Dimitri Madimin responds to the image of hip-hop culture with a remarkable new project. Rap music, in particular, is regularly identified as an instigator of violence. An installation featuring tracksuits and historical scenes of violence questions this stigma. A relationship between art and violence undoubtedly exists, but it is certainly not exclusive to hip-hop culture. Indeed, the European art canon is brimming with violence: beheadings, assault, torture, and power struggles. Of course, such classical expressions are regarded as sublimated violence: visual culture as a symbolic display of power, and sublime aesthetic experience.
Why are such portrayals in hip-hop culture – today’s mainstream art form – never viewed in the same way? Madimin subverts this stereotype by making tracksuits from fabric printed with violent scenes taken from Italian Renaissance paintings. In establishing this connection, with the tracksuit as the ultimate rapper outfit, he emphasizes hip-hop’s significant cultural importance as the New Black Renaissance.
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