The Golden March - Solo exhibition and performance / SCAD Museum of Art (Savannah - USA)
October 3rd > January 19th 2020
SCAD Museum of Art presents The Golden March, a new public art commission and the first museum solo exhibition in the U.S. by Raphaël Barontini, an artist known for his dynamic installations that subvert visual tropes and iconographies. Barontini’s works are mostly fiber-based, and he creates images by layering screen prints and paintings, fashioning fantastical environments that evoke pageantry and ceremony. The artist explores ritualized celebration forms espoused by the African Diaspora and offers an ongoing interrogation and challenge to colonial iconographies.
The project is conceived within the framework of the exhibition Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom. Barontini’s work complements the Douglass exhibition while remaining wholly its own experience. The Golden March comprises two parts: a performance in collaboration with the Savannah High School Marching Band and a site-specific installation of new work for the four iconic Jewel Boxes lining the façade of the museum.
Like an opera in many acts, Barontini approached the commission as a fractional narrative and tribute to the life and work of abolitionist, author and social reformer Frederick Douglass. Each of the four Jewel Boxes is a poetic reflection on Douglass’ life history, in the form of large-scale textile installations based on visual material from the Douglass family archives of Dr. Walter O. Evans. Barontini also invokes the shapes and forms of protest banners, flags and boat sails, references to both Douglass’ legacy as a radical and revolutionary force in American history, as well as a symbol of his escape to freedom.
A performance entitled The Golden March will be staged during the reception of the exhibition, with the marching band revealing each Jewel Box while carrying banners and flags created by the artist in a public parade.
The exhibition is curated by Storm Janse van Rensburg, head curator of SCAD Exhibitions and Ben Tollefson, assistant curator of SCAD Exhibitions.
Additional funding for the exhibition is provided by Étant donnés Contemporary Art, a program of the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Foundation. Étant donnés is developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, with lead funding from the Florence Gould Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Chanel USA, the ADAGP, the French Ministry of Culture, and Institut Français.