At Work a group exhibition organised by The Arthouse Foundation is billed to open on Saturday January 27, 6pm at the Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The exhibition is the final projects of the Arthouse Foundation Artist Residency Programme, which features works by Francois Beaurain, Nengi Omuku, Thierry Oussou, Jimmy Nwanne, Gloria Oyarzabal Lodge and Christian Newby, created during the artists’ three-month residencies with the Arthouse Foundation in 2017.
With a prompt to experiment with new forms and ideas that were inspired by their experiences in Lagos, these artists produced new series that form a spatial and conceptual mapping of the city. They question how we interact and move within the urban environment and how cultural identity is framed through complex social and political forces. Working across across painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, collage, mixed media and textiles, they adopt diverse practices including the exploration of the archive and the experimentation of tactile materials. They raise issues of the fragmented self, of the interactive community, and of our place within the global sphere.
Francois Beaurain appropriates Nollywood movie posters that he has been collecting for years and uses as raw material for collages. Focusing on the isolation and repetition of a single figure, Beaurain’s collages adopt a “cloning” process that echoes the way that these posters are displayed in streets and markets throughout Africa. Born in France in 1976, Beaurain lives and works between Paris and Rabat, Morocco.
Nengi Omuku explores the meeting points between abstraction and representation, where the fragmented body is depicted as colored, multifaceted and amorphous. She points to the stages where the body breaks down and de-materializes in the representational sense, in a process of becoming. Born in Nigeria in 1987, Omuku lives and works in Port Harcourt.
Kadara Enyeasi combines photography, drawing and sculpture to form a psychological study that abstracts the body and reduces the human form. Enyeasi’s project is influenced by diverse cultural influences, including Rotimi Fani Kayode, Jean Hans Arp, Henri Mattise and Rei Kawakubo, reinterpreting past artists’ practices and imagining their intersections. Born in Nigeria in 1994, Enyeasi lives and works in Lagos.
Thierry Oussou oscillates between abstraction and representation, portraying characters and symbols that suggest implied narratives amidst a free-flowing style. Oussou’s project in Lagos explores his surroundings in a new urban environment, looking closely at the social and psychological intensity of the city. Born in Benin in 1988, Oussou lives and works in Benin and Amsterdam.
Jimmy Nwanne focuses on themes of boundaries and transcendence, making associations to identity, tribe, gender and social hierarchies. Combining fabrics, local newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and charcoal, Nwanne focuses on symbols of movement and migration. Using a cut and paste technique, Nwanne alludes to overlapping influences that exist with the same social sphere. Born in Nigeria in 1989, Nwanne lives and works in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Gloria Oyarzabal Lodge explores the vernacular representation of African women in the archives of the National Museum, Lagos, among other sources. Oyarzabal points out that we cannot universalize discourses of feminism, looking at alternative models outside of the Western concept of the nuclear family. By reconsidering the historical context of the photographic archive, Oyarzabal opens overlooked factors that constitute our notions of gender and identity. Born in the United Kingdom in 1971, Oyarzabal lives and works in Madrid.
Christian Newby explores the tufted surface as a site of technical and aesthetic mutability—examining how we partition meaning throughout textile practices. Newby tests how a contingent and qualitative deviation in technique can fundamentally pivot the carpet or rug from a decorative, user-orientated commercial product to a critical and rhetorical representation, confronting persistent challenges in how we differentiate and codify technique and meaning within textiles. Born in the United States in 1979, Newby lives and works in London.
At Work is supported by Kia Motors runs till February 10, 2018.