Awol Erizku

Serendipity, 2015

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Chromogenic print
11.0 x 14.0 in (27.9 x 35.6 cm)
2 of 15
Signed on verso


This work ships from Los Angeles, CA, US.


This still life in Erizku’s photograph evolved from the artist’s first film, Serendipity (2015), where Erizku symbolically destroyed Michelangelo’s David and replaced it with a bust depicting the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.

The work explores how art institutions claim and represent cultural space through a western specific lens. This still life composition includes a white bust of Nefertiti with everyday objects set against a white background that serve as tropes for Black invisibility and whitewashing in art history and art historical discourse.

About Awol Erizku

Awol Erizku (b. 1988, Addis Ababa) is a conceptual artist who works across photography, film, painting, and sculpture. Born in Ethiopia and raised in the Bronx, Erizku developed a sensitivity to the social and political implications of images. After studying at Cooper Union (BFA) and Yale University (MFA), his first gestures were direct reflections of art history’s masterpieces, working in parallel with other contemporary artists such as Chris Ofili and Kerry James Marshall. At the core of Erizku’s conceptual practice is the investigation of and response to tensions between Western art and the lack of black agency. Erizku uses a variety of mediums and techniques, each stemming from a core of assemblage, to collapse history and conscript images that empower black identity. As his experimentation with art-historical tropes continues, Erizku creates interventions that not only respond to history but also make space for new narratives.