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Zak Ové: Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness

Event, Exhibition (temporary) 8 April 2017 - 3 June 2018
    • This spring, we welcome an extraordinary assembly of 80 sculptures by British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové. Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness, a mass of identical two-metre-tall figures, is a striking statement within the Park’s 18th century landscape. Powerful and totemic, the impact of the group is amplified through their repeated forms, facing forward to confront the viewer en masse. The installation builds on Ové’s 2016 project for the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair which saw 40 figures sited in the courtyard of London’s Somerset House. In this location, the installation directly referenced Ben Jonson’s play The Masque of Blackness, which was enacted by Anne of Denmark and members of her court at Somerset House in 1605. Featuring white actors in blackface, the play was reflective of the societal shift towards a preference for lighter skin in the early 17th century. Ové also alludes to Ralph Ellison’s acclaimed novel The Invisible Man, a pioneering consideration of racism and marginalised communities in America told through the eyes of its black protagonist.
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