Fahamu Pecou's neo-pop expressionist self-portraits are familiar to any Atlantan who's been paying attention to local art over the last half dozen or so years. Formerly represented by Ty Stokes Gallery, Pecou's latest junket, Something Like a Fahamenon, opens at Midtown's Vaknin Gallery on June 7.
What is Fahamenon? Fahamenon is a new concept, I'm thinking. It's the artist book meets a catalogue meets pop-culture magazine. So the whole idea was that it would be kind of a different work but it's presented as a magazine that features original works in the form of ads.
Will the actual original works also be on display in the gallery or is it just the book? No. The work that will be on exhibit in the gallery will be the photo studies that I used to create the paintings. Those have never been exhibited before. So this will be the first time. Some of them have been hand altered. They’ll be done in limited editions.
I've heard you described elsewhere in print as a performance artist. Do you agree? Yeah, I would have to agree with that. I think that my work does involve a great deal of performance even in the character “Fahamu Pecou is the Shit.” In doing the photo shoot and things like that there is somewhat of a performative vibe. My arrival and presentation of myself at openings is somewhat of a performance. So I definitely think that. And I think I’ve always been a closet performer to some degree. This is giving me a way to kind of play with that.
There's a red-carpet ceremony at the opening. What does all the glamour mean to you? The glamour for me is kind of a play on pop culture at large, this idea that things are really big and over-the-top, that people react and respond differently to events and people who they perceive to be larger than life. Sometimes it’s not necessarily about the talent that a person has as much as it is the hype. People show up for the hype, not for the show. And I like to play with that notion. And I also think it’s fun. You know, some people may never get to walk a red carpet. This gives them the chance to do that. We’re going to have paparazzi and other kind of stuff like that. That in itself is a performance that everyone is able to participate in.
There's a dress code, I notice. Will it be strictly enforced? No, not enforced. But it is strongly suggested. Again, this is part of the idea of performance that allows the audience to participate. But I think it will be fun for people to come — it’s like a costume party. We’ll have photographers in the gallery that can take a photo and kinda capture yourself in the moment. We’re trying to create a space to be reminiscent of a speakeasy … in the display of the art.
Something Like a Fahamenon Through Aug. 15. Free. Opens June 7, 7-10 p.m. See gallery website for summer gallery hours. Vaknin Gallery, 905 Juniper St., Suite 109. 404-513-0169. www.fahamupecouart.com/events/fahamenon_atl.html.
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