Xaviera Simmons

Xaviera Simmons, Sundown (Number Twenty)2019. Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami

Xaviera Simmons, The Importance Of Slavery In The Construction Of, 2018. Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami

Xaviera Simmons, Sundown (Number Twenty)2019. Courtesy the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami

Xaviera Simmons (b. 1974, New York, USA) lives and works in New York, USA. Simmons’ interdisciplinary practice spans across photography, performance, choreography, video, sound, sculpture and installation. Rooted in an investigation of past, present and future histories, her works often concern the interconnectedness of formal processes and the exchange of formal concerns within an art historical and socio-political canon. She has previously spent two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist Monks. Simmons is a recipient of Agnes Gund’s Art for Justice Fellowship (2018) and was a visiting lecturer and the Solomon Fellow at Harvard University, USA (2020).Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Socrates Sculpture Park, USA (2021); Times Square, USA (2021); SFMOMA, USA (2019); and MCA Chicago, USA (2017).

Project Description

Xaviera Simmons presents a photographic and moving image installation at Liverpool Cotton Exchange Building. Bringing together existing and new works from her Sundown series (2018-ongoing), Simmons explores the entangled history of the United States, particularly looking at the construction of ‘whiteness’ in relation to the history of the institution of slavery and its legacy. The works assembled draw from a multitude of threads that form the foundations of the contemporary American narrative. This includes colonial America, the Antebellum South, the Jim Crow era of enforced segregation, the Great Migration from rural South to Northern cities, the Civil Rights era, the war on drugs and mass incarceration, as well as the governmentally sanctioned white American terror campaigns that fuelled such practices. Interested in how portraiture, language and landscape construct identities, Simmons juxtaposes historical imagery and text against contemporary backdrops of the American landscape. Simmons’ photographic works situate contemporary narratives within the multi-layered and entangled histories of the United States.

Co-presented by Liverpool Biennial and Photoworks.