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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye is an artist who creates fictional figures that are untethered to a specific time or place, and are born from various untraceable subjects: people, objects, thoughts, photographs, or images she has drawn, observed, or recalled. This lack of fixed narrative reference 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. When describing her painting and writing, Yiadom-Boakye derives each practice from the language of poetry—a fiction imbued with reality and truth. Merging the visual and textual, her titles function as another mark beside the painting that, like her figures, need not describe, explain, or justify.
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 of new work, No Twilight Too Mighty, was on view at the Guggenheim Bilbao in 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.