On view at Kunsthalle Basel is “Centropy,” photographer Deana Lawson’s first presentation in Switzerland. Lawson creates gripping portraits of contemporary Black life, by scouting out her own neighbourhood or travelling to wherever the African diaspora emanates from or was exiled to. Although her photographs are often the result of highly staged compositions, these portraits are no less candid, intimate or real because of it. In “Centropy,” Lawson presents new and recent works, including a body of large-scale photographs, holograms, 16mm films, a video, and several installations of small snapshots images, some printed on mirrors and bordered by crystal-encrusted mirrors. Through documentary photography, Lawson creates a “manipulated vérité,” in which art history, portraiture traditions, vernacular culture and colonial legacies meet.
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