detroit

Danielle Dean, True Red Ruin (Elmina Castle), 2017, HD video, color, sound, 9 minutes 39 seconds.

Danielle Dean

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD)

Danielle Dean, True Red Ruin (Elmina Castle), 2017, HD video, color, sound, 9 minutes 39 seconds.

Danielle Dean’s solo show “True Red Ruin” consists of a two-channel video set above a display of multicolored cardboard cutouts, surrounded by drawings and sculptures used in their making. Simultaneously visceral and abstract, the installation explores black identity in relation to capitalism and colonialism through an uncanny superimposition of the histories of these two systems upon the present day.

Dean’s subject is Elmina Castle, the Portuguese trading post erected in 1482 in West Africa, which later became an infamous node in the Atlantic slave trade. The castle was also the first prefabricated European building to be constructed in sub-Saharan Africa (its numbered components were shipped from Portugal), a fact Dean emphasizes here through her employment of mass-produced materials. In True Red Ruin (Elmina Castle), 2017–18, for example, the choice of printed cardboard of the

Sign-in 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 get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 2018 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

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