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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 39 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.
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Press Releases

Transvangarde 2017
2 February - 18 March 2017

October Gallery presents Transvangarde 2017, an exhibition of outstanding works by an international array of contemporary artists including, Tian Wei, Alexis Peskine, Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ and selected works by Brion Gysin and Kenji Yoshida amongst others. These artists, who have all migrated from one country to another, share their particular visions of the world by using their work to express their trans-cultural experiences. 

October Gallery first presented a solo exhibition by Tian Wei in 2014. Born in Xi’an,
Wei subsequently studied in Hawaii. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011. The gallery will exhibit a new sculptural work and paintings by this truly trans-cultural artist. Wei’s abstract calligraphic works are designedly cross-cultural. Using oriental script, his bold expressions on canvas amazingly resolve themselves into words understandable in English. Tian Wei’s artistic vision seamlessly integrates the East with the West and for this reason, his work is both timely and timeless.

Transvangarde 2017 introduces Alexis Peskine, who was born in 1979 in Paris.
Peskine’s work focuses on questions of identity. His powerful portraits are literally nailed into wooden planks, and pay tribute to the many individuals undertaking the dangerous boat journeys from North Africa to Europe. He uses the nail as brushstroke, driving them in at different depths to create a relief and to introduce a third dimension. ‘The nail’ for Peskine represents transcendence - it expresses pain as well as the force of resistance. Alexis Peskine lives and works between Dakar, Senegal and France.

Nepalese Govinda Sah’s works on canvas suggest an infinite universe, the invisible space portrayed by the cloud. The artist will exhibit paintings from his ‘Margate Series’, a new body of work influenced by Turner. Sah displayed a solo exhibition at Tibet House, New York, in 2013 and recently at October Gallery in 2016. He lives and works in Margate, England.

Transvangarde 2017 will exhibit evocative paintings of Marrakech in the 1950s and original calligraphic abstractions by multi-faceted artist Brion Gysin, whose wide range of original ideas were a source of inspiration for artists of the Beat Generation in Paris. Gysin introduced his close friend, writer William S. Burroughs, to the techniques of ‘cut-ups’. This exhibition will present an intriguing work based on the interior of the Dreamachine, a stroboscopic light sculpture that can evoke a hypnagogic state, invented by Gysin in the 1960s.

Also on display will be selected works by Kenji Yoshida, whose ethereal gold, silver and precious metals on canvas unite a restrained tradition of Japanese appliqué work with that of an abstract modernist aesthetic. In 1993, the powerful qualities of Yoshida’s work were recognised when he was honoured as the first living artist ever to be given a major solo exhibition at the Japanese Galleries of the British Museum, London.  Before his death, an exhibition in 2008, took place in the main hall of UNESCO in the centre of Paris – the city that reciprocated his choice in making it his home after leaving Japan in 1964, by adopting him as one of her own artists and providing him with a studio for life.

Please contact  Alana Pryce Tojcic or Fraser Brough at
press@octobergallery.co.uk . Tel: 0044 (0)2072427367

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Romuald Hazoumè
7 October – 26 November 2016

Internationally acclaimed artist Romuald Hazoumè (b. 1962) will present an ambitious new exhibition on the theme of immigration at October Gallery during October and November 2016.  This will be the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the London based gallery and will consist of three major installations, paintings, photography and masks. Hazoumè’s works are humorous and wryly political. His assemblages are specifically tied to his vision of society and his take on global problems. Hazoumè’s timely exhibition, which will feature a five-metre long crashed boat and a dice made of thousands of found flip-flops, addresses the movement of people across the world and reflects upon the dramatic narratives created by migrants forced by war or famine from their home country.

Hazoumè’s first installation, Tricky Dicey Dice (2016), presents the stark realities of choosing to attempt the crossing, at the mercy of callous human traffickers whose decrepit vessels are in ever-diminishing supply. The dice in question, a truncated cube, is loaded against any successful outcome. The numbers on each of the usual faces are replaced by the outlined shape of a dead child, hauntingly reminiscent of the image of Alyan Kurdi. The cut-off corners of the cube provide eight new, triangular surfaces, which represent ‘success.’ Mathematically speaking, there is a 25% greater probability (8:6) of escaping alive once the dice is rolled, but in reality the shape of the dice is such that the chances of it balancing on one of the small triangular surfaces is far less likely than that the hexahedron’s weight will ensure it finally comes to rest with a child’s silhouette on top. The dice is covered with recuperated sandals, found washed ashore on the beaches of Benin, so that each sandal sole stands in place of a lost human soul.

