ENGLISH JAPANESE

CURRENT EXHIBITION

Gerhard Richter - Abstrakt. SELECTED WORK FROM THE COLLECTION

November 19, 2021 – May 5, 2022

Rashid Johnson, Plateaus, 2014 (details). © Rashid Johnson. Photo credits: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

“Every material I use has a utilitarian purpose. Shea butter speaks to body coating and the failure to acquire an African-ness through its application. The books disseminate information. The goal is for all of the material to ‘miscegenate’ into a new language with me as its author. The armatures are the platform for this miscegenation. They exist as unknown spaces to be colonised.” Rashid Johnson

The Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is honoured to present Plateaus (2014) by Rashid Johnson, exhibited for the first time in Japan. This exhibition exists within the greater framework of the Fondation Louis Vuitton “Hors-les-murs" programme in which exclusive holdings of the Fondation’s collection are showcased to an international public at the Espaces Louis Vuitton Tokyo, München, Venezia, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka.

American artist Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) studied photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2001, his first photographic works swiftly garnered recognition in the United States as part of a post-Civil Rights Movement generation termed “post-Black,” composed of creators who refuse to be reduced to mere “Black artist” status and demand a complex redefinition of their identity. In 2006, he moved to New York where his practice diversified to include sculpture, painting, drawing, film, performance and installation.

In his family, both American history and African history, politics and philosophy, have import: his stepfather introduced him to literature, writers and thinkers (James Baldwin, Henry Miller, James Joyce…), while his historian mother instilled in him a deep respect for history. Johnson’s works thereby echo his culture and his highly diverse influences, from musicians Sun Ra and Bootsy Collins, to artists Joseph Beuys and David Hammons. This diversity is reflected in the wide range of materials he uses, including: wax, wood, steel, copper, shea butter, ceramics, as well as found objects such as books, vinyl LPs, videotapes, plants and walkie-talkies. Johnson challenges cultural, personal and racial identity, mixing material and historical references. Still, his works are not necessarily demonstrative – they are to be seen as puzzles in which materials, figures and objects work to express emotional states.

Plateaus (2014) is part of a set of installations about which Johnson recently remarked: “In a way, that body of work has always lived with me: the books you find inside of it, the films that are screened on its monitors, all the organic materials... Those are all signifiers and tools I have a long engagement with. I was introduced to the books either in my childhood or graduate school, or even beyond. The structure being a grid is, of course, a democratising vehicle for how we consume […]. It doesn’t take on a sense of hierarchy. I’ve always thought of these installations as brains, complicated structures that allow signifiers to flourish and expand and be in conversation with other signifiers. Obviously, reading such a work is not easy. What would shea butter from my childhood have to do with a copy of Harold W. Cruse’s The Crises of the Negro Intellectual? Or a copy of an Alcoholics Anonymous book? Or a palm tree? You start to put these things together and give them agency. These are installations that require time. After giving it space and time, you can find out about the references to the idea of an archive, personal archives from my childhood...”

Plateaus is the first piece in this series of installations. With this emblematic work which belongs to the Collection, the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo is pleased to highlight the oeuvre of this key artist within the framework of the”Hors-les-murs” programme of the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

About the Fondation Louis Vuitton
The Fondation Louis Vuitton serves the public interest and is exclusively dedicated to contemporary art and artists, as well as 20th-century works to which their inspirations can be traced. The Collection and the exhibitions it organises seek to engage a broad public. The magnificent building created by the Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, and already recognized as an emblematic example of the 21st-century architecture, constitutes the Fondation’s seminal artistic statement. Since its opening in October 2014, the Fondation has welcomed more than seven million visitors from France and around the world. The Fondation Louis Vuitton commits to engage in international initiatives, both at the Fondation and in partnership with public and private institutions, including other foundations and museums such as the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersburg (Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection in 2016 and The Morozov Collection in 2021), the MoMA in New York (Being Modern: MoMA in Paris), and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London (The Courtauld Collection. A Vision for Impressionism) among others. The artistic direction also developed a specific “Hors-les-murs” programme taking place within the Espaces Louis Vuitton in Tokyo, Munich, Venice, Beijing, Seoul and Osaka, which are exclusively devoted to exhibitions of works from the Collection. These exhibitions are open to the public free of charge and promoted through specific cultural communication.

ARTIST

Portrait of Rashid Johnson, in front of his work Plateaus (2014) at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017)

© Rashid Johnson
Photo credits: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Felix Cornu

Rashid Johnson

Born in Chicago in 1977, Rashid Johnson studied at Columbia College of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago (USA). In 2001, his first photographic works swiftly garnered recognition in the United States. He then moved to New York City, where his practice diversified to include sculpture, painting, drawing, film, performance and installation.

An internationally recognised artist, Johnson recently completed a major commission for the Metropolitan Opera and an outdoor sculpture at the Storm King Art Center in New York. Johnson has had solo exhibitions at institutions such as the National Gallery, Ottawa, Canada (2021); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2019); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, USA (2019); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, USA (2017); and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2016). Major group exhibitions include Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, New Museum, New York (2021); The Stomach and the Port, Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom (2021); The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, the MoMA, New York (2014); and ILLUMInations, International Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (2011). His work is present in many private collections, including those of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

His feature debut, an adaptation of Native Son by Richard Wright, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was released on HBO in 2019.

ARTWORK

Plateaus, 2014
Exhibition view at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017)

© Rashid Johnson
Photo credits: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Plateaus (detail), 2014
Exhibition view at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017)

© Rashid Johnson
Photo credits: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

Plateaus (detail), 2014
Exhibition view at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris (2017)

© Rashid Johnson
Photo credits: © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage

page top
© ESPACE LOUIS VUITTON TOKYO TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF USE