Vision and Desire with Paul Mpagi Sepuya

“I don’t think desire can be separated from vision, and I don’t think it can be separated from photography regardless of whether or not there is a human body in the photograph. It’s not just about sexual lust. The surfaces and mirrors that I use reference an art historical, vernacular historical, or contemporary reference that assert the importance of desire in photography. Photography is a technology that produces for us images that wish to be seen. Photographs wouldn’t exist if we didn’t desire them to, whether that desire comes from lust or curiosity.”

Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Vision and Desire with Paul Mpagi Sepuya

We’re kicking off this week with the words of artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya, whose artwork Self-portrait Study with Roses at Night (1709) is on view in Scaife Gallery 16. Come see this remarkable work in person!

A collage of photographs showing a person who is seated and another photograph showing the same person laying on a floor, these images are layered over a background image of a metal chair and a camera on a tripod
Paul Mpagi Sepuya; Self-portrait Study with Roses at Night (1709), 2015; Carnegie Museum of Art: Gruber Family Fund. © Paul Mpagi Sepuya.