Emergent Disposition (2015)
Derek Fordjour engages with the layers of political, social, and cultural experiences of African Americans within the present moment through his meticulously textured paintings of individuals in various public settings. In many of his paintings, the artist investigates the vulnerability of the human body, by portraying figures such as athletes or performers who are always under the scrutiny of the public gaze.
Emergent Disposition considers many of the similar themes along with adjacent paintings such as Davenport’s Conclusion and Perspectile Adjustment Regiment. Although the neutral expressions of the athlete still repeat within this painting as well, the artist brings attention to the tank top on which he collaged a newspaper article depicting two Black men wrestling against each other. The painting is thus transformed into a statement about the ways in which images of Black masculinity are categorized and circulated within various forms of news media, bringing into relief the oftentimes problematic connotation of athleticism attributed to men of African descent.