Mutti! (2016)
This installation comprises a three dimensional carved sculpture of an African woman, with open hands, covered in a robe composed of material made from the same recovered sandals. The title comes from the German child’s word for Mother – perhaps best rendered in English as Mummy! Here the recovered sandals have been given a welcome and a place by the feminine figure, who combines traits of an African female deity, the German Chancellor – Angela Merkel, who first welcomed fleeing refugees to Germany, and the universal figure of the kind and compassionate mother that every human being recognizes in his or her own Mother.

Cry of the Whale (2016)
The third installation uses Hazoumè’s iconic jerry-cans to construct a rotten boat that, breaking in two spills its human cargo into the water. Because of the way in which the stern and prow sink, the image of the jaws of a great fish can be seen about to swallow – or regurgitate – them, as in the story, known to Christians and Muslims alike, of Jonah and the Whale. The inexpressibly sad music accompanying this piece is composed of the haunting songs of whales. It suggests that the cetaceans, long understood to be intelligent and sensitive creatures and known to help save drowning humans, are communicating their concern about the horrors of the scenes they witness.

Romuald Hazoumè is a multi-faceted artist: a painter, sculptor, photographer and filmmaker, his powerful creations mark him as one of the most innovative and exciting personalities to emerge from Africa. Hazoumè’s work first came to prominence in the U.K. with the inclusion of his ‘masks’ in the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Out of Africa’ show, in 1992. In the past twenty years his work has been widely shown throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, including the British Museum, the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and recently this year, in two different sites at Gagosian, Paris.
His works are in prominent public and private collections around the world, including the permanent collections of the British Museum, London; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and Neue Galerie, Kassel.

In 2007, Romuald Hazoumè was awarded the Arnold-Bode-Prize at documenta 12.

Please contact  Alana Pryce Tojcic or Fraser Brough at
press@octobergallery.co.uk . Tel: 0044 (0)2072427367

Slyvie Franquet:
1st June 2016 – 28th January 2017

October Gallery, London is excited to announce reMembering, an exhibition of new works by Sylvie Franquet. The artist’s first solo presentation will run from 1st December to 28th January. A private view will be held on 30th November. 

Sylvie Franquet is a discovery. Born in Belgium, she read Arabic and Islamic Studies at Ghent and Cairo universities. Much of her life has been spent immersed in the Mediterranean world, reading, travelling widely throughout the region, and writing extensively on Middle Eastern culture. Out of this has come the unique artistic voice in reMembering, which layers word and image, ancient myth and everyday life, in textile, tapestries, collage and embroidered cloth dolls.

Franquet reworks found tapestries, showing a preference for those based on canonical works of art. She overlays these with further images and with found words from poets and thinkers, and text messages from friends. She cites Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone da Pensiere, with its dense collation of thoughts, ephemera and philosophies, as influencing her approach. The laborious process of unpicking, repairing and reworking can take months, resulting in a metamorphosis achieved by the magic power of the needle.

 Needlepoint has for centuries been seen as the domain of the female. Franquet is fascinated by this inheritance: the needlepoints she finds are based on paintings by men, who until recently had a monopoly on the visual depiction of women. Those images were then reinforced by women sewing, and are now transformed by her needle. This complex history of gendered production and reaction is a central concern of Franquet’s work: reMembering questions attitudes surrounding gender and social and creative status. An electric aesthetic reminiscent of punk imbues the stitching with the look of pixels. Franquet uses rhizomatic layering of texts and languages that, in her hands, take on the nature of rebellious graffiti and radical twitter feeds.

The Poupées (mannequins) develop this theme: Franquet sews life-size fabric sculptures,  pattern-cut from her own body and tattooed in a similar graffiti to the tapestries. These remembered/reconstructed female bodies function as repositories of memory, stories and myth. Alongside these figures hang a battalion of Wayward Sisters, small cloth dolls chattering with overstitched words of wisdom.

