<h2>ALEXIS PESKINE: FIRE FIGURES
<br>2 October – 14 November 2020
</h2><h2>BENJI REID: LAUGH AT GRAVITY<br>Coming Soon...</h2><h2>DREAM NO SMALL DREAM: The Story of October Gallery<br>Available from our Book Store, £40 +P&P</h2>304 pages, full colour plates throughout. Edited by Gerard Houghton.
 

CURRENT EXHIBITION

2 October – 14 November 2020
Alexis Peskine, Safara (Fire/Hell), 2020.
Gold leaf, nails, coffee and earth on lumber core wood,
150 x 110 cm.
Alexis Peskine, Sequita, 2020.
Red gold leaf, nails, Havana Ochre, coffee, earth and hibiscus on lumber core wood, 220 x 198 cm.
October Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Alexis Peskine, entitled Fire Figures. This much anticipated show follows on from Power Figures, Peskine's highly successful debut show at October Gallery, in 2017.

Alexis Peskine’s signature works are large-scale mixed media ‘portraits’ of archetypes from the African diaspora, which are rendered by hammering nails of different gauge, with pin-point accuracy, into wood stained with natural materials such as coffee, mud and hibiscus extract. By applying gold leaf to the nails, he creates breath-taking composite images. Peskine depicts figures that portray strength and perseverance, charged with an energy reminiscent of the spiritually laden minkisi - ‘power figures’ - of the Congo Basin. His particular choice of the medium of nails resonates with sombre tones of the Black Experience, spanning the scale of qualities running from pain to transcendence.

Fire Figures recapitulates and expands upon the conceptual framework deployed in the previous Power Figures series. These striking new works explore the ongoing frustrations experienced by all those of the African Diaspora who continue to encounter endemic systems of racism and violence. All through his life, Peskine has ‘always felt the fire of injustice’ burning close by, a fire which fuels his work and spurs him on. However, he notes, the element of fire also represents an opportunity for cleansing and transformative change. Peskine's depicted subjects seem to see this change, right in front of them, palpably present, yet still unrealised.
 

FORTHCOMING EXHIBITION

Benji Reid: LAUGH AT GRAVITY

Postponed from April - New date to be announced
Benji Reid, Mercurial Child, 2019. Giclée Print, 80 x 80 cm. Ed. of 8 plus 2 AP.
Benji Reid, Lord of Manny, 2019. Giclée Print,
100 x 78.5 cm. Ed. of 8 plus 2 AP.

Laugh at Gravity is Benji Reid’s first solo exhibition at October Gallery. This highly anticipated exhibition follows the artist’s showcase at the 2019 edition of AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Paris and the 2020 edition of ICTAF (Investec Cape Town Art Fair) where the artist’s work enthralled audiences.

Benji Reid considers himself a Choreo-Photolist; a term he coined to encapsulate his unique practice where choreography, photography and theatricality meet in the image. Reid’s breathtaking photographs, composed primarily of self-portraits in incredible, anti-gravitational poses using a medley of props, draw the audience into a different dimension. In the hyper-realities he presents the subject is illuminated by acts of the artist’s imagination. Whether exploring life as an outsider, issues surrounding mental health or the complexities of fatherhood, Reid invites the audience into the discussion. Each perfectly poised portrait, set against vividly suggestive backdrops and adorned with fantastical objects, still suggests the recognisable world we all inhabit. Yet familiar objects like a paddle, a sparkler or a stool somehow transform to transport the viewer into an alternative reality, which while offering protection suggests undreamt of possibilities for real liberation.

The photographer Robert Golden describes in detail how Reid ‘’turns the trashcan into a rocket, he will use motors contrived to fly higher and faster than the crowd. His anti-gravitational mysteries, which fail to reflect the ‘real’ world as it seems to be, does what fine art can do in troubled times. He makes us smile – a victory in itself, but more, he provides a greater reality, one worthy of his talent.’’

 

 

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

3 - 26 September 