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Museum Exhibition

Theaster Gates at LUMA Arles


30 June - 3 November 2024

Arles, France

In collaboration with LUMA Arles, Theaster Gates presents ‘Le chant du centre’ (The song of the center). Building upon ‘Min | Mon’, his inaugural exhibition in Arles in 2023, ‘Le chant du centre’ continues the artist’s reflection on the relationships between space, craft and the cultural specificity of traditions that inform artistic production.

Honouring his artistic origins as a potter, Gates will transform LUMA Arles’s La Grande Halle into a clay manufacturing workshop, where visitors enter a site of the artist’s experimental ceramic production and sculptural research. Gates has created a sacred space around the Temple, an installation made from pottery ware-boards that hold his personal vinyl collection, a bar and other artworks.

Expanding on Gates’s exploration of the Japanese Mingei movement’s craft traditions in ‘Min I Mon’, this project reflects on the nature of Senegalese, Malian, Korean and Chinese workshops, where collectives of people work together to produce a particular style of making.

Speaking about ‘Le chant du centre’, Theaster Gates said, ‘Craft, to me, is interesting, but the political deployment of craft, the performativity of craft, the consumerism caused by craft, is where craft becomes instrumentalised to stand in for other social and economic ambitions. It is my desire to exhaust the questions within myself about the colonialisation that happens over the hand. Through this project, I interrogate my own faculty around what craft means, for whom I want it to have meaning and, quite possibly, its meaninglessness.’

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