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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 35 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.

Exhibitions


Current Exhibition

Brion Gysin by Ira Cohen

Brion Gysin:
UNSEEN COLLABORATOR
2 July – 1August 2015
reopening
8th September – 3rd October 2015

October Gallery, London is pleased to present Unseen Collaborator, a solo exhibition of works by Brion Gysin. The exhibition will feature previously unseen drawings, paintings, photography and a film about the complex artist. Neo-calligrapher, master of line, multimedia revolutionary and cultural historian, Gysin’s experiences in New York, Tangier, Paris and London influenced his seminal artistic productions. William Burroughs called Gysin, ‘the only man I truly respect’.



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Forthcoming Exhibition

Aubrey Williams, Realm of the Sun,
1982. Gouache on paper
Aubrey Williams:
REALM OF THE SUN
8 October – 28 November 2015

October Gallery, London, will present an exhibition by Aubrey Williams, introducing works previously unseen.

Aubrey Williams' distinctive contribution to 20th century British art as a master of painterly abstraction is increasingly recognized; a contemporary of Alan Davie and Peter Lanyon, Williams’ work invites productive comparison but has yet to receive comparable attention.

Born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1926, Williams’ early training as an agronomist took him to the north-west rainforest where he lived for two years among the indigenous Warrau people.  This proved to be a formative period of his life in which he, as he later said, 'started to understand what art really is.'


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Most Recent Exhibitions

Wang Huangsheng
Moving Visions Series No.62, 2012.
Ink on paper, 70 x 70 cm.

Wang Huangsheng
UNBROKEN LINE
14 May – Now extended to 27 June

October Gallery will present the first solo show in London of Wang Huangsheng (b.1956, China), whose work is held in many international collections such as the V & A, London, Uffizi Gallery, Florence and the National Art Museum of China, Beijing. Wang Huangsheng, in addition to being a prominent artist, is also one of the most influential figures in the art world of China and the most important supporter of Chinese avant-garde art. He is currently the Director of the CAFA Museum in Beijing, a highly significant art space and former Director of the Guangdong Museum of Art.

As ink painting gains recognition in the west- with the recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China and by the recognition of its influence on western artists from Robert Motherwell to Brice Marden - October Gallery will present the ink paintings of an artist whose works are alert to tradition yet at the same time resolutely contemporary. The exhibition will focus on Wang Huangsheng’s most recent works.

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Kenji Yoshida, Inochi To Heiwa (Life and Peace), 2007.
Oil and metal on canvas, 81 x 65 cm.

Kenji Yoshida
INFINITE LIGHT
2 April - 9 May 2015

October Gallery will present an exhibition of works by the late Kenji Yoshida (1924 - 2009). 
Infinite Light will focus primarily on Yoshida’s later paintings in which gold leaf and other metallic overlays are applied to contrasting fields of bright colour and black ground, creating moving compositions that express the artist’s oft-repeated statement, that ‘Life brightens when peace happens.’ In this magnificent, elliptical language of coloured forms surrounded by silver and gold leaf, Yoshida invites the viewer to consider the fundamental forces of life, and meditate upon that essential unity that binds us all together and dwells in the heart of humanity. For Yoshida, Light represented the ineffable quality of Life that showered down on earth from the infinite depths of space. It was our duty, he believed, to nurture that life-giving force, by reflecting it endlessly amongst ourselves, so that it travelled onwards forever.

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El Anatsui, Image: AG+BA (detail), 2014.
Aluminium, copper wire and nylon string,
size variable.
Photo: Jonathan Greet

El ANATSUI
12 February - 28 March 2015

El Anatsui’s sculptural experiments with media and form have challenged the definition of sculpture itself. In particular, his metal wall-hangings have received international acclaim. Throughout a distinguished forty-year career as both an artist and teacher, El Anatsui has addressed a wide range of social, political and historical concerns and embraced an equally diverse range of media and processes. In 2013, one of his largest metal wall-hangings to utilize his bottle-top technique, TSIATSIA – searching for connection, adorned the façade of Burlington House. Created to coincide with the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013, this remarkable work won the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award.

The exhibition will focus on a range of intricate metal sculptures.

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Liliane Lijn, Way Out Is Way In, 2009.
Painted steel solvent drums, 3 phase motor, inverter & programmed speed & direction control chip, halogen lighting,
300 x 60 cm.

