Paul Mpagi Sepuya The Art of Relationships
June 16, 2021
Wilkinson College continues to highlight art work acquired by the Escalette Collection of Art this year as part of the Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race Initiative.
This month we introduce Paul Mpagi Sepuya, an American photographer whose works deconstruct viewers’ expectations of the nude and self-portrait in art, and meditate on the fragmentation of queer and photographed bodies. His goal is for “queer, black photographs to exist within historic and contemporary conversations about photography as a whole, affirming the medium and my personal investment in its possible futures.”
Manipulating perspective using mirrors, drapery, and collage, Sepuya complicates subjective relationships within the image. Rather than attempting to capture the complexity of relationships, Sepuya’s work purposely obscures and opens their intimacy for viewers in ways that “end up transforming us in unanticipated ways, and producing another set of relations.” In Screen 0X5A8295, for example, the outward facing direction of the camera positions the viewer not only as a participant, but as the subject of the work.