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Zora J Murff, At No Point In Between

Zora J Murff | At No Point In Between

Webber Gallery

4 November 2021 - 14 January 2022

Weaving the realities of being both participant and archiver, Zora J Murff’s practice is rooted in the social commentary of white supremacy and its impact on the lives of Black people in America, including his own. Using previous experiences in psychology and social work, alongside a nuanced visual language combining archives, portraiture, and autobiographical accounts, Murff confronts America’s uncomfortable relationship with power, privilege, violence, and race and examines the complicity of the individual and the image in creating and maintaining racial hierarchy.

Questioning racial and cultural constructs, At No Point In Between takes as its subject the black community of Omaha, Nebraska, a place profoundly determined by systemic racism and abhorrent crimes including the lynching of Will Brown in 1919 and the assassination of Vivian Strong in 1969. The work visualizes the people and social environment of the neighbourhood, and how both have been shaped by a legacy of injustice and oppression.

The exhibition interrogates how expressions of white supremacy over black communities have evolved over time; from police brutality to more subtle forms of violence such as redlining and economic despotism.

Murff’s creative approach prompts inquiry into the paradox that exists in recorded violence. He explores how the documentation of anti-black violence is used to shame black individuals, but how those same images are used inversely to interrupt the collective belief of a racial hierarchy.

By challenging the photograph’s use as an objective document and addressing the convergence of the physical and social landscape, Murff reinterprets complex narratives about race, power, and violence. Creating a collection of images scrutinized in both their historical and contemporary contexts, Murff metaphorically connects the body and the landscape, fast and slow violence. By intertwining witnessing and critical analysis, Murff provides a deeper understanding of systemic white supremacy and the resulting violence therein, and confronts the often circular role that photography plays in the documentation and perpetuation of racial profiling.

At No Point In Between is accompanied by a presentation of work at Paris Photo, featuring works from Murff's new series American Mother, American Father, and the launch of Murff’s anticipated new publication, True Colors (or, Affirmations in a Crisis), an incisive, autobiographical retelling of the struggles and epiphanies of a young Black artist, published by Aperture. An exhibition of Murff’s work will be on view in New York, as part of the Next Step Award, a joint collaboration between Aperture and Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, with the generous support of 7G Foundation. In 2020, Zora J Murff was the first artist to receive the award, which aims to identify strong emerging or evolving voices whose work deserves greater recognition.

Zora J Murff will host a presentation of his work as part of Paris Photo's public program on Thursday 11 November at 15.30, and a book signing with Aperture on Friday 12 November.