Fridman Gallery opens a group exhibition curated by Maty Sall
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Fridman Gallery opens a group exhibition curated by Maty Sall
Hilary Balu, Les Yeux Sont Inutiles Quand l'Esprit est Aveugle, 2024, Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, 67 x 67 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- Fridman Gallery opened A Billion, Brilliant Points of Unity, a group exhibition curated by Maty Sall.

The belief that different cultures are not separate but rather inherently interconnected, sharing past and present influences, is generally known as polyculturalism. And, in as much as it is a belief, it is also an observation of perpetual flux that points us towards an obvious truth: human beings are engaged in an eternal process of cultural exchange. Our history is one of mutual influence, a constant migration and exchange of people, ideas, and objects.

The current popular understanding of how cultures interact has morphed into a simplified notion of cultural exchange as a system of top-down oppression that frames non-Western people and their art as "source material." This both denies non-Western people the dignity of being influential and casts the Western world into the role of "observer" while framing non-Westerners as, simply, the "observed." Moreover, it could not be further from the historical truth: a Hellenistic influence on Indian art and architecture is documented from the 4th century BC onwards. It was just as 17th century Chinese potters began to emulate Ottoman and Safavid ceramic designs that 17th century Europe developed a fascination with Chinoiserie. The distinct stylistic qualities of Byzantine art reveal centuries’ of influence from North and East Africa on the Eastern Mediterranean. And, famously, when seeking to reinvent the human figure Cubism looked straight towards African art.

Nearly a quarter of the way through the twenty-first century, this cross-pollination has only intensified. In all instances, the works featured in A Billion, Brilliant Points of Unity push back against a deterministic vision of human identity centered on division and against fatalistic notions of difference. As the contemporary world reorients itself around new forms of material production, new channels of trade, and increasingly rapid means of communication, for those who wish to break new ground, abundant sources of inspiration come from all directions.

As information travels faster and faster, polyculturalism hints at what the future holds—we are not moving towards a single, homogenous culture, but towards a billion, brilliant points of unity. We are accelerating towards immaculate multiplicity brimming with potential and, time and time again, it is artists who find themselves on the vanguard of this eternal cultural exchange.

A Billion, Brilliant Points of Unity features works by Hilary Balu, Kokou Ferdinand Makouvia, Laurena Fineus, Ambrose Rhapsody Murray, Terrence Musekiwa, Adjani Okpu-Egbe, Rakajoo, Sahana Ramakrishnan, Yelaine Rodriguez, David Smalling, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Malaika Temba, Maya Ines Touam, and Saya Woolfalk.

[Text by Grace Nkem. Edited by Maty Sall.]

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