Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s project is a study of black material in reproduction and subject position. Digital photographs produced as salt paper prints present questions about the fidelity of black as an unfixed value. Sepuya (Black) holds, presses, and affixes an unexposed Fuji Instant Print (black) against cut and torn work prints depicting fragments of various (Black) bodies in embrace. The warm tones of the salt paper print process contain no absolute black or white values, allowing the subjects of the work to resist collapsing through language into a singular black.
Sepuya (b. 1982, San Bernardino, CA) has had solo museum exhibitions at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO; Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, TX and FOAM Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, among others. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at institutions including the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2015); Artist Institute, Hunter College, City University of New York (2016); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016); New Museum, New York (2017); Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2018); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2018); and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2018). He was featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Sepuya was awarded the Rema Hort Mann Foundation’s Los Angeles Emerging Artist Grant in 2017. Sepuya lives and works in Los Angeles.