral to Jafa’s presentation in the gallery and acknowledged the influence of others within his own practice.

During the final weekend of the exhibition, Arthur Jafa presented a Listening Session in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory with musicians Steve Coleman, Morgan Craft, Micah Gaugh, Melvin Gibbs, Jason Moran and Kokayi Carl Walker, a dismembered jazz ensemble who performed separately and simultaneously from different sites across London. Performing artist Okwui Okpokwasili danced to the discordant soundtrack as the musicians were live streamed to an audience at the Magazine Restaurant at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Arthur Jafa’s Listening Session was also recorded direct-to-disc on The Vinyl Factory Lathe for a limited vinyl edition, soon to be released by The Vinyl Factory and Serpentine Galleries.

Installation open 5 October to 14 December
Tuesday - Saturday 12-7pm, Sunday 12-6pm, closed Mondays
Open until 10pm on Thursday 14 December

Store Studios, 180 The Strand, London WC2R 1EA

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Related Events / Exhibitions

Exhibition

Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions

8 Jun 2017 to 10 Sep 2017

Featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus. The Serpentine presented the work of the acclaimed US filmmaker, cinematographer and artist Arthur Jafa. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic, multidisciplinary practice ranging from films and installations to lecture-performances and happenings that tackle, challenge and question prevailing cultural assumptions about identity and race.

View Exhibition

Live

The Magazine Restaurant

Listening Session: Arthur Jafa with Steve Coleman, Morgan Craft, Micah Gaugh, Melvin Gibbs, Jason Moran and Okwui Okpokwasili

9 Sep 2017 - 8:00 PM

During the final weekend of his solo exhibition at Serpentine Sackler Gallery, A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions, acclaimed artist, filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa presents a Listening Session with Steve Coleman, Morgan Craft, Micah Gaugh, Melvin Gibbs, Jason Moran, Okwui Okpokwasili and Kokayi Carl Walker.

View Event

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Arthur Jafa: LA Haze, Love is the Message

Arthur Jafa: LA Haze, Love is the Message

Arthur Jafa, still from Love is the Message, The Message is Death, 2016

Images courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome

Arthur Jafa, Love is the Message, the Message is Death

Arthur Jafa, Love is the Message, the Message is Death

2016
Arthur Jafa, Love is the Message, the Message is Death (Still). Image Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown's Enterprise
Arthur Jafa 11

Arthur Jafa 11

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (still), 2016; Video (colour, sound); 7 minutes 25 seconds; Courtesy: The Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise (New York / Rome).
Arthur Jafa 9

Arthur Jafa 9

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (still), 2016; Video (colour, sound); 7 minutes 25 seconds; Courtesy: The Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise (New York / Rome).
Arthur Jafa 8

Arthur Jafa 8

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (still), 2016; Video (colour, sound); 7 minutes 25 seconds; Courtesy: The Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise (New York / Rome).