Derek Fordjour Will Settle the "SCORE" in Immersive New Exhibition and Performance
Derek Fordjour isn't just making art exhibitions of painitings. The Spring 2022 cover artist has been showing us his paintings in the context of performance, of immersion, of situating the viewer into a place where the paintings are stunningly enhanced and the layers highlighted while you hear and walk through sights and sounds that get you into a place. He did this in his last solo show at David Kordansky in Los Angeles, making you experience a mythical magic show that spoke to the history of LA and the artist's practice. A new place. Layers of place, like the work on the canvases. "Layering fundamentally changed my relationship to surface texture and greatly expanded my vocabulary," Fordjour said in that cover story, and he may as well be speaking about how layering made him layer his exhibitions with new medias and collaborations to expand his vision. And SCORE is definitely that.
Spanning the entire ground floor of Petzel Gallery’s Chelsea outpost, " this exhibition typifies the artist’s continued practice of presenting various modes of representation, medium, format and display. Fordjour’s SCORE combines a suite of new paintings and sculpture by the artist (South Gallery) with a multilevel, indoor architectural installation (East Gallery) and custom-built performance space (West Gallery)."
But it is the performance collaboratin that has us excited, part of what makes Fordjour so fascinating. As we look at some of the previews and teasers of the show, in SCORE, Fordjour debuts his latest collaboration, Arena, an original ensemble movement piece, jointly composed with renowned choreographer Sidra Bell, founder of Sidra Bell Dance New York. Arena will be performed twice daily in the West Gallery. As the gallery notes, "With live musical accompaniment from Hannah Mayree of The Black Banjo Reclamation Project, five dancers will animate the space, performing the original choreographic score atop a packed dirt floor, within a built environment, which includes a sculptural seating structure and custom tent. Informed directly from the artist’s paintings, original costume and lighting design infuse theatricality into the artist’s oeuvre. Arena grapples with notions of performance and abstraction through live action in a kaleidoscopic exploration of labor, history, power and race."
SCORE is, indeed, about layers, and how Fordjour continues to think about how his own studio practice can expand into a presentation and accompaniment. This is another exciting chapter. —Evan Pricco