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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.

The Royal Academy of Arts elects
El Anatsui as an Honorary Academician

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Current Exhibition

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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Forthcoming Exhibition

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
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.

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Most Recent Exhibitions

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 Events

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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