Magazine article Artforum International

Stan Douglas David Zwirner

Magazine article Artforum International

Stan Douglas David Zwirner

Article excerpt

In the spring of 1974, a coup d'etat in Portugal sent the dictatorship of Antonio de Oliveira Salazar tumbling from power. Salazar himself had died some years earlier, having suffered a brain hemorrhage in 1968, when he reportedly fell from a chair. His colleagues in the Estado Novo party were not only right-wing and repressive but were also increasingly unable to manage Portugal's far-flung colonies. When the junta finally seized hold of the state, it simply cut those colonies loose. And so, like the dominoes of Arab autocracies in a more recent season of supposed reawakening and rebirth, countries across Lusophone Africa, such as Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique, found themselves thrust into independence and, more often than not, plunged into civil war.

As case studies in postcolonialism go, Angola was in many ways the most fascinating of the former colonies, in that the three parties that were fighting it out there represented, in ideology and patronage alike, the full postimperial spectrum of political hopes and dreams. In recent work such as "Disco Angola," a series of photographs from 2012, and a mesmerizing new video, Luanda-Kinshasa, 2014, the Canadian artist Stan Douglas approaches the Angola of the 1970s as a kind of utopian space, a place of experimentation, ambition, and drive. To see the country and its capital city, Luanda, as such has allowed him to make highly intriguing if also just barely plausible connections to American disco, the migration of Afrobeat, and, happening just about contemporaneously and a few hundred miles north, in Kinshasa (the capital of what was then Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), the "Rumble in the Jungle," Muhammad Ali's legendary championship boxing match against George Foreman.

Re-creation and reenactment have always been among Douglas's most interesting and critical tools, and for his twelfth solo exhibition at David Zwirner, he spent the summer of 2013 with a roomful of formidably talented musicians, all dressed to the nines in vintage '70s fashion, painstakingly reconstructing the interior of a fabled midtown Manhattan music studio that had been housed in an abandoned Armenian church on East Thirtieth Street. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.