Une ligue d’un: Black Testament
May 5, 2023 to June 3, 2023
In Une ligue d’un: Black Testament, composer, music director, and artist Renée Baker showcases a surrealist view of the possibilities of black artistry.
This exhibition Une ligue d’un, which translates to “a league of one,” includes large paintings on paper, sculptures, and an experimental film that create unexpected and dramatic entries into the audio-visual arena. Having created a system of visualizing and interpreting musical information and scores, a system she calls CCL (Cipher Conduit Linguistics), there is no distinguishable decision between her visual and audio worlds. This technique uses semantic concepts and gestures of composition to influence the perception of an image as not just an image, but as partner to the chosen score sounds.
Baker’s devotion to recontextualizing boundaries within her work also contains a twist of social détournement; as she addresses the often less than honest portrayal of people, especially the lives of African Americans in the 1900’s. Listening to and seeing new soundscapes gives the audience a different way to view “otherness,” enacting a form of social justice without overt protest, and presenting positive narratives of cultural life without changing a frame.
With her unique juxtaposition of styles, rhythms, and moods, new meanings arise in the listeners relationship with sound art. Reinterpreting, reevaluating, and reimagining the merging of images and sound brings another level of analysis and appreciation. Nothing is easily packaged. Subtle ruptures between imagery and sound achieves an edge of experimentation that drives the images towards a narrative not controlled by either the viewer or the creator. Her intent is to convince the viewer’s mind to marry the two elements and encourage a flow that at first glance appears mismatched; but that ultimately create a comfortable dissonance that allows the viewer to take their interpretation to a new “anywhere” without losing sight of the historical sources that interrogate what lies beneath.