Teju Cole

Blind Spot

OCTOBER 29 – JANUARY 21, 2019 [closed for winter break]


In addition to his exhibition Blind Spot in the Hanes Gallery, the highly-regarded novelist, essayist, critic, and photographer, Teju Cole will speak at WFU on Oct 30 as part of the Voices Of Our Time series. Blind Spot will present 33 photographs following the format of his most recent book of the same name, which also served as an expanded catalog for his exhibition at the Steven Kasher Gallery, NYC, in 2017.

In his 2011 novel Open City, but also in his photography and his essays, Cole extends and updates the idea of the flaneur inherited from Charles Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin; the inveterate, even compulsive walker as a close observer of the quantum mechanics of the contemporary metropolis, who, by so looking and notating, slightly alters the urban fabric. As chronicled, Cole’s own peripatetic life reveals him to be both a participant and critic of the globalized world. His photographic work is a natural outgrowth of an observational fixation, and implicitly argues that this approach is an active one, not a passive stance.

Cole’s photography does not rely upon written narrative, but the aphoristic commentary which he pairs with the images in both the book and exhibited work of Blind Spot presents a complementary layer, merging “reading” and “looking.” These texts carry intersecting themes and observations shared with, condensed, or developed from his fiction and his recent collection of essays, Known and Strange Things. Teju Cole’s spheres of activity are likewise intertwined and evade rigid categorization, opening up to the rich and fraught complexities of our world.

Teju Cole, as an artist, writer, and public intellectual, engages a broad range of ideas, steeped in both academic training and lived experience, synthesized in fiction, essays and photography. He is the photography critic of the New York Times Magazine and the Gore Vidal Professor of the Practice of Creative Writing at Harvard. Teju Cole has contributed to the New Yorker, Granta, Brick, and many other magazines. Born in the US, raised in Nigeria, and since 1992 a resident of New York City, Cole studied medicine and obtained a doctorate in art history before writing his first novel, Open City, and taking up photography. Teju Cole is the author, in addition to Open City and Known and Strange Things, of Every Day is for the Thief. His photographs have been exhibited in Italy, Iceland, India, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the US.


Curator: Paul Bright (Hanes Gallery), with Steven Kasher Gallery (NYC) and the artist

Upcoming Exhibitions

Gianni Cestari: City of Broken Shadows
Alexandra Davenport: Stop Motion
February 4 – March 31, 2019

Annual Student Art and Honors Exhibitions
April 18 – May 20, 2019

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