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48 jumpsuits, 96 Converse sneakers, one man with a lot of things to say in under 140 characters. If we're talking numbers, that's what you see when you walk into 'i feel ya,' an installation at Mana Wynwood that also serves as André 3000 Benjamin's debut as an artist at Art Basel.
Presented by the SCAD Museum of Art, 'i feel ya,' is a collaboration between André and two SCAD alumni—Jimmy O'Neal, a mixed media artist whose large-scale mirrored works line the walls, and Greg Brunkala, whose film Trumpets projects André's thoughts onto a revolving set of faces both young and old.
Out of the 48 suits shown, André only actually wore 46 during his 2014 Outkast World Tour; the 47th on display was designed for a 12-month-old, while a 48th made for the exhibit rounds things out with the phrase 'i feel ya.' When asked about his affection for the jumpsuit, the performer's answer was simple. "Because it's easy to move in, I can easily fold it up, and it's great tour gear. I can travel across the world and repeat it every night," he said before leaving to snap selfies with guests.
The show is essentially a dark, nylon-outfitted expanse of what André's Twitter feed would look like if he had one (one jumpsuit confesses, "i've never had f@cebook, twitt@r, or inst@gram"). "This whole thing was about saying these little things, little stupid stuff because I thought someone at home was thinking the same thing," the Outkast frontman said of the works. "You know what I mean? I wanted to have the connection, so 'i feel ya' is the easiest way to say that." Meanwhile, the exhibit notes suggest that the show is, "an invitation to think critically and consider rhetorical expression."
After walking up and down the parallel lines of mannequins, we took away some seriously deep questions ("can one rest in peace and violence"), some of André's deepest confessions ("fruit snack addict"), and some solid pieces of advice ("replace your toothbrush"). Like all good art, though, some of it remained inscrutable. Well, what would you take from "sloppy wet poseidon?"