Standard Talks

On the First Day of Frieze

Frieze Art Fair has made its New York touchdown once again! On its inaugural day, members of the art community gathered in NO BAR for the latest iteration Standard Talks highlighting dialogue between artist Diedrick Brackens and curator Essence Harden.

Diedrick Brackens gave guests a behind-the-scenes glimpse at his new exhibition blood compass, a profound new selection of woven works that mark a new point of departure in his art, exploring darker themes by probing the realms of ritual, myth, and religion. Diedrick's conversation with Essence touched upon these subject matters, followed by an insightful audience Q&A diving into the role intent plays in the creative process, inspiration from Kente cloth, and Diedrick's preferred choice of looms. 

Catch the panel's highlights below, and stop by the Jack Shainman Gallery through June 1 to view blood compass.

Weaving is the only ritual I keep. Even if I'm like, 'I should meditate. I should do this.' I'm like, I'll do it at the loom. But I feel like in some sense, it's about repetition. I think repetition is a holy act to repeat something over and over and over again. To manifest it, to make it real. For me, it is this act of accretion or building a mound by every inch of weaving that I do. I think it materializes this magical, mythic, fantastic space that I'm building in the weavings. While I don't imagine most of those images can be made real, hopefully, I'm manifesting some real version of that space, whether it be about the community that I'm building, the dramatic, sad stories that I'm telling, being transformed. I think the biggest ritual in weaving for me is that I sit at the loom, I tangle these cotton threads, and I'm like, ‘Oh, I got to do that for a few hours, that add up to a lifetime, a few hours in a few hours where I'm engaging with this material in a way that's radically different than the folks who I'm related to who had to entangle themselves with this material for someone else's gain.’

“There's just things that happen on the back that wildly surprise me. There are these ghosts or fugitive images that aren't what is woven into the front. You can Rorschach them a little bit. There's just this emotional register to being able to see the back as well as giving the viewer even more information, even more access. And I think because you can't touch them, there's this moment of feeling, satisfying that feeling with just the eyes. That's really nice, I think.”

I'm from a rural context. I did not really know the idea of what a city really was until I was an adult. And I think it's a space, the outdoors, at large, is a space where a lot of queer folks find themselves or can be themselves or participate in spaces for desire, for sensuality, and all of these things that you describe. So for me, it's trying to couple those things. It feels important.

I think everyone who approaches either the textiles or the machines or the practice of weaving is always enchanted. And I think about it literally. I think about these weavings as accessing some spiritual technology in the same way that I think someone who drums thinks of it as magic, et cetera.


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