18 September – 25 October 2014
In his second solo exhibition at October Gallery the renowned artist Owusu-Ankomah will exhibit a new body of works on canvas.
Born in Sekondi, Ghana, in 1956, Owusu-Ankomah pursued studies in Fine Arts at Ghanatta College in Accra before moving to Bremen, Germany where he now lives and works. His charged paintings on canvas depict an alternate world wherein monumental human figures – his core motif – are shown moving within an ocean of signs that surround, support and, in fact, define them. The way in which these figures coexist and interact with various symbolic sets has developed through distinct phases over time, reflecting Owusu-Ankomah’s own journey of spiritual discovery. His early work drew heavily on the ancient traditions of African rock-painting and masquerade, before his figures shed their masks and body paintings to become unashamedly visible. Finally, naked and powerful, these eloquent actors became covered in scripts of complex symbols that, in a studied trompe l’oeil effect, camouflage their finely sculpted bodies against alternating backgrounds of relevant and significant signs.
Using a palette of new colours, Owusu-Ankomah’s latest work further develops these possibilities, adding further visual signs of his own invention to the customary lexicon of adinkra symbols which each represent a particular concept used by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana. In the same Akan language kusum refers to sacred sites involved in the secret performances of mystery rites. Owusu-Ankomah extends his visual explorations in novel directions by developing innovative symbols, such as the Microcron – the circle of shining orbs signifying ‘universes inside universes,’ which so entrances the figure in the image above. This unique symbolic logic yokes together ancient traditions of secret knowledge with current speculation about the mysterious nature of reality derived from theoretical physics, which predicts the parallel coexistence of multi-dimensional universes within a single multiverse.
Most Recent Exhibitions
3 July – 2 August 2014
On the occasion of his 80th birthday, October Gallery will present an exhibition of paintings by the renowned artist Ablade Glover, celebrating a lifelong passion for the colour, energy and vibrancy of his native Ghana.
DANCE ME TO THE END OF NIGHT
8 May – 28 June 2014
October Gallery, London presents Dance Me to the End of Night by Golnaz Fathi comprising large scale canvases, works on paper and video. Dance Me to the End of Night will mark her second solo exhibition at October Gallery.
Born in Tehran in 1972, Golnaz Fathi is an influential member of an exciting group of contemporary artists to surface in Iran over the last several years. While studying Graphic Design at Azad University in Tehran, Fathi, always fascinated by the expressive potential of traditional Persian calligraphic forms, immersed herself in a sustained six-year study of traditional calligraphy. She then became one of only a tiny handful of women trained to the highest level within that discipline.
Despite this Fathi felt the need to expand her practice; she substituted pen and ink for qalam to develop an idiom of her own with large, bold abstractions. Shifting her focus towards the form of her script, Fathi rejected the rules she had previously learned, and began to combine painting with traditional calligraphic practices to create densely textured compositions devoid of referential meaning. With the freedom of allowing her mind to form her letters, Fathi was able to explore in-depth her artistic expression. These composites of urgent spontaneous glyphs and deep brush strokes become polysemic with their unique adaption of language.
35 YEARS OF TRANSVANGARDE
Contemporary art from around the planet
10 April – 3 May 2014
October Gallery, London, will celebrate its 35th anniversary this April, with an exhibition of work from some of the most outstanding artists from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas.
The first gallery in the United Kingdom to exhibit contemporary art from all around the world, October Gallery opened its doors thirty-five years ago declaring, 'Artists from Around the Planet: Intelligence, Intuition and Action'. Led by Director, Chili Hawes and Artistic Director, Elisabeth Lalouschek, the gallery has since played a pioneering role in the promotion and exhibition of some of the most innovative and exciting artists of our time, including;
6 February 2014 – 5 April 2014
October Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new works by the Chinese artist, Tian Wei. This will be his premiere solo exhibition in the United Kingdom.
