Untitled (America/Me) (2022)
Drawing inspiration from works of literature, political speeches, and historical documents, Glenn Ligon undertakes sociologically acute investigations into US history and questions traditional narratives around race and identity. By juxtaposing historical and cultural elements, the artist foregrounds the power of the past over the present, bringing into focus the pervasiveness of structural injustice. Besides the text-based paintings with which Ligon made a name for himself in the 1990s, sprawling installations and neon sculptures are also integral parts of his oeuvre. One of his earliest neons featured the word “America” in capital letters; it was followed by a series of related works in which the artist probed the dichotomy implicit in the idea of America. Regarding the neon sculpture seen in his edition for TEXTE ZUR KUNST, the light tube is covered by a coat of black paint on the front-facing surface, creating an eclipse effect. The fact that most of the letters of “America” are crossed out, leaving only a “me” in place, alludes to the work’s selfreflective dimension as well as to the complex relationship between the individual and society. “Untitled (America / Me)” was printed by Griffin Editions in a total edition of fifty. Painted elements added by the artist’s hand make each print a unique work. Ten copies are available from TEXTE ZUR KUNST; additional prints are sold through Primary Information in New York, and Carré d’Art in Nîmes.