Sanford Biggers, BAM (for Jordan), 2017
HD video, 0:38
With thanks to Crystal McCrary, Raymond J. McGuire and Marianne Boesky Gallery.
About the artist
Sanford Biggers (U.S., 1970) is a multimedia artist living and working in Harlem, New York. Through his work, he aims to create a place for forms of urban culture such as hip-hop and social activism within contemporary art.
Biggers: ‘Since 2012, the world has witnessed the killings of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice and literally countless other unarmed black citizens at the hands of the police, who frequently walk away without punishment. With these victims in mind, alongside numerous occasions in which even I — a law-abiding Ivy-league professor — have been targeted and harassed at gun point by the police — I created this body of work simply entitled BAM.’
About the artwork
BAM (for Jordan) commemorates Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Texan from Dallas who died in 2017 from shots fired by a police officer. Jordan was leaving a party together with his bother when an officer shot their driving car from behind. The artwork consists of two components. In the first room we see a replica of a mukudj mask from Gabon, West Africa. This mask depicts the idealised image of a woman and is associated with spirituality, healing and connection with the ancestors. Obscuring its surface, the mask has been heavily waxed, then shot with bullets and enveloped in silver-plating. The second room shows the mask’s shooting, recorded on film. The work is installed in the shooting range of Het HEM’s former munitions factory, whereby the local context echoes through the artwork and its topical content.
Statement Edson Sabajo & Guillaume Schmidt
Guillaume: ‘That we can show this work in this context is just insane. This is an exceptionally important work. It really opens your eyes to what’s going on right now in the United States, but also elsewhere in the world, where black youths appear to be seen as a shooting target. The work of Sanford — and also Ebony G. Patterson—reveal a duality. The black body is king, but simultaneously incredibly fragile. It’s a disarming artwork and very much of today. There’s an element of activism in this piece.’