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Restraint Restrained

28 September – 26 October 2019, Block 336, London

Restraint Restrained, the first solo exhibition by Bristol artist Kat Anderson, was commissioned by Block 336 in partnership with Black Cultural Archives (BCA). 

The artist conducted a residency at BCA where she accessed specific materials, developing her ongoing research project: Episodes of Horror which explores the horror of trauma experienced by and projected upon Black bodies in literature and lens-based media. The works draw on the experiences and narratives of the many mentally ill Black people who have met their deaths in police custody or mental health facilities, through excessive restraint holds and other violent and negligent behaviours. 

Restraint Restrained references the central premise of Frantz Fanon’s essay ‘Concerning Violence’, in which he claims that in order for the decolonisation of indigenous land to happen, a total and violent purging of the colonisers by the indigenous people must occur. Anderson repurposes this idea to consider how the contemporary Black mind and body, as a ‘colonised space’, is processed through public health and police institutions; understanding such authorities as embodiments and enforcers of structural white supremacy.

Kat Anderson is an artist and curator, mainly working in moving image, with an interest in Black Diaspora identities, Black trauma and mental health. Recent work has been two commissions from KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin for her on-going project Episodes of Horror (EOH), which explores the subjects of horror and trauma, as experienced by or projected upon Black bodies in lens-based media and literature. Also for EOH Anderson recently did a residency at Metal, Liverpool where through the notion of seminal moments of both civic and personal change, she examined the historic and contemporary intersection of race, poverty and mental illness as ‘hauntings’, in the lives of Black Liverpudlians. 

Previously Kat did a residency at the Stuart Hall Library as part of the Beyond the Frame project, a 22-month professional-development programme with the International Curators Forum, which is managed by the Stuart Hall Foundation trustee David A. Bailey.