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Adducing black feminism’s theories of the flesh and Mikhail Bakhtin’s conception of the grotesque, this chapter reads together Kenyan American visual artist Wangechi Mutu and African American genderqueer author Marci Blackman to make the case for Black grotesquerie as an expressive mode that undermines the prevailing social order by confounding its representational logics. As a concept, Black grotesquerie reconfigures the terms of contemporary black struggle by rendering the boundary between (black) living and (black) dying porous and negotiable. As an expressive practice, it infuses the materiality of the black body with the textuality of the art object. Rather than merely signifying excess, dread, or decay, Black grotesquerie delineates an aesthetic practice of contortion, exaggeration, substitution, inversion, and corruption. As such, it is an expressive practice of formal disintegration and recombinant gathering—the assembly and aestheticization of remains—to open pathways for as-yet-unrealized and as-yet-unimagined black futures.

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