Both theoretically and formally, Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as dyadic opposites, binary poles or complementary pairs. This perspective of Yin and Yang is deeply embedded in Chinese thinking, and the artist’s frequent reference to Classic texts such as the I Ching (The Book of Changes) and Tao Te Ching appear as quotations in minute script patterning the background upon which larger semi-abstract cursive shapes are drawn. On trying to read these lines as Chinese characters, however, anyone familiar with Chinese poetry, painting or philosophy is bound to be frustrated, since the conundrum of interpreting the meaning of the flowing shapes can only be resolved in English. The lines, in fact, spell out simple English nouns, adjectives and phrases such as ‘Myth’,‘Red’ and ‘Money Makes the World Go Round.’ These carefully chosen words give the viewer access to the artist’s lived experience of both Eastern and Western spheres. In one of these large-scale works, the word ‘Sex’ stands out as bright red gestural daubs, on a canvas of the same colour, its thick impasto brush strokes layering the surface with tiny shadows. Drawn with great freedom, the brush strokes are sharp yet sinuous and though enigmatic, the lettering is ultimately comprehensible to any viewer who reads English.
5 December 2013 – 1 February 2014
October Gallery presents an exhibition of new works by Jukhee Kwon. This will be her first solo exhibition at October Gallery, London.
Juhkee Kwon (South Korea) studied Fine Art at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, before obtaining an MA from Camberwell College of Arts, London. She has exhibited internationally, and her work is included in various collections. She now lives and works in Italy.
Kwon creates captivating works, quite literally, from the printed page. Using abandoned and disused books, she shreds the pages by hand to create magnificent ‘book sculptures’. These effervescent sculptures, brimming with energy, flow from their spines in the form of cascading waterfalls. Each book, thus deconstructed, attains to a new existence through this transformational creative process. Much of her work plays with ideas of destruction and re-creation.
Kwon’s cutting and slicing techniques become a performance with each fragile page demanding attention. Although unseen by the viewer, her intricate actions during this process are projected through the complexity of the finished piece. Kwon’s imagination is realised through the adaptable structure of the book which transcends its original purpose. The act of the book’s expansion alludes to a feeling of freedom and movement, mimicking in a sense, her migratory experience. As she cuts each strand, the process becomes a means to travel the tracks of half-held memories and to retrace those first conscious steps towards the creation of a new life.
This exhibition focuses primarily on Kwon’s latest creations. Not only is the book an object brought back to life, Kwon transforms it to become a life derivative of its past and its narrative - the idea of a book retaining an essence of its previous owner, each emanating an individual past.
As Kwon notes, “For me, each book has individual personality and it has narrative and history like a human being.”
Govinda Sah ‘Azad’:
LIGHTNESS OF BEING
31 October – 30 November 2013
October Gallery, London, presents Lightness of Being, a solo exhibition by Govinda Sah 'Azad’, comprising both small and larger-scale paintings on canvas.
Following his recent solo show in New York, The Universe Within (2013), this Autumn’s exhibition marksSah’s second showing at October Gallery. Born in Nepal, where he studied Fine Arts at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, before completing his MFA at Wimbledon College of Arts, in 2008, Sah now lives and works in London.
What marks Govinda Sah’s art as exceptional is not simply his dedicated pursuit of the painter’s craft, nor the quality of the technical skills he masters to create these canvases, but rather the effortless manner in which he balances traditional eastern metaphysical insights about the nature of reality with visual realisations that are in accord with the latest formulations of contemporary western science. His first showing, Transcriptions (2011), revealed the extraordinary breadth of Sah’s perspective, detailing an astonishing range of visionary imagery: imaginary vistas of intergalactic fields sown with primal matter, vivid cosmogonic explorations, super-novae explosions brilliantly illuminated in chiaroscuro and the birth of stars, coalescing from clouds of interstellar dust.
Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga:
12 September – 26 October 2013
October Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition of works by Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga. This will be her first solo exhibition in London.
Born in 1960, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. She first studied art at the University of Nairobi, Kenya before continuing her studies at UCLA, USA. She now lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. Gakunga has displayed works in numerous exhibitions in the USA, France, Brazil and Poland.
The exhibited works are predominantly wall-hanging sculptures ingeniously created from tin cans, steel wire and oxidised sheet metal forms. While the techniques Gakunga uses are common to the fibre arts across many traditions, her chosen materials are not. Corroded sheet metal, rusted tin cans and stainless steel wire all follow the concept of Jua Kali, a Swahili expression literally meaning ‘under the hot sun’ and refer to the idea of chance effects created out of things which have been discarded. Here, nothing go e.
MASTERS of the TRANSVANGARDE
23 May – 3 Aug 2013
To coincide with El Anatsui’s monumental installation covering the façade of the Royal Academy of Arts during their Summer Exhibition, October Gallery, London, will display two of the artist’s recent works, Iris and Balkan in the exhibition Masters of the Transvangarde.