Photo Credit

MELVIN EDWARDS
SOME BRIGHT MORNING

August 31, 2024 – January 12, 2025

With numerous references to questions, practices, and forms of modernism Melvin Edwards has been developing a body of work since the early 1960s that impresses with its great originality and stringency. Among others, it comprises relief-like wall-mounted works of welded metal, the so-called Lynch Fragments, expansive installations made of barbed wire, free-standing steel sculptures, monumental outdoor works, as well as various forms of graphic works on paper. Although the art of Edwards, born in 1937 in Houston, Texas, can be located within the realm of abstraction, his works still allude to tangible points of reference: They evoke thoughts, feelings, and images that are directly linked to the historical context of the United States of America, from which the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and desegregation emerged. Edwards’s works can be read as an expression of a sociopolitical and cultural awareness and accompanying protest against oppression and violence that has not lost any of its urgency in the present day.

The show at the Fridericianum featuring over 50 works marks Edwards’s first comprehensive institutional solo exhibition in Europe. It succeeds a series of recent museum presentations dedicated to the artist. For instance, Edwards has been exhibited at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2015), the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick (2015), the Columbus Museum of Art (2016), the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center (2016), the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (2018), the Museu da República in Rio de Janeiro (2019), the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia in Salvador (2019), the Museu Nacional da República in Brasilia (2020), the Museu Afro Brasil in São Paulo (2020), by the Public Art Fund in New York (2021), at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln (2022), and Dia: Beacon (2022). The exhibition in Kassel also recalls Edwards’s participation in the 56th Venice Biennale entitled All the World’s Futures (2015) and the group presentation Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 19451965 at Haus der Kunst in Munich (2016), which were curated by Okwui Enwezor.

With the generous support of the Stiftung Stark für Gegenwartskunst and the Hessische Kulturstiftung.

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