The subjects in [my] early portraits were friends or acquaintances I was just getting to know, some of whom would become good friends, some with whom I would eventually lose touch. Some I have reconnected with. It was important in deciding to make portraits that they be of people with whom I desired friendship, platonic or romantic relationships. It was also a conscious decision that, regardless of the nature of our connection, the photographs would depict them as if they were, could be, or had been a lover. I wanted that kind of desire to be the foundation, to go all the way and then negotiate back.Paul Mpagi Sepuya*

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA—the artist’s first institutional monograph—is out now. Co-published by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Aperture, the book surveys Sepuya’s various photographic series over the last ten years, and features essays by Malik Gaines, Lucy Gallun, Ariel Goldberg, Lisa Melandri, Evan Moffitt, and Grace Wales Bonner, with an artist interview by curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi.

For a discussion presented by Printed Matter in anticipation of its forthcoming virtual book fair, Sepuya will join Al-Khudhairi in conversation. See link below to register for this online event.


Printed Matter

Monday, December 14.

5 pm on the West Coast; 8 pm East Coast.

*“Interview with Paul Mpagi Sepuya by Wassan Al-Khudhairi,” in PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA (St. Louis: Contemporary Art Museum; New York: Aperture, 2020).

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, May 17, 2019–August 18, 2019; Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, October 19, 2019–March 14, 2020. Organized by Wassan Al-Khudhaiti, chief curator, with Misa Jeffereis, assistant curator.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, from top: Darkroom Mirror (_2070386), 2017; Self Portrait Holding Joshua’s Hand, 2006; A Portrait (0X5A6109), 2017; Mirror Study (4R2A0857), 2016; Studio Wall (_1000021), 2018; A Portrait (File0085), 2015 [Evan Moffitt]; Paul Mpagi Sepuya exhibition catalog cover courtesy and © Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and Aperture, image—Darkroom Mirror (_2060999), 2017 (detail)—© the artist; Paul Mpagi Sepuya, The Conditions, Team Gallery, New York, installation view—Sepuya’s Model Study (0X5A3973), 2017 at left—photograph by Jason Mandella, image courtesy the artist and Team Gallery; A Portrait (0X5A8325), 2018; Orifice (0X5A6982), 2018; Aperture (_2140020), 2018. Images © Paul Mpagi Sepuya, courtesy of the artist.

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