Paris

Ellen Gallagher, Watery Ecstatic, 2018, watercolor, oil, pencil, varnish, and cut paper on paper, 90 1⁄8 × 50 1⁄8".

Ellen Gallagher, Watery Ecstatic, 2018, watercolor, oil, pencil, varnish, and cut paper on paper, 90 1⁄8 × 50 1⁄8".

Ellen Gallagher

Gagosian | Paris

What remains so shocking about the connection of the sea with slavery? And why is it that certain historical truths are expeditiously forgotten only to resurface years later with the rolling waves of time? Ellen Gallagher’s work sparks such questions, and their evident gravity lends weight to her art’s subtle beauty.

The opening room of her first solo show in Paris featured the black tetraptych Negroes Battling in a Cave, 2016, titled after a racist comment discovered beneath the surface of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, 1915. The piece hung opposite the predominantly white Watery Ecstatic (RA 18h 35m 37.73s D37° 22’ 31.12’), 2017, perhaps posited as a counterpart to Malevich’s White on White, 1918, but also a ghostly invocation of the victims of the Middle Passage of the transatlantic slave trade: White is transformed into the color of sun-bleached bone, brine-washed skin, and the

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