Black Candy: Mithu Sen
Building on earlier engagements in her work with sexuality, intimacy, and identity, in this series Sen turns her attention to the male psyche and gaze, depicting playful and serious images of the intimate lives of men in a series of large-scale drawings. These are accompanied by a selection of sound installations—composed of humorous, unusual, violent, silly, serious, and bizarre soundbites—which may complement and complicate the narratives seen in individual works and overall. Though aware that her perspective is necessarily feminine, Sen keeps her ability to read and represent men in play, and she projects her own observations and access point as a woman onto her subjects with characteristic wit and subversion.
The images in “Black Candy” form a multitude of narratives on maleness and difference, and enable Sen to explore alternate dimensions and expressions of her drawing practice and the limits of autobiography.
As in other series in which Sen’s drawings extend into installation and other mediums, she explores the elision of visual and audio experiences in “Black Candy.” Viewers will have the opportunity to experience stories and sounds that connect to the drawings, developing an experimental new format for Sen even as she maintains a consistent interest in using text, image, and concept in her work. Though the combination of mediums, “Black Candy” offers audiences the opportunity to build their own narratives on the often-private subjects considered, through the complicity of their viewing and interactions with the images and sounds comprising Sen’s show.
Sen’s work reflects an awareness of many sources and styles, and the politics of borrowing. Rather than passively assimilate her sources, in her 2009 installation Confession (conceived and produced independently and exhibited with this series), Sen engages critically the notion of copying, using her own voice to raise concerns including the fraught issue of repeating her own work.