Reflection Eternal

The Candyman Illustrated Syllabus

Culver Center of the Arts

August 31, 2019 - January 5, 2020

Since the premiere of the first Candyman film in 1992, Clive Barker's titular character has haunted the dreams and nightmares of an entire generation. The dark, violent, and romantic apparition has given us an index for projections of monstrosity and desire for black bodies. Reflection Eternal: The Candyman Illustrated Syllabus, from the Black Kirby duo, will explore the various possible social meanings of this haunted and horrifying spirit via a collection of installations, digital media, and printed artwork.

BLACK KIRBY is a collaborative "entity" that is Stacey Robinson (Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Illustration, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign) and John Jennings (Professor of Media and Cultural Studies, UC Riverside). Black Kirby functions as a rhetorical tool by appropriating comic legend Jack Kirby's bold forms and energetic ideas combined with themes centered around Afrofuturism, social justice, representation, magical realism, and using the culture of Hip Hop as a methodology for creating visual communication. It also utilizes the notion of an alter-ego as a symbolic allegory for DuBoisian "double-consciousness" theory. This collection of work samples from Kirby's style but also remixes it with the formal and conceptual influences from many other artists, pop culture, and artistic expressions. In a sense, Black Kirby uses the comics medium as a conceptual crossroads to examine identity as a socialized concept through bricolage, pastiche, oppositional juxtapositions, and deconstruction. It is the artists' hope to destabilize various ideas of "blackness" in order to promote a broader spectrum of black subjectivity. They are also interested in examining its performance via their practice which is highly informed by their theoretical construction called Critical Race Design Studies.

Image courtesy of Black Kirby