Perspectile Adjustment Regiment (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.
In Perspectile Adjustment Regiment, the artist extends his investigation into the emotional fragility of athletes that stands in sharp contrast to their physical strength. Although it might appear similar to other adjacent paintings on view, the work is distinct in its emphasis on the body of the athlete through the graphic patterns of his tank top, as well as the absence of vibrant graphic patterns that serve as compositional foci of nearby works such as Davenport’s Conclusion. The neutral facial expression of the central figure, however, demonstrates that a similar thematic impulse is at work in both paintings: rather than convey a sense of joy and elation at the finish line, the athlete conveys a sense of ambivalence through his stern look, pointing to the emotional tenderness experienced by athletes that are left unexplored.