Watch rising star Paul Mpagi Sepuya discuss mirrors, darkrooms, and the queer black body

‘It is about my attempt to situate queerness and blackness as starting points for looking at the medium,’ he says

A slew of exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial and recent shows at the Guggenheim Museum and the Getty, have put Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s name on everyone’s lips. The Angeleno artist re-examines portrait photography’s formal and conceptual foundations, as well as its traditional tools: mirrors, black velvet, and darkrooms. Questions around the representation of the black and the queer body – be it his own or his friends’ and collaborators’ – also inform Sepuya’s sensitive and intimate body of work. He welcomed Art Basel in his Boyle Heights studio.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya is represented by Team (New York, Los Angeles), Document (Chicago) and Vielmetter Los Angeles.

Camera and edit: Gillian Garcia
Production: Coline Milliard and Jeanne-Salomé Rochat for Art Basel 

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