Julia Stoschek Collection


Arthur Jafa
2013 / video / colour / sound

In his video work “Apex” (2013) Arthur Jafa combines images of (American) pop culture with those of blatant violence. Carried by electronic club beats, the viewers encounter a fast-paced sequence of immersive images.

A person of colour, read as male, dances in the street, she is seen from behind.

Arthur Jafa, Apex, 2013. Video, 8'22", colour, sound. Video still

Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York/Rome. On loan from the JULIA STOSCHEK FOUNDATION, Berlin/Düsseldorf

  • 8 min 22 sec

In his artistic practice Arthur Jafa not only works with material he has filmed himself but also with found footage. “Apex” was created from a compendium he gathered over several years consisting of photographs, film stills, and graphic images that he edited, placed in sequence, and arranged as a film in 2013. The rapid series of images is strongly rhythmic while also synchronised with the electronic beats of DJ Robert Hood from Detroit: in 492 seconds viewers are confronted by 841 images. Arthur Jafa combines pictures of music icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, fictional characters like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat as well as images of jazz and pop culture with disturbing evidence of murder, slavery, and discrimination against black people. The connections that arise highlight the history and present of black culture, and attempt to transpose the “strength, beauty and alienation” (Arthur Jafa) of African American music to film.