Ibrahim El-Salahi: Opening Tuesday September 18th

Opening Tuesday 18th September; 'By His Will We Teach Birds How to Fly; Ibrahim El-Salahi in Black and White.’  Vigo Gallery.

El-Salahi is a visionary modernist who created a unique visual vocabulary and æsthetic that have come to define the modernist experience in Africa and the Arab world. This show travels on in part from his exhibition at the Prince Claus Foundation last year and will be the most comprehensive exhibition of black and white works to date, spanning the last seventy years.  The exhibition is curated by Salah Hassan curator of Ibrahim’s shows at Tate Modern, Sharjah Art Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund and myself. 

Beginning with El-Salahi’s seminal series By His Will We Teach Birds How to Fly (1969), the exhibition evolves spatially and chronologically, covering a range of the artist’s works from early calligraphic book illustrations, to his more recent notebook drawings. Sourced from the artist’s private collection many of these will be shown for the first time whilst others were exhibited in his major retrospective show at Tate Modern, in 2013 and more recently in his 2018 solo exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in his home town of Oxford. 

By His Will is an early, landmark series embodying a mode of work, ideas and an aesthetic that underlie his larger oeuvre. It is testimony to his spirituality and passion for freedom and human dignity. Inspiration for this series came from a habit his father, like Ibrahim a devout Sufi, had of praying with his index fingers pointing outwards from his entwined hands, forming a shape that resembled the beak of the bird prevalent in El-Salahi’s dreams. The bird is a classic motif that recurs in El-Salahi’s work from the early sixties to the present, representing freedom, justice and also the artist himself.

In the late sixties El-Salahi talked of having ‘cut myself loose from all ties to any style I had embraced in the past, or to any current school in the art of the period. At the same time, I was unembarrassed about staying open to the fleeting inspiration of vision and spirit.’

It is these fleeting moments, apparent in this series and throughout his career, where visual images intermingle with visions and dreams that have inspired El-Salahi’s visual dramas and given vent to his artistic passions and emotions. In this El-Salahi shares a surrealist’s tendency to explore the unconsciousness and tap into a world of dreams and fantasies. 

Earlier this year MoMA acquired El-Salahi’s Prison Notebook, one of the artist’s masterpieces and a pivotal work in the development of his creative process. The book, included in the show has just been published by MoMA and Sharjah Art Foundation. For six months and eight days during 1976-77, El-Salahi was unjustly jailed on political grounds and during this time of suffering and self-reflection we see the black and white works move towards an organic unfolding of dreamlike imagery, a flow of consciousness with him channeling a higher force.  By necessity he could only use scraps of paper from cement bags used to wrap food and a small four-inch pencil he would hide in the sand. Only when the guards were not looking would he put them together to make the whole. This was an evolution, albeit initially forced, in the artist’s practice that has stayed with him to this day.

Many of El-Salahi’s most important works have emerged from similarly organic processes; either from a method of spatial growth where pieces of paper are added as the composition expands, or completed in notebooks where one drawing flows into the next. His latest black and white works, the Pain Relief series, some of which were exhibited at the Ashmolean, are created on the backs of his used medicine packets, functioning as drawings in their own right, as well as templates for larger monoprint paintings on canvas. In this way they serve to realize an impact he still wishes to achieve but cannot through physical constraint. Working from his armchair, El-Salahi says he ceases to feel his pain when immersed in making these drawings and is, instead, free in the dreamlike realm of imagination and creation. 

For El-Salahi, the act of drawing in pencil, pen and ink as his preferred medium relates to his interest in calligraphy and communication but also more importantly to the immediate, meditative and spiritual rendering of his ideas. 

When asked recently what were his best works, El-Salahi just said the black and white and smiled.

It is that moment in prayer


In silence we feel


We were there


Where things begin in 

His name


To make real sense 


No more no less

Ibrahim El-Salahi, 2016

Thukral and Tagra: Opening September 19, 2018

Opening on September 19, 2018 
Solo exhibition at [dip] contemporary art, Lugano, Switzerland

[dip] contemporary art presents Indian artists Thukral & Tagra’s first solo show in Switzerland, SOMNIUM SEMINIBUS II. The exhibition brings the public into a particular atmosphere, illustrating a wide variety of plant species, while the artists explore the coexistence of elements of nature, raising questions and curiosities on their origins and the past. 

