Imitation of Life: Melodrama and Race in the 21st Century

Imitation of Life looks at the performance of racial politics in an evolving, digital world. Oral histories and verbatim storytelling drawn from theatre and cinema, painting and sculpture, all confront the fluid, changing politics of representation and race.

Inspired by the 1959 film of the same name (by legendary German-American director Douglas Sirk), this exhibition, like the film, is filled with subtext and double meaning. Imitation of Life considers the context of racial politics over the last fifteen years in the US and Europe, focusing on artists whose work uses (melo)drama as a form of social, political and institutional critique. The group exhibition includes a new commission from Sophia Al-Maria and work from Larry Achiampong, Michael Armitage, Kevin Beasley, Jordan Casteel, Loulou Cherinet, Loretta Fahrenholz, Lauren Halsey, Tony Lewis, Jayson Musson, Jacolby Satterwhite and Martine Syms.

Alongside the exhibition, we will be publishing a new book, Fear Eats the Soul, featuring responses by artists and writers to the exhibition and its themes.