(born 1970, USA)
Biggers’s recent multimedia project, THE SOMETHIN’ SUITE, was commissioned by PERFORMA 07 and premiered at the Second Visual Art Performance Biennale in New York in autumn 2007.Since the 1990s Biggers has been fascinated by the correspondences between different spiritual and cultural systems. The principles of universality and community he has found in both African-American and Buddhist traditions has been a particular influence on both his film and object-based practice. Made on location in Japan, Hip Hop Ni Sasagu (In Fond Memory of Hip Hop) examines the objects used by individuals to express particular codes of belief. The video documents an improvised bell-ringing ensemble performed by the artist and fifteen others at the Joanin Zen temple in Ibaraki. A number of the ‘singing bells’ used in the video were fabricated from melted-down jewellery associated with hip hop that the artist found in Japan. Biggers has noted that hip hop is both ‘everything and nothing’. This ambivalence may be reflected in his use of a bell choir and Buddhist meditation to memorialise hip hop.
Sanford Biggers was born in Los Angeles in 1970. He studied at Morehouse College, Atlanta and subsequently at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago where he gained a Masters in Fine Art. During the early 1990s he travelled to Japan, an experience which was to have a lasting impact on his practice. With an interest in performance and participation, he uses a variety of media in his work. A solo exhibition of his video work was held at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati in 2004.