William S. Burroughs
CAN YOU ALL HEAR ME?
Including works by Brion Gysin, Liliane Lijn, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Shezad Dawood & Cerith Wyn Evans
4 December 2014 – 7 Febraury 2015

As the final event celebrating the centenary of William S. Burroughs’s birth, October Gallery, London, presents an exhibition of his art, including rarely-displayed pieces. The exhibition opens 4th December, 2014 and continues until 7th February, 2015, and will highlight artists who have been profoundly influenced by Burroughs’ life, including Brion Gysin, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Liliane Lijn, Shezad Dawood and Cerith Wyn Evans.

Throughout all Burroughs work - art, novels, essays, film and sound experiments - Burroughs wove a passionate message: deconstruct control systems and think for yourself. His art is a personal exploration of intelligence. Artists working in all genres have heard his message, and references to Burroughs’ works are now deeply embedded in our culture, from painting to film to advertising to literature to journalism to music.

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Adejoke Tugbiyele, Flight to Revelation (detail), 2011.
Palm Stems, steel wire, trivet and mannequin head,
183 x 152 x 92cm. Photo: Lloyd Lowe Jr.
INTERWOVEN HISTORIES
30 October to 29 November 2014

October Gallery, London, presents Interwoven Histories,an exhibition of compelling mixed-media works by artists from Africa. With remarkable new works by artists, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Nnenna Okore and Romuald Hazoumè, this exhibition will also introduce works by artist Adejoke Tugbiyele.

This exhibition looks at the creative force of the hand. Instead of using traditional artistic tools and technology, each artist weaves or moulds together stark narratives by hand.

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Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 10, 2013.
Acrylic on canvas, 190 x 180 cm.
Photo © Joachim Fliegner.

Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 19, 2013.
Acrylic on canvas, 180 x 280 cm.
Photo © Joachim Fliegner.

Owusu-Ankomah, Microcron Begins No. 1, 2012.
Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 139 cm.
Photo © Joachim Fliegner.
Owusu Ankomah
MICROCRON BEGINS
showing until 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.

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Ablade Glover, Red Townscape III, 2010.
Oil on canvas, 92 x 76 cm

Ablade Glover, Jubilation II, 2009.
Oil on canvas, 102 x 102 cm
Ablade Glover
80th ANNIVERSARY
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.

Now in his 80th year, Glover will exhibit a selection of works which represent his insatiable passion for movement, activity and colour. Using, a palette knife he applies his oils in a thick impasto.  Heavy layers of bright colours invoke the bustling crowds, the heat, thriving market stalls and dusty shanty towns of his acclaimed market paintings.  Individual figures emerge from the crowds and it is this endless movement of the masses which underpins Glover’s market scenes.  The roughly textured surfaces of his canvases recall an earth parched by the powerful African sun.

Accentuated by his choice of vibrant colours expressing the visual richness of the African continent, Glover amasses energy from his subjects. Every singular vivid fleck of colour represents the vigour recognisable in each of his works. Drawing themes from his environment, Glover effortlessly transports the viewer into the scene. Often the perspective that Glover employs is from a high vantage point overlooking the town, beach or crowd below. From this position, the viewer becomes an involved and captivated onlooker.

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Gonaz Fathi, Untitled 26, 2014.
Acrylic, pen and varnish on canvas, 146 x 128 cm.

Gonaz Fathi, Untitled 31, 2014.
Acrylic, pen and varnish on canvas, 146 x 128 cm.
Golnaz Fathi
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.

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Aubrey Williams
Shostakovich 10th Symphony Opus 93, 1981. 163 x 245cm

Romuald Hazoumè, Ma Poule, 2013.
Found objects, 46 x 42 x 12 cm.
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;

Aubrey Williams, Gerald Wilde, Kenji Yoshida, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, El Anatsui, Rachid Koraïchi, Romuald Hazoumè and Laila Shawa.

In 1979, coining the word, Transvangarde, the gallery aimed to explore the capacity of art to transcend boundaries and to exhibit the work of artists who were implementing new creative strategies across the globe.


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Tian Wei, Sex, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 177 x 262 cm.
Photo: Gu Xiaobo

Tian Wei, Zen, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 262 x 177 cm.
Photo: Yang Wei


TIAN WEI
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.


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October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367 Fax: + 44 (0)20 7405 1851