The American artist Arthur Jafa (b. Tupelo, Mississippi, 1960) first gained worldwide attention in 2016 with his video work Love is the Message, the Message is Death.
Running roughly eight minutes, the work is a virtuosic cut of viral videos and historical footage of American notables like Barack Obama, Serena Williams and Martin Luther King alongside news clips and handheld footage of police brutality against Black Americans, scored to the Kanye West song Ultralight Beam. Deeply touching and scathing, Jafa’s work highlights the discrepancy between the fame and status of Black stars and the treatment of the African-American population in general.
The exhibition will show Jafa’s seminal Love is the Message, the Message is Death, as well as a number of works made for the occasion. Alongside his art, Jafa has worked on an array of documentaries and features, as director or camera operator, and directed several music videos, including with Jay-Z and Solange Knowles. Jafa is represented in Louisiana’s collection with his 2013 work Apex. Arthur Jafa was honoured with the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Interview with the artist
In this extensive interview, Jafa talks about black identity in connection with his critically acclaimed video Love is the Message, The Message is Death, which became a worldwide sensation.