Sanford Biggers’s work encourages meaningful dialogue around history and trauma in America through the use of a dynamic range of media including painting, sculpture, film, and performance. His approach is syncretic, embracing iconoclasm while simultaneously generating symbolic works that function as platforms for discussion and transcendence through discourse and interaction. Biggers’s works are visually rich, employing a non-hierarchical approach to medium or material that rewards the eye and comes loaded with historical and cultural narratives.
His diverse practice includes collecting wooden African sculptures from around the world, including both authentic pieces and imitations. He dips these in wax and has them re-shaped with firearms, further obscuring their individuality. Cast anew in bronze, they not only offer a stark commentary on violence against African Americans but point toward the wider human condition and a desire to transcend. He reconfigures found antique quilts, contributing his own imagery to the often encoded patchworks, forming a dialogue that speaks to the past and present and a collaboration between the unknown quilters and himself, providing a charged platform for discussion among contemporary audiences.
Sanford Biggers is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Lisa Melandri, Executive Director.