Mariane Ibrahim presents a solo exhibition with Raphaël Barontini, The Night of the Purple Moon, marking the gallery’s inaugural presentation with the artist and his first solo gallery show in the United States.
The gallery is transformed into a Galerie des Illustres, an otherworldly environment with large scale portraits on canvas and flags. Fictional heroes and historical reinterpretations embellish subjects from classical and canonical histories: from the Caribbean, Voodoo and magical deities, to function as a way for formerly enslaved humans to hold on to their African identity, despite the violence of Western colonialism. Barontini illuminates disparities in the visual and cultural history of the French Caribbean, which is rooted in African ancestry, yet virtually saturated with culture of an insular Caribbean.
The Night of the Purple Moon, is a lyrical coalescence of classical painting and fragments of contemporary culture. The paintings unveil works that adorn and disrupt the architype of heroes and, bestow a counter history and moment of reinvention of the Hero as an assemblage of various synergetic forces. The aim of this estrangement is primarily to alert the spectator of a different perception of the world; to renew the senses by distancing them from their conventional representations. The Night of the Purple Moon then becomes a place to nurture found freedom, creativity and pride.
Inspired by creatives such as Romare Bearden, and Hannah Höch who collaged a handful of materials and ideas to reflect the glitches of modern civilization during their time, Barontini meticulously builds a vernacular language of symbolism, artifact, and ritual.
The Night of the Purple Moon, embraces a nocturnal environment, where vibrant purples imbued with magic and new possibilities in which narratives emerge to catalyze a forthcoming revolution. From works on canvas, to large scale textile pieces to wearable garments – the artist presents the possibility of a new visual language, while referencing modern technology. Mixing different eras, spaces and geographies, the composite portraits arise from different types of media.