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Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2)
Glenn Ligon
Artwork 2007
A photograph of Glenn Ligon's black PVC and white neon installation 'Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2)' shows the word 'ME' delineated on a white moveable gallery wall, with the word 'WE' below it.
Artwork: Glenn Ligon, Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2) (2007). Black PVC and white neon. 192 x 188.5 cm. Courtesy of The Studio Museum, Harlem.
Artist Glenn Ligon Title Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2) Date 2007 Materials Black PVC and white neon Dimensions 192 x 188.5 cm Credit Courtesy of The Studio Museum, Harlem

“Cultural translation, like any other translation,” the artist Glenn Ligon says, “is always involved with loss, the untranslatable, excess meanings, the indecipherable.” Recognised for his language-based conceptualism, Ligon’s practice cleaves cultural representation from its pictorial and linguistic signs. He works against the assumed legibility of black bodies to explore African American identity and queer sexuality, gesturing to the inadequacies of representation, to the imperfect translation of lived experience in image and word. He borrows widely from literature and popular culture yet disrupts the call and response these familiar quotations inspire, the recognition and implied meaning they have come to signify. Ligon invites the viewer to look again, to see anew, to re-evaluate the implications of these shared symbols.