Codex presents the latest work by internationally renowned installation artist, Sanford Biggers. Using a complex system of imagery including star maps, dance notations, the Buddhist lotus composed of a slave ship diagram, and cloud forms made out of raw cotton, Biggers explores the Afrofuturist notion of Harriet Tubman as astronaut as she led slaves to their freedom guided by the stars. The theme of transcendence, represented by the lotus motif and cloud imagery, reminds the viewer of the power of the human will to overcome oppression. Many of these late nineteenth-, early-twentieth-century quilts were donated to Biggers by the descendant of slave owners adding a poignant historical echo to the work. This exhibition is the result of the Greenfield Prize commission awarded in 2010 by the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Greenfield Foundation.
A native of Los Angeles, California, and current New York resident, Sanford Biggers uses the study of ethnological objects, popular icons, and the Dadaist tradition to explore cultural and creative syncretism, art history, and politics. An accomplished musician, Biggers often incorporates performative elements into his sculptures and installations, resulting in multilayered works that act as anecdotal vignettes, at once full of wit and clear formal intent. Biggers has won several awards including: The Creative Time Travel Grant, Creative Capital Project Grant, New York Percent for the Arts Commission, Art Matters Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Award in performance art/multidisciplinary work, the Lambent Fellowship in the arts, the Pennies From Heaven/ New York Community Trust Award, Tanne Foundation Award, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award Grant, James Nelson Raymond Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Camille Hanks-Cosby Fellowship.
Mr. Biggers has also participated in several prestigious national and international artist residencies and fellowships including; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany, Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California, ARCUS Project Foundation, Ibaraki, Japan, and the Art in General/ Trafo Gallery Eastern European Exchange in Budapest, Hungary. He has been a fellow of the Socrates Sculpture Park Residency, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council World Views AIR Program, the Eyebeam Atelier Teaching Residency, the Studio Museum AIR Program, the P.S. 1 International Studio Program, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency.
Sanford Biggers installations, videos, and performances have appeared in venues worldwide including the Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London, the Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. Sanford has been included in several notable shows such as Prospect 1/ New Orleans Biennial, Illuminations at the Tate Modern, Performa 07, the Whitney Biennial and Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has also had solo exhibitions at Grand Arts, Kansas City, Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles, Kenny Schachter's ROVE gallery, London, Triple Candie, New York, D?Amelio Terras Gallery, New York, Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Matrix/Univ.of Berkeley Museum, Berkeley, Zamek Ujazdowski, Warsaw as well as venues in Hungary, Indonesia, Japan.
Quilt #9 (Cheshire), 2012
Repurposed quilt, fabric treated acrylic, spray paint, cotton fabric, 72? x 72?
Photography by Giovanni Lunardi
All work copyright Sanford Biggers, 2012