Lizzie Baur

Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence
Identity System, 2023

An Archaeology of Silence is a new body of paintings and sculptures from American artist Kehinde Wiley that confront the silence surrounding systemic violence against Black people through the visual language of the fallen figure. Wiley investigates the iconography of death and sacrifice in Western art, tracing it across religious, mythological, and historical subjects. 

For the U.S. premiere of the exhibition at the de Young museum, I used typography and materiality to suggest a lack of visibility, something lingering beneath the surface, ready to come to light. The subtitle is intentionally subdued in order to suggest an unearthing of a socially repressed phenomenon. The contrast between the serif and sans serif typefaces mirror the mixture of the classical with the contemporary within Wiley’s artistic practice, while the all caps and center alignment is intended to speak the vernacular of war memorials and monuments.

Typeset in Akzidenz Grotesk and Signifier. Installation photography by Gary Sexton.