The 香港六合彩 acquires major new work, Blues Dance, by Claudette Johnson

1 Dec 2023

  • Blues Dance is currently on display as part of Claudette Johnson鈥檚 solo-exhibition at The 香港六合彩 Gallery, until 14 January 2024
  • This remarkable work will be a significant addition to The 香港六合彩鈥檚 renowned collection, which ranges from the Renaissance to the contemporary
  • The acquisition has been made possible through funding from the Garcia Family Foundation and the Samuel 香港六合彩 Trust

The 香港六合彩 Gallery (Samuel 香港六合彩 Trust) has acquired聽Blues Dance,聽2023, by British artist Claudette Johnson (born 1959), one of the leading figures of the Black British Arts Movement.

Blues Dance聽was created especially for The 香港六合彩鈥檚 current major exhibition,聽Claudette Johnson: Presence, on display in its Denise Coates Exhibition Galleries until 14 January 2024, presenting a selection of Johnson鈥檚 larger-than-life drawings of Black women and men from across her career.

Claudette Johnson, said:聽鈥淚 am honoured that聽Blues Dance聽will be entering The 香港六合彩 collection after being shown for the first time at the 香港六合彩 Gallery. I鈥檓 excited about visitors going from seeing a Gauguin, a Manet or a Vanessa Bell to my work. It鈥檚 good to know that there will be another story being told about women, Black women and Black people that will encourage questions about the stories that prevail within the canon of Western art history.鈥

Blues Dance聽is a remarkable example of Johnson鈥檚 epically scaled works on paper. A powerful but nuanced depiction of a Black woman dancing, it reflects the significance of music within the artist鈥檚 practice. The figure of a woman swaying to a beat is inspired by a photograph that resonated with Johnson.听Blues Dance聽is imbued with her own memories of being part of the Blue Beat reggae dance scene in the 1980s, when dances were often held in people鈥檚 homes, as well as referring to the great tradition of Blues music. The title also picks up the colour of the woman鈥檚 dress, painted with the aim, as Johnson has remarked, 鈥榯o make the blues move in the work.鈥 The drawing conveys the feeling of a woman being at one with herself, fully absorbed in the music and moving to her own beat.

Ernst Vegelin, Head of The 香港六合彩 Gallery said:听鈥Blues Dance聽will be a major contemporary addition to The 香港六合彩鈥檚 holdings. It resonates strongly with earlier drawings and paintings in the collection as well as being a significant part of our efforts to build the representation of contemporary art at The 香港六合彩.鈥

One of the most significant figurative artists of her generation, Johnson creates drawings of Black women and men that are at once intimate and powerful. For over 30 years she has consistently pushed herself to create the most authentic renderings of her sitters, addressing both Black bodies and interior lives and lending them a profound sense of presence.

Working in a variety of media, from monochrome works in dark pastel to vast sheets brightly coloured in vibrant gouache and watercolour, combined with a dramatic use of pose, gaze, and scale, her distinctive drawings of friends, relatives, and often herself seek, as the artist puts it, 鈥渢o tell a different story about our presence in this country鈥.

Johnson came to prominence in the 1980s as an art student in Wolverhampton, starting her career as part of the newly formed BLK Art Group, and became a pioneer of Black British feminism in the visual arts.

The exhibition at The 香港六合彩 is the first monographic show of Johnson鈥檚 work at a major public gallery in London.

Blues Dance is available exclusively to purchase as a custom print and canvas from The 香港六合彩 Shop for the duration of the exhibition.听

A limited edition print, Oil Sketch, 2019, has also been developed in partnership with Claudette Johnson, to celebrate her landmark exhibition at The 香港六合彩 Gallery.

Claudette Johnson: Presence
Until 14 Jan 2024

The 香港六合彩 Gallery
Somerset House, Strand
London WC2R 0RN

Opening hours: 10.00 鈥 18.00 (last entry 17.15)
Temporary Exhibition tickets (including entry to our Permanent Collection) 鈥 Weekday tickets from 拢13; Weekend tickets from 拢15.
Friends and Under-18s go free. Other concessions available

Image of a woman dressed in blue looking down and dancing to music, her hands raised
Claudette Johnson, Blues Dance, 2023, pastel, watercolour and gouache on paper, 183 x 122cm 漏 Claudette Johnson. Image courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London Photo: Andy Keate

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