States Of Being

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s oil paintings focus on fictional figures that exist outside of specific times and places. In an interview with Nadine Rubin Nathan in the New York Times Magazine, Yiadom-Boakye described her compositions as “suggestions of people...They don’t share our concerns or anxieties. They are somewhere else altogether.” This lack of fixed narrative leaves her work open to the projected imagination of the viewer.

Her paintings are rooted in traditional formal considerations such as line, color, and scale, and can be self-reflexive about the medium itself, but the subjects and the way in which the paint is handled is decidedly contemporary. Yiadom- Boakye’s paintings are typically completed in a day to best capture a single moment or stream of consciousness. Her predominantly black cast of characters often attracts attention. In an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist in Kaleidoscope, she explained “People are tempted to politicize the fact that I paint black figures, and the complexity of this is an essential part of the work. But my starting point is always the language of painting itself and how that relates to the subject matter.”

Yiadom-Boakye was born in 1977 in London, where she is currently based. She attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Falmouth College of Arts and the Royal Academy Schools. She is the 2018 recipient of the Carnegie Prize, awarded for her contribution to the Carnegie International, 57th Edition. She was short-listed for the 2013 Turner Prize.

Yiadom-Boakye has had many important solo museums shows, including Fly in League with the Night, which was organized by the Tate Britain in London and traveled to the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, K20 in Dusseldorf, and MUDAM in Luxembourg. She has also had solo exhibitions at the New Museum and Studio Museum, both in New York, the Haus Der Kunst in Munich, the Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, amongst others. Her work has been shown in a myriad of group exhibitions across the globe, and was included in the inaugural Ghanaian pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Her latest solo exhibition, No Twilight Too Mighty, will be on view at the Guggenheim Bilbao from March 31 through September 10, 2023.

She is included in numerous institutional collections, ranging from the Tate Collection, London to The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Within the past two years, her work has been added to the permanent collections of the Art Gallery Museum of Southern Australia, Adelaide; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; the Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut.  

Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Yiadom-Boakye since 2010 when she had her first solo show entitled Essays and Documents. Her most recent show with the gallery was In Lieu of a Louder Love in January 2019.


The School, Jun 05 – Oct 30, 2021
In Lieu Of A Louder Love
20th Street, Jan 10 – Feb 16, 2019
The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness
The School, Jun 08, 2017 – Feb 24, 2018
The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness
Jun 08 – Aug 25, 2017
The Love Within
20th Street, Nov 21, 2014 – Jan 10, 2015
Mise En Scène
The School, Aug 01 – Dec 01, 2014
All Manner Of Needs
20th Street, Sep 13 – Oct 13, 2012
Essays And Documents
20th Street, Apr 22 – May 22, 2010