Grada Kilomba, an artist currently at work on organizing September’s edition of the Bienal de São Paulo, has joined Pace, one of the biggest galleries in the world.
Her first exhibition with Pace will open in May. She will continue to be represented by Goodman Gallery, which currently has a show of her work on view at its London space.
Kilomba’s art frequently focuses on forms of storytelling that can highlight—and in some cases even begin to undo—instances of violence inherent to colonial narratives. Her sculptures, performances, videos, sound works, and more are ways of dealing with trauma that often don’t outright represent the racism and brutality being addressed.
The work that will appear at Pace in May, 18 Verses (2022), is meant to recall the outline of a shipwreck, a form that recalls the migrations—some forced, some not—of people across oceans throughout the centuries. It features charcoaled pieces of wood engraved with poetry by Kilomba dealing with the cyclicality of history.
Marc Glimcher, CEO of Pace Gallery, said in a statement to ARTnews, “Grada Kilomba’s multidisciplinary practice creates spaces—spaces for interrogation, spaces for healing, spaces for reckoning, spaces for memory, spaces for ritual. Rooted in scholarship, the narratives she shares transcend any one medium to create a powerful symphony of experiences.”
In addition to her work as an artist, Kilomba, who has a doctorate in philosophy, studied psychoanalysis and Frantz Fanon, and published the 2008 book Plantation Memories: Episodes of Everyday Racism.
Kilomba has become a favorite of the biennial circuit, having appeared in recent editions of Documenta, the Berlin Biennale, the Bienal de São Paulo, and the Biennale de Lubumbashi. The next Bienal de São Paulo, which she is co-organizing with Manuel Borja-Villel, Diane Lima, and Hélio Menezes, will be the first that she has curated.
Other recent exhibitions include a 2021 solo show at Amant, the Brooklyn art space founded by collector Lonti Ebers.
She is one of more than 10 artists that Pace has taken on in the past year alone, marking a period of rapid expansion for its roster, even by the standards of mega-galleries. Other recent additions to the Pace stable include David Lynch, the John Wesley estate, and Hank Willis Thomas.