Wardell Milan’s work explores the absurdity of politics, sociopolitical structures, power dynamics and spectatorship on one’s personal existence.
The Balcony alludes to the relationship between performer and spectator in a theatre setting. Milan imagines the viewers observing the action ‘as if they are sitting above in a balcony watching the melodrama unfold before them.’ In his work, human bodies become stages on which questions of gender, race, sexuality and power are being negotiated.
Milan first initiated The Balcony by creating a suite of eight etchings in 2019. In 2022, he extends the portfolio through a second series of eight etchings entitled The Balcony: The World is Made of Eggs. Though made at different times, both suites were strongly affected by the circumstances in which they came into being and Milan’s engagement with the visual culture surrounding him, including imagery from news feeds.
When I’m working, I become extremely conscious about that imagery and how images of war or images of beauty cannot only change or affect my mood but also how it can inform someone as relates to what they want to aspire to, and how they want to retreat or engage with the world.Wardell Milan
Milan has used images from the news or magazines as reference points for the compositions, which are executed on copper plates. The result is a series of prints that have evolved between 2019 and 2022, employing a range of time-honoured printmaking techniques which are executed in a range of grey tones, pattern and line work to create decidedly contemporary, politically charged visual narratives.
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Wardell MilanThe most dangerous thing about being a Black woman in America. Is being a Black woman in America, 2022From the portfolio The Balcony: The World is Made of Eggs€1.625
Wardell Milan__ Migrants arrive to __ in Record Numbers, on Foot Not by Boat, 2022From the portfolio The Balcony: The World is Made of Eggs€1.625
Wardell MilanFire, Debris and Charred Mannequins: A Missile Strike Hits a ___ Shopping Center, 2022From the portfolio The Balcony: The World is Made of Eggs€1.625
Wardell MilanI never spend this much time with myself, 2022From the portfolio The Balcony: The World is Made of Eggs€1.625