Harlem’s renown as the epicenter of black culture in the US is at the heart of Fly Paper, which builds on an interplay of artistic forms as much as it engages Joseph’s relationship to an accomplished community of black artists, writers, actors, and musicians who call New York home. Through various references to literature and narration, Fly Paper also probes the ways in which the literary imagination parallels that of film and how the ordinary act of storytelling shapes larger histories and enduring myths. With its dexterous ambiguities in narrative and its heterogeneous depictions of Harlem, Joseph’s film takes measure of depths and nuances that are often invisible or oversimplified. Fly Paper also moves beyond the visible by expanding Joseph’s practice into sound, unfolding a complex acoustic environment in which sonic textures and original compositions resonate throughout the exhibition space. As a rich and polyphonic portrait of black art and culture in New York City, Fly Paper invites a meditation on the slippery nature of memory, reverie, and the photographic image.
“Kahlil Joseph: Shadow Play” is curated by Natalie Bell, Assistant Curator, and Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director.
Kahlil Joseph (b. 1981, Seattle, WA) is an artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. His first solo presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2015), was followed by two-person exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, with his late brother Noah Davis (2016), and at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, with Henry Taylor (2016). Joseph has screened his works in the Toronto International Film Festival, the Marfa Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival, where he received the Grand Jury Prize for Short Films in 2013. He has also exhibited in group shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2016); the Hayward Gallery, London (2016); the Underground Museum, Los Angeles (2015); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2014). In 2016, Joseph was nominated for an Emmy award for his co-direction of Beyonce’s Lemonade. He is also the recipient of a 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and a 2017 Los Angeles Artadia Award.