Garrett Bradley: Safe
Sep 23 – Oct 29, 2022
Lisson Gallery
London, UK

The commitment to interiority and ordinary life, consistently present in Black women’s independent cinema, counteracts the spectacularity that historically, as now, has been too often strangled by profit and libidinally driven demands to see black suffering; it marks instead, a form of openness and care. –Yasmina Price

The American artist and filmmaker Garrett Bradley opens her inaugural exhibition with Lisson Gallery this autumn. Safe (2022) is the second in a trilogy of short films that explore the nuanced overlap between women’s interior and exterior lives. The film succeeds AKA (2019), a cinematic meditation on the intergenerational relationships between mothers and daughters which probes the interconnection of white and black women, as it is portrayed in classic American cinema.

If AKA looked to exterior relationships, Safe focuses on inner life, which the artist likens to “entire worlds which may be elusive or indiscernible, but remain vivid, infinite and parallel to the outside world.” Working again with Donna Crump (America) and Aloné Watts (Alone, America), this new work explores an attempt to capture the ineffable nature of interior emotions. Seizing on the medium’s predicament of expression – given that the interior is not discursive and cannot be fully represented – Bradley suggests that the interior is a radical, even political space of Black life that is often dismissed for its resistance to description; in this case, one’s ability to visualize intuition, instinct and an increasing sense of paralysis in modern life. Visual metaphor is treated as a means to approximate interior emotion (and lesser known histories), which Bradley suggests as a potent and meaningful form of human expression.

Also on view: AKA (2019) is presented at MOCA, Los Angeles as part of the final leg of Bradley’s American museum touring show, American Rhapsody, from September 10 – February 19, 2023, first seen in Houston; while another new work will debut at MoMA, New York, for the exhibition, Just Above Midtown: 1974 to the Present, from October 9 – February 18, 2023.


In Conversation: Garrett Bradley and Ekow Eshun
October 14, 2022 / Barbican Centre

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