Iké Udé Curators: Mark Bessire et Lauri Firstenberg Beyond Decorum : The Photography of Iké Udé
Vernissage on Saturday, February 24, at 5 pm
Exhibition organised and circulated by the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art, Portland
From his provocative Cover Girl series featuring photographic portraits of himself on the cover of popular magazines to his writing on sexuality and identity, the work of Nigerian-born Iké Udé explores a world of duality: African/postnationalist, photography/performance artist, artist/spectator, male/female, mainstream/marginal, seduction/narcissism and fashion/ art.
The mid-career retrospective brings together close to two hundred works from the 1990s. The exhibition maps out the artist’s significant shift in medium from painting to photography which includes the use of selfportrait and engages with the growing relationship of art and fashion. The exhibition situates the work of the artist within a global contemporary art context, avoiding the label of “African art” that often accompanies exhibitions of contemporary African artists.
The substantial publication available includes an interview between Okwui Enwezor and the artist, along with essays by Aimée Bessire, Lauri Firstenberg, Kobena Mercer, Valerie Steele and Iké Udé.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Iké Udé is an artist, esthete, writer, and publisher of New York-based aRUDE magazine. After studying in Nigeria and the United States, Udé started his artistic career as a painter in the late 1980s. In the early 1990s, he began using photography to explore and deconstruct issues of representation and identity. His research engages him to use different forms of mass communication including magazines, video, film and television. He is working on his first feature The Exquisites, as well as an experimental dance/fashion/multimedia film. Udé was included in numerous exhibitions around the world most notably IN / SIGHT : African Photographers, 1940-Present, (1996), organized by a team including Okwui Enwezor for the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Johannesburg Second Biennial, 1997. Udé lives and works in New York.