Renée Green

1959 | Cleveland, United States
— Galerie Nagel Draxler

American artist, writer and filmmaker.

In addition to her artistic activity, Renée Green teaches at a number of universities across Europe and America. Her work is the fruit of a double heritage: conceptual art and postminimalism, as well as postcolonial critical discourse. At the core of her concerns are the place of the individual in history and the question of identity. She creates complex installations, often participative, composed of drawings, photographs, texts, videos and both personal and historic archives always related to the present. Amongst her works critical of colonialism are Color II (1990), which highlights the arbitrary nature of the links between colours and races, and Seen (1990), a homage to Saartjie Baartman, who was exhibited as an attraction at fairs during the 19th century and known as the Hottentot or Black Venus. This work invites the visitor to mount a platform surrounded by documents; their shadow is projected on the wall and they shift from onlooker to the subject being looked at.

Similarly, the artist printed the Commemorative Toile in 1993, a fabric similar to those intended for the bourgeoisie of the 17th century, but with motifs based on period engravings: a European licking the face of a black man to determine his market value, as well as scenes from the Haitian revolution in which French people are seen hanging. Between 1993 and 2005, R. Green produced a number of audio works and videos with her production company Free Agent Media. For example, Endless Dreams and Water Between (2008), a multimedia work that immerses us in the voices of four women, each with a different accent. In a constant back and forth between fiction and reality, this exchange of imaginary letters about George Sand’s A Winter in Majorca (1842) was an opportunity for the artist to reflect on the intersection of several worlds, and on what French art critic Elvan Zabunyan calls “an archive of oneself”.

Anaël Pigeat

Translated from French by Katia Porro.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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