Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Artist Interview

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye has been short listed for the Turner Prize. Yiadom-Boakye’s portraits of imaginary people allude to european portraiture. Working with invented pre-histories her work addresses, according to Chissendale Gallery, "the very problem of representation – particularly with regards to black subjects – in figurative painting and public spectatorship at large."

Hans Ulrich Obrist asked Yiadom-Boakye about her painting process, she replied
That started off as being a practical consideration: the way I was initially painting, if I didn’t finish in a day the surface wouldn’t work, it would dry at different times, so it was completely a structural thing. Then I started to realize that the way I was working was as important to the work itself as the finished product, it was about reading between works rather than becoming very precious about one. It’s to do with the way I think: I say it’s a short attention span, but what I mean by that is that it’s one thought and it’s fresh in my mind. It’s about a certain kind of urgency and capturing that time frame. Because if it were dragged out over days I feel like the whole resonance of it would go, it would become a much more labored process and I would personally become too precious. If I get to the end of the day and something hasn’t worked I don’t sleep well. I’d rather destroy it than think about it over night just to come back and try and force myself to like it.


Installation view
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Any Number of Preoccupations
Studio Museum Harlem, New York, November 11, 2010–March 13, 2011.

Trawler, 2011 
oil on canvas
98 3/8 x 78 3/4 inches

Watcher, 2011 
oil on canvas
78 3/4 x 51 1/8 inches



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