Franquet’s work has been featured in Vogue and Elle, and her art was included in the critically-acclaimed exhibition More Material, curated by Duro Olowu at Salon 94 in New York. She also participated in the 2015 Féminin Pluriel exhibition at Fondation Dar Bellarj in Marrakech. The October Gallery exhibition will be her first major presentation, and the first public showing of the Poupées and The Wayward Sisters.

Please contact  Alana Pryce Tojcic or Fraser Brough at
press@octobergallery.co.uk . Tel: 0044 (0)2072427367

Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga and Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga longlisted for the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards 2016

October Gallery is delighted to announce that artists Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga and Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga have been longlisted for the FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards 2016. Both artists are represented by October Gallery London.

The longlist was announced on 15th of June 2016. This will be followed by the announcement of three finalists on 5 August 2016 who will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in New York on 26 September 2016 where category winners will be announced.

The FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Award aims to recognise extraordinary artistic talent in three categories – fiction literature, film-making and art across more than 100 emerging market nations.
The winner in each category will receive a prize award of $40,000 and will also be featured in a post event magazine and videos profiled on ft.com. Shortlisted runner- ups will receive $5,000.
For more information  about the FT Emerging Voices  Awards, https://live.ft.com/Events/2016/FT-OppenheimerFunds-Emerging-Voices-Awards.

About the artists
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga will present his first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom at October Gallery, London, from 30th June to 30th July, 2016.  A private view will be held on 29th June 2016. He is one of the most exciting young artists working in Africa today. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1991, he trained at the Kinshasa Academy of Arts and has founded the dynamic Congolese art collective ‘M’Pongo’, representative of the creative vibrancy to be found in modern Kinshasa.


Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga first exhibited at October Gallery, London, in 2013.
The artist grew up in 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 and major art fairs around the world.


For more information about the artists, please contact:  Alana Pryce Tojcic or
Fraser Brough at press@octobergallery.co.uk . Tel: 0044 (0)2072427367

Download full press release as Word Doc   

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga
30th June – 30th July 2016

October Gallery, London, is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition of new works by Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga. This will be the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery, and his first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom. A private view will be held on 29th June.

Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga is one of the most exciting young artists working in Africa today. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1991, he trained at the Kinshasa Academy of Arts and has founded the dynamic Congolese art collective ‘M’Pongo’, representative of the creative vibrancy to be found in modern Kinshasa.

In his present series ‘Mangbetu’, Kamuanga Ilunga has explored the predicament of the Mangbetu people, a warrior culture known for their highly developed art and music, whose existence is being threatened by a desire to modernise.  The DRC is the world’s largest exporter of coltan, a raw material used in computer chips and mobile phones, and Kamuanga Ilunga pays equal reference to both this modern industry and the traditional culture of the Mangbetu, bringing their vibrant fabrics, symbolic objects and daily rituals into confrontation with the digital imagery of the present day. His paintings possess a monumental quality that is both heroic and elegiac, with a striking and sophisticated interplay of intensity and emptiness, two and three dimensions, and Congolese pattern painted as European drapery.

Kamuanga Ilunga’s work has been exhibited across Africa, notably at DakArt; Biennale OFF Senegal in 2014, and made its London debut at the Saatchi Gallery’s Panagaea II in 2015. The enormous excitement around the 24-year-old artist at London’s 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in 2015 and at New York’s Armory Show in 2016 was compounded by an article in the FT’s How to Spend It, which employed his work ‘Lost’ to represent The Best of New York Armory 2016.

Event: Artist’s Talk-Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga: Saturday 2nd July, 3.00 pm at October Gallery.

Join artist Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga for an in-depth discussion about his new body of work with independent curator and consultant Gabriela Salgado Entry: Free.
Reserve a place on Eventbrite: http://eddykamuanga.eventbrite.co.uk

Please contact  Alana Pryce Tojcic or Fraser Brough at
press@octobergallery.co.uk . Tel: 0044 (0)2072427367

Download full press release as Word Doc   

view exhibition page

Memorable Press From Around the Web

El Anatsui


Romuald Hazoumè


Rachid Koraïchi


Ablade Glover


Gérard Quenum

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