Pedro Reyes: Creative Time Gala 2018

CreativeTime.org:

We're thrilled to announce artist Pedro Reyes as our honoree for this year's Creative Time Gala taking place on Thursday, October 11 at 99 Scott in Bushwick, Brooklyn. A longtime Creative Time collaborator, honoree Pedro Reyes is internationally acclaimed for creating challenging artworks that address urgent social and political issues such as gun violence, and is truly exemplary of Creative Time's mission.

"I am honored to be a part of Creative Time history. My experience with the organization has been one of the wildest, most exciting and thoughtful adventures I’ve ever had — an experience made possible by a group of committed and resourceful idealists who believe in the power of art to affect real change."
- Pedro Reyes

Jordan Casteel, Pieter Hugo, Simphiwe Ndzube

Article: ‘Both, and’ mirrors gallery’s rich past

(IOL)

Every wall and room of the Stevenson Gallery has been used to pay homage to artists new and old who have showcased their work at one of the bastions of the Cape Town art scene.
The latest exhibition Both, and opened on Thursday and reflects on the past 15 years of the gallery’s existence through a selection of some 50 artists curated by the gallery’s newest partners, Alexander Richards and Sisipho Ngodwana.
They have tried to cast their minds back and make selections that serve as odes to modern and contemporary art while also celebrating the history of the gallery, its publication programme, local presence and global perspective.
The exhibition is a massive undertaking for the young curators, and will run simultaneously across the Stevenson’s Cape Town and Joburg locations.
Weekend Argus toured the gallery with the curators before the opening and they explained the choices and challenges with Both, and.
“A lot of the artists that you will see are not necessarily our gallery artists; they’re from the continent or international but it shows what Stevenson has been able to bring to the game,” said Richards.
With that in mind the first artist featured is locally based and born Berni Searle. Her 2001 video installation Snow White features Searle kneeling naked while being covered with flour. “Flour is poured over her head, then water, and she starts kneading bread... What’s important about this work in relation to the show is throughout the show there are a lot of questions about how you make something from nothing,” said Richards.
Other featured artists include Breyten Breytenbach, Jordan Casteel, Nicholas Hlobo, Pieter Hugo, Simphiwe Ndzube, Jo Ractliffe and more.
Giving the public access to the entire gallery was a central theme for the curators and became a point of importance for them in keeping with the overarching message of celebrating the history of the gallery. (more at IOL)

Simphiwe Ndzube Contemporary Art Taylor Art Collection Denver

Nathlie Provosty: Group Show 'Bui, Jensen, Lewczuk & Provosty'

Phong BUI
Bill JENSEN
Margrit LEWCZUK
Nathlie PROVOSTY


Gallery Night Opening
In presence of the artists

18 April from 6 to 9 PM
Avenue Louise 430, Brussels

Four Brooklynites reunite for a one-time-only group show in Brussels.

The idea of this exhibition arose from their long-nurtured friendship
and genuine shared love of art and culture. 
Together they explore the themes of pairs, parallels, and patterns,
with the pure pleasure of camaraderie, including the diversity that allows them to remain friends with their growth in perpetual tact.

Join us at our Brussels gallery for the opening in presence of the artists
on Wednesday 18 April until 9 PM.

Nathlie Provosty (b. 1981 in Cincinnati, Ohio; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York) has gained critical acclaim for her subtle, highly sensual oil paintings that oscillate in appearance through open-ended imagery and responsiveness to the movement of light. 

Works are included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Colby Museum of Art, Maine; the Farnsworth Museum of Art, Maine; the Portland Museum of Art, Maine; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Titus Kaphar: Unseen: Our Past in a new light

March 23, 2018 - January 6, 2019
The exhibition highlights the work of two leading contemporary artists who grapple with the under- and misrepresentation of certain minorities in portraiture and American history. Gonzales-Day and Kaphar illuminate the contributions and sacrifices people of color made during the country’s founding. Kaphar defaces, cuts, and peels back his paintings to show how portraits of American historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, have traditionally coded racial difference, hid systemic prejudices, and omitted the presence of African Americans. Gonzales-Day photographs portrait busts, sculptures, and ethnographic casts in European and American museums to create installations that reveal how scientific studies, artistic conventions, and collecting tendencies have reinforced inappropriate notions of race and “Otherness.” Together, the work of these two artists will demonstrate how the absence of certain figures and communities in art has preempted their recognition in national history, and, in the process, will reclaim a space for them in the art historical context.

The Portrait Gallery curators for this exhibition are Curator of Painting and Sculpture and Latino Art and History, Taína Caragol, and Curator of Prints, Drawings and Media Arts, Asma Naeem.