Kehinde Wiley - The Call, 2019	 HUILE SUR LIN, 271,5 X 210 CM, 106 7/8 X 82 5/8 IN, © Courtesy of the artist & Galerie Templon

Templon Gallery presents “Tahiti – Kehinde Wiley”

« I am interested in transformation and artifice. My newest exhibition will engage with the history of France and its outward facing relationship to black and brown bodies, specifically relating to sexual proclivity. Gauguin features heavily in the imagination of France and her global interface – with that comes an entire history of complicated gazing. I interrogate, subsume, and participate in discourse about Māhū, about France, and about the invention of gender. » .– Kehinde Wiley, 2019

Kehinde Wiley, star of the American art scene, official portrait painter of Barack Obama, and founder of the multidisciplinary artist residency program “Black Rock Sénégal” is back in Paris. For his first Parisian exhibition since the 2016 show at Petit Palais, he will be unveiling a new series of paintings and a video-installation based on his time spent this past year in Tahiti.

Kehinde Wiley - The Siesta, 2019 HUILE SUR LIN, 210 X 271,5 CM, 82 7/8 X 106 7/8 IN, Courtesy Galerie Templon
Kehinde Wiley – The Siesta, 2019
HUILE SUR LIN, 210 X 271,5 CM, 82 7/8 X 106 7/8 IN, Courtesy Galerie Templon

Wiley’s new works are focused on Tahiti’s Māhū community, the traditional Polynesian classification of people of a third gender, between male and female.  The Māhū were highly respected within their society until they were banned by Catholic and Protestant missionaries.

Kehinde Wiley - Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta II, 2019 HUILE SUR LIN, 190 X 240 CM, 74 3/4 X 94 1/2 IN, Courtesy Galerie Templon
Kehinde Wiley – Portrait of Kea Loha Mahuta II, 2019
HUILE SUR LIN, 190 X 240 CM, 74 3/4 X 94 1/2 IN, Courtesy Galerie Templon

Wiley’s portraits of beautiful, transgender Tahitian women reference and confront Paul Gauguin’s celebrated works, which also feature subjects from the transgender community, but are fraught with historical undertones of colonialism and sexual objectification.

Building off of Wiley’s earlier portraits that addressed issues of masculine identity and virility, these new portraits explore issues of identity through the lens of transformation, exploring both artifice and artificiality as a trans-cultural phenomenon.

Kehinde Wiley - Portrait of Tuatini Manate III, 2019 HUILE SUR LIN , 180 X 241,5 CM, 70 7/8 X 95 1/8 IN, Courtesy of Galerie Templon
Kehinde Wiley – Portrait of Tuatini Manate III, 2019
HUILE SUR LIN , 180 X 241,5 CM, 70 7/8 X 95 1/8 IN, Courtesy of Galerie Templon

Over the past fifteen years, Wiley has developed a remarkable body of work that at once questions and participates in the western art-historical canon of portraiture. Wiley’s encounter with Tahiti joins with the artist’s continued journey across the contemporary world, following his explorations of North America, South Asia, and West Africa.

Wiley’s focus on Tahiti now offers the opportunity to re-examine France, its colonial history, and its image through the prism of Gauguin’s work. True to his oeuvre, this exhibition presents a uniquely political and aesthetic perspective on the power of art to shift perception and to make visible history’s forgotten figures.

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GALERIE TEMPLON
28 rue du Grenier Saint-Lazare
75003 Paris – France
Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm
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