What’s the Best Work of Art You Saw This Summer? 18 Well-Traveled Experts Weigh In.
One work especially has stayed with me from both halves of this summer’s documenta 14: Pélagie Gbaguidi’s The Missing Link, a powerfully complex installation.
The French artist’s visceral drawings of falling bodies, executed on long rolls of paper hanging from the ceiling, descended onto school desks whose surfaces were wrapped in translucent paper; beneath the wrapping I could make out black-and-white photographs of student uprisings in South Africa, as well as excerpts of the Code Noir, the 18th-century law that instituted slavery in the French colonies. Hidden too, within the installation, were small video screens, on which Gbaguidi performed haunting invocations. From a sprawling Documenta, Gbaguidi’s moving study of education, segregation, history, and memory is one that has endured the most for me.
Image credits: Mathias Völzke. Installation view of Pélagie Gbaguidi’s The Missing Link, Dicolonisation Education by Mrs Smiling Stone (2017). Courtesy of Neue Galerie, Kassel, documenta 14