Hobson’s Choice – Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Corvi-Mora

28 March 2013 By
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Love Without (installation view), 2013. Courtesy Corvi-Mora, London and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Marcus Leith.

1 March – 13 April 2013

1A Kempsford Road (off Wincott Street), London SE11 4NU


Open Tuesday – Saturday 11.00 – 18.00. Please note the gallery is closed Friday 29 March and Saturday 30 March.

Lynette Yiadom Boakye is a British artist of Ghanaian descent living and working in London who creates un-heroic portraits of sitters and figures in landscapes – mostly dark skinned – drawing on the compositional and painterly conventions of nineteenth and twentieth century Western portraiture.  They are so arresting, it is hard to believe that the subjects she portrays are not real people, but fictions from scrapbooks, drawings and her imagination.  Her exhibition at Corvi-Mora in South London features new paintings which continue her interest in an evolving cast of characters – bold, sometimes confrontational subjects, sometimes conspicuously averting their gaze – without ever making explicit why and where they might be situated or any particular narrative.  They exist in an art historical vacuum yet are overtly contemporary in their attitude, often rather bourgeois in their dress and body language.  Given the absence of black subjects in European painting – apart from slaves, servant or noble savages – it is easy to read the work as post-colonial, but Yiadom Boakye’s paintings resist any specific reading, opening up instead an uncomfortably direct and compelling encounter with the interior theatre of a gifted painter.

Main image: Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, The Love Without (installation view), 2013. Courtesy Corvi-Mora, London and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photo: Marcus Leith.