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Welcome to the website of the October Gallery, the first London gallery to exhibit cutting-edge contemporary art from around the planet and leading pioneer of the Transvangarde - the shape of things to come.

Exhibitions


Current Exhibition

Adejoke Tugbiyele, Flight to Revelation, 2011. Palm Stems, steel wire, trivet and mannequin head, 183 x 152 x 92 cm.
Photo credit. Lloyd Lowe Jr
INTERWOVEN HISTORIES
30 October – 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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Forthcoming Exhibition

William S Burroughs, Unworkable Machine, 1993.
Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 183 x 122 cm.
copyright the Estate of William S. Burroughs.

William S. Burroughs
CAN YOU ALL HEAR ME?
Including works by Brion Gysin, Liliane Lijn, Genesis P-Orridge & Shezad Dawood
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 P-Orridge, Liliane Lijn, Shezad Dawood, and others.

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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Most Recent Exhibitions

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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Jukhee Kwon, Sense and Nonsense in Art, 2013.
Shredded book, 15 x 11 x 10 cm.
Photo. Cosimo Trimboli.


Jukhee Kwon, Libro Libero (detail), 2013.
Paper (one book) and paper scrolls, 140 x 100 cm.



JUKHEE KWON
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.”

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Govinda Sah 'Azad', Salvation, 2011.
Oil and acrylic on canvas, 148 x 148 cm.

Govinda Sah 'Azad', Untitled Red - II, 2013.
Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm.



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.



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Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Ng'endo cia Mũgendi - Immigrants' Journeys, 2013, 229 x 165 cm. Photo: Jonathan Greet.

Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Magetha ma njahi – The Big Harvest, 2012. Stainless steel wire, woven kiondo basket strips and recycled glass beads, 176 x 115 cm. Photo: Jonathan Greet.

Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga:
ITUIKA–TRANSFORMATION
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.

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El Anatsui, Balkan, 2012.
Aluminium and copper wire, 260 x 320 cm

Gerald Wilde, Intelligance Now, 1977.
Oil on paper,, 135 x 177 cm.



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.
Masters of the Transvangarde celebrates the pioneers of the “trans-cultural avant-garde”, with an eclectic gathering of masterpieces of contemporary art from around the world.

Also on display will be work by William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Rachid Koraïchi, Gerald Wilde and Kenji Yoshida.

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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