Minted In Enemy Bronze | Justin Randolph Thompson On View In Rome

The first solo exhibition by the US artist in Italy presents a dozen films dedicated to the excavation of Black histories in Italy developed through dialogues and exchanges with Black scholars, artists and activists at sites resonant with atmospheric tension.

by GRIOT - Published on 07/11/2023
Minted in Enemy Bronze, 2023. Foto: Bradly Dever Treadaway

Opening on November 8th 2023 at the British School at Rome, Minted in Enemy Bronze represents the premiere of a decade-long film based journey by artist Justin Randolph Thompson. The research for this exhibition was funded in part by an Italian Council grant in 2021, with chapters of the film Al Lettore Benevolo presented at Museo MADRE in Naples in 2022 and They Remain at MUCEM in Marseille in 2023, and is the first institutional solo project by Thompson in Italy. The exhibition presents a dozen films dedicated to the excavation of Black histories in Italy developed through dialogues and exchanges with Black scholars, artists and activists at sites resonant with atmospheric tension.

The exhibition was developed across the past two years with Thompson as Research Fellow at the British School at Rome. As co-founder and director of Black History Month Florence and The Recovery Plan, the project is embedded with an elaboration of the methodologies, research and histories that are the foundations of these cultural hubs dedicated to the centering of Blackness in Italian history.

Experimental film, sculptural objects and sound make up the exhibition elements forming an installation that challenges the stability of  institutional walls and the absences of the archive.

Texts by Antonella Bundu, Thelonious Stokes, Janine Gäelle Dieudji, Daphne Budasz, Jermay Michael Gabriel, Antar Marincola, Tatjana Lightbourn, Jason Thompson, Sadi, Dudù Kouate, Angelica Pesarini, Bradly Dever Treadaway, Lucrezia Cippitelli and Simone Frangi make up a portion of the exhibition which exists as a repository of unfinished research. Sound works by Dudù Kouate, Sadi, Jermay Michael Gabriel, Brandon Ross and Jason Thompson form the exhibition’s sonic environment.

Public programme

The exhibition is expanded through a public program which brings film screenings, live performance and dialogues with scholars and cultural practitioners together as invitations towards a deeper dive into Thompson’s work and research.

The events include:

  • 8 November 2023 | Every Thrust from Within or Without a film screening and live performance with Jermay Michael Gabriel during the opening of the exhibition at the British School at Rome, via Gramsci 61, Rome
  • 15 November 2023 at 7 pm | From the Campidoglio to the Zoo, a film screening, live performance and talk with Dudù Kouate at the Museo delle Civiltà (Palazzo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari) in Piazza Guglielmo Marconi 8, Rome
  • 21 November 2023 6 pm | Parascintille, a film screening with a live sound performance by Sadi and a conversation with film curator Greg De Cuir at the American Academy in Rome in via Angelo Masina 5, Rome

Justin Randolph Thompson is an artist, cultural facilitator and educator based in Italy since 1999. He is Co-Founder and Director of Black History Month Florence and The Recovery Plan. Thompson is a recipient of a 2022 Creative Capital Award, a 2020 Italian Council Research Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, a Franklin Furnace Fund Award and a Visual Artist Grant from the Fundación Marcelino Botín amongst others. His work and performances have been exhibited widely in institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and The American Academy in Rome and are part of numerous collections including The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museo MADRE. His life and work seek to deepen the discussions around cultural stratification and the arrogance of permanence fostering projects that connect academic discourse, social activism and DIY networking strategies in annual and biennial forms of gathering, sharing and collectivity.

Jermay Michael Gabriel is an Italian-Ethiopian-Eritrean transdisciplinary artist born in Addis Ababa. He lives and works in Milan, where he attended the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. Michael Gabriel’s work is based on an experimental, and often extreme, effort to resist the permanence and elusiveness of the Italian colonial archive through the subversion of its symbols of power.

Dudù Kouate was born in Senegal in 1963 to a family of griots, known for being the conservators of African cultural and musical traditions. A multi-instrumentalist, Kouate plays across musical genres of Afro-jazz, modern, traditional and contemporary music. A stable member since 2017 of the historic Art Ensemble of Chicago, with which he has recorded a record and played all over the world, he has performed in Santiago a Praia for Atlantic Music Expo in Cape Verde and in almost every corner of the planet: from the prestigious Kennedy Centre in Washington (USA) to the Assilah Festival in Morocco, via Australia, South America, and Russia.

SADI/Sam Barreto Cardoso Bertoldi is a sound-artist musician who shares his work since 2007. Born as a percussionist and multi-instrumentalist, in the period between 2007 and 2012 he worked as a session musician with several Italian and European record labels, ranging from pop, rock and jazz to experimental electronic music. Sadi produces experimental/environmental music and glitch for contemporary art installations and dance performances. His inspiration is nature and creates his artistic and conceptual designs, both contemporary and abstract, inviting them to immerse themselves in a world of surreal dreams, experimenting with technological error, textures of environmental sound, and interpolation of interrupted rhythms. A researcher of sound perception of the cognitive-emotional system and eco-systemic of conditioning Sadi is actively engaged in the composition of soundtracks for performances and productions of contemporary dance, contemporary theater, art installations in museums and art galleries and collaborates with artists of the national and international music scene both for the live performance and for the record arrangement.

Greg de Cuir Jr is the co-founder and artistic director of Kinopravda Institute in Belgrade. He is a member of the selection committee for the Frieze x ICA artists’ film program.

JUSTIN RANDOPLH THOMPSON
Minted in Enemy Bronze
8 November – 8 December
The British School at Rome
Via Gramsci 61, Roma
Opening Reception
November 8, 2023
6PM – 8:30PM
Opening hours
Monday to Friday,
3–7PM

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