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Gallery Talk: Jimmy Robert and Naomi Beckwith

Sat, Aug 25, 2012

Jimmy Robert and Naomi Beckwith

Artist Jimmy Robert and MCA Curator Naomi Beckwith
January 26, 2012
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, Jimmy Robert Vis-à-vis, artist Jimmy Robert and curator Naomi Beckwith give an in-gallery talk about the works on view and the artist’s practice.

As part of its series focusing on artists between the emergent and mid-career stages of their careers, the MCA presents the work of the Brussels-based artist Jimmy Robert. Born in Guadeloupe, France, in 1975 and raised in Paris, Robert received his degree in Fine Art and Critical Theory from Goldsmiths College (London, UK) in 1999 and an MFA from the Rijksakademie (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) in 2005. Robert is part of a generation of artists who take for granted the dictum “the personal is political,” having been raised and educated in the 1980s and 90s under national conditions where the question of who is a citizen—personally and politically—was hotly contested. While many artists of those decades created conspicuous political artworks, Robert instead turns toward cultural figures—avant-garde writers, filmmakers, visual artists—who were both pioneers in their respective art forms and deft at subtly registering the traumas and effects of their respective social conditions.

This is both Robert’s first large-scale solo exhibition and his first major showing in the United States. One of the most dynamic young artists living in Europe, Robert works in a range of media, including photography, sculptural objects, film, video, and collaborative performances. What unites these different threads is a concern for the body and a guiding interest in the poetic potential of ephemeral materials, such as paper, tape, and performance.