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Julie Mehretu, „Among the Multitude III“, 2020-21

Julie Mehretu

Among the Multitude III (2020-21)

New York–based artist Julie Mehretu is celebrated for her monumental abstract canvases that explore the medium of painting and take inspiration from history and lived experiences. She was honored with a comprehensive survey organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2019. With gestural, sweeping lines and saturated color, her paintings carve out space with exquisite tension between legibility and opacity, surface and depth, light and shadow. For TEXTE ZUR KUNST, Mehretu offers a limited-run poster, signed by the artist on the reverse, of her 2021–22 painting “Among the Multitude III” in acrylic and ink on canvas. The painting was included in Mehretu’s solo exhibition in Berlin at carlier | gebauer in fall 2021, alongside related works. The canvases in this series begin by researching images that document political subjects – immigration detention centers, social upheaval, ecological disaster – that Mehretu distorts beyond recognition in Photoshop before layering the surface with her idiosyncratic marks in a range of media. This transformation of the abject into abstraction is a hallmark of her practice. And while her work begins with urgent political subjects, Mehretu wields abstraction’s opacity to create “a potent space for radical imagination.”