Vanessa van Obberghen

Galerie Susanna Kulli

Belgian artist Vanessa van Obberghen has been traveling to Dakar for several years. In her work, for the most part photographs and multi-media installations, she investigates transcultural exchange. A key to unpacking “Big Wig,” her tightly structured recent exhibition in Zurich, was provided by an untitled video projection, 2006–2007, showing a white man attempting to find his rhythm while surrounded by a group of people (both white and black) dancing; he never succeeds. The dance motif is reprised in three light boxes, BIG WIG (Zi KhR 1), BIG WIG (Zi KhR 2), and BIG WIG (Zi KhR 3) (all 2007), each of which contains several transparent, overlapping photographs showing the heads of black men, like stills marking the phases of a ritual dance. The act of looking through the various layers of the image, as well as the movement from one box to the next, draws the viewer into the rite performed

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.