The George Economou Collection is a private collection in Athens, Greece, which holds three art exhibitions a year. Having acquired the 2011 video by Rashid Johnson titled “The New Black Yoga”, the piece will now serve as a focal point for an upcoming exhibition, opening June 2014. From the press release:

Originating in the artist’s absurd experience of attempting to participate in a yoga class conducted in a foreign language, the work broadens into a disorienting collision of codes and signifiers, playing on Johnson’s pervasive interest in constructing fictive fraternal collectives and ambiguous rituals. The video begins and ends with the image of a crosshairs target – a symbol appropriated from the logo of hip hop group Public Enemy which here takes on a more oblique, runic connotation.

Rashid Johnson (b. 1977) is a multi-disciplinary artist who more recently presented his first live performance in New York as part of PERFORMA 13 (Dutchman, 2013, The Biennial of Performance Art), NY, in autumn 2013. His work is opaque while also being transparent.More importantly, even when utilizing a range of materials, his compositional and aesthetic choices are strong in a non-pedagogical way. Johnson’s work begs to be assembled. Viewers will find themselves visually collecting the pieces they are given and as if in the process of reformatting a “whole” each will take on this imaginary task of truth-seeking. However, in Magic Numbers, as with many of the artist’s exhibitions, the magic isn’t left up to the individual to discover, but rather it will be absorbed and metaphorically taken like an invisible pill, as soon as he or she walks away.

Rashid Johnson, Good King, 2013, mirrored tile, black soap, wax, shea butter, plants, vinyl, 426.7 x 426.7 x 35.6 cm. Credits: © Rashid Johnson Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photography by Martin Parsekian

Represented by Hauser & Wirth (New York and London), Johnson basically makes intimate works that delve into conceptual abstraction occasionally using the human form, are portraits of an individual and unabashedly address the perception of blackness. This will be his first solo exhibition in Greece, and it will be important two-fold, introducing both his work to Athens but also a way of introducing the Economou Collection to a larger global audience through Johnson’s work and following.

Rashid Johnson, The New Black Yoga (Video still), 2014

Rashid Johnson, The New Black Yoga (Video still), 2011, 16 mm film transferred to DVD with sound, 10 min 57 sec duration. Credits: © Rashid Johnson Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photography by Martin Parsekian

The opening reception for Magic Numbers will be Friday, June 20th, 2014 from 7-9:30 pm and a panel discussion with Johnson and Katherine Brinson, associate curator at the Guggenheim, NY will take place June 21st from 12-1 pm. The George Economou Collection is at 80 Kifissias Avenue, 15125, Marousi, Athens.

New Black Yoga from Rod Lamborn on Vimeo.

Rashid Johnson is represented by Hauser & Wirth, New York, Zürich, London, Somerset and Los Angeles.

More soon!