An exhibition by Kamau Patton will be on view at Tilton Gallery from October 12th to November 17th, 2007. On display will be a selection of work from his Throne of Third Heaven Project, an interdisciplinary piece in which Patton shrewdly integrates anthropology and fiction in order to explore African American spiritual practices.
Through a series of manipulated videos and photographs Patton explores the elements of hybridity and iconographic hierarchy in African American ritual practice. By slightly subverting familiar forms, visuals systems, and sounds, he creates an entirely new, yet immediately recognizable religious system.
Patton tells his story with manufactured evangelical public access television broadcasts, a pre-existent dazzling throne built by James Hampton, a janitor who secretly created an assemblage of religious art through the 20th century, which he places in his photographs, both found and fabricated texts, and the artist himself who takes on the role as the religious leader. Together these elements form a new mythology complete with a convincing set of practices and beliefs. Though, unlike real living systems that are intended to instruct, Patton’s religious universe serves only as an allegory intended to uncover how these processes accommodate and inform communication and social change.
The hybrid nature of Patton’s work – the blending of fact and fiction – is reflective of the Diasporic cultures he pulls from. Like the religions systems found in the African Diaspora, Patton’s work contains an inherent malleability, a necessary quality for people and situations marked by instability.
Kamau Patton (b. 1972, Manhattan) lives in works in Bay Area, where he received his MFA from Stanford in 2005. He is currently an artist-in-residence at the Cantor Museum at Stanford University.