Lorna Simpson: Momentum
The Conceptual Artist Travels Back in Time For Her Surreal New Film
Artist Lorna Simpson conjures a childhood memory for a pirouette-filled film that ran May 13 to June 18, 2011 at her representative gallery, Salon 94. Coated in gold body paint and accessorized with matching afros, the ballet corps starring in Momentum comprises a group of New York dancers handpicked by the Brooklyn native to reenact her own stage debut at the age of eleven. "I was very surprised by a powerful sense of reversal while performing," she recalls. "I had this intense urge to occupy the role of observer, as opposed to being immersed in my well-rehearsed effort. I [wanted] to satisfy my need to be the spectator of this performance." Alongside the video installation, two large-scale felt works silk-screened in gold ink and depicting 1970s postcards of New York’s Lincoln Center, the venue of the original performance, are also on show. The pioneering conceptual photographer, who has shown at the Whitney, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walker Art Center, revisits themes of gender, cultural identity and history in her work: a recent series for the Brooklyn Museum saw Simpson recreate vintage 1950s images of African Americans with herself as the subject.