The photographic series As a Black Man takes as its sub- ject the American author John Howard Griffin (1920 – 1980) and his 1961 book, Black Like Me. In the book, Griffin details his experiences as a white man who decided to darken his skin, shave his head, and travel for six weeks in the segregated American South in 1959.
The ten photographs in fatmi’s As a Black Man are bookended by “white” Griffin on the left and “black” Griffin on the right, while the eight photographs in between become increasing- ly white or black depending on one’s viewing position. As foreground and background collapse into the same flat and monochromatic surface of the photograph, these hard-to- read images raise questions about when and where race is—and is not—malleable.
In doing so through photogra- phy, As a Black Man broaches the ever-pressing matter of how visual representation, and photography in particu- lar, have long been used to delimit, circulate, and contest constructions of race, political representation, and belonging.
Born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1970. He lives and works between Paris, Lille and Tangiers. mounir fatmi constructs visual spaces and linguistic games. His work deals with the desecration of religious objects, deconstruction and the end of dogmas and ideologies. He is particularly interested in the idea of the role of the artist in a society in crisis. His videos, installations, drawings, paintings and sculptures bring to light our doubts, fears and desires. They directly address the current events of our world, and speak to those whose lives are affected by specific events and reveals its structure. Mounir Fatmi’s work offers a look at the world from a different glance, refusing to be blinded by the conventions.