Friday, April 15, 2022
Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah
Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning
As part of Sessions, a new spin-off of Gagosian Premieres, six-time Grammy-nominated Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott) performs “Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning” alongside drummer Elé Salif Howell, inside Awol Erizku’s exhibition Memories of a Lost Sphinx at Gagosian, Park & 75, New York. In this track from his upcoming album, Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning, Chief Adjuah debuts his latest musical instrument, a double-sided harp called the Chief Adjuah Bow, which he describes as a hybrid of four instruments: a West African donso n’goni, or “hunter’s harp”; a West African kamele n’goni, or “young man’s harp”; a kora; and an electric guitar. The pair previously collaborated when Scott composed the score for Mystic Parallax, Erizku’s solo exhibition at FLAG Art Foundation in New York.
My first encounter with the Great Sphinx of Giza led me to produce my own interpretation of the mystique and essence of the sphinx as a concept. The result is my interpolation of the space between my memory and imagination.
Gagosian is pleased to announce Memories of a Lost Sphinx, an exhibition of new works by Awol Erizku. Installed in a black-painted interior, a set of six lightbox photographs accompanied by a mixed-media sculpture represent the sphinx as a complex, cross-cultural symbol that extends between and beyond Ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Asian mythologies. Organized by Antwaun Sargent, this is Erizku’s first exhibition at the gallery.
Erizku works in photography, film, sculpture, painting, and installation, making reference to spirituality, art history, and hip-hop; in the process, he aims to craft a new vernacular that bridges the gap between African and African American visual cultures. Further developing his “Afro-esoteric” iconography in Memories of a Lost Sphinx, Erizku explores the intersections of ancient mythology, diasporic tradition, and contemporary culture.
The sphinx is a hybrid creature with human and animal attributes: the head of a human, body of a lion, wings of a falcon, and, in some cases, a serpent-headed tail. According to Egyptian tradition, this guardian figure had a male head, whereas in Greek mythology, the sphinx was female and originated in Aethopia. The most notorious Greek sphinx was bested when Oedipus answered her riddle, “What walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night?”
Extended through June 24, 2023
March 14–June 24, 2023
Park & 75, New York