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Visual arts

ARTHUR JAFA | LOVE IS THE MESSAGE, THE MESSAGE IS DEATH

ARTHUR JAFA | LOVE IS THE MESSAGE, THE MESSAGE IS DEATH

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January 8, 2020 to March 1, 2020

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal Book

From January 8th to march 1st 2020.

The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is presenting Love is the Message, the Message is Death, 2016, a rapid-fire montage of images from a mesmerizing range of sources set, to "Kanye West’s hip-hop song Ultralight Beam."

The work grew out of the recognition of the widespread circulation of images of the abuse of black bodies on YouTube. It oscillates between scenes of untenable violence and images of ordinary black life as well as iconic clips of such figures as Coretta King, Barack Obama, Nina Simone, Serena Williams and Lebron James, among many others. Kanye West’s gospel inspired track with its enveloping repetition of the lyrics, “this is a God dream, this is a God dream, this is everything,” offers a sensual counterpoint to the intensity of the quick succession of image.

At once a celebration of black creativity and excellence, and a depiction of the violence of the state, this immersive projection presents powerful and devastating manifestations of physical restraint and liberation, adapting for the screen the complexity of the Afro-American music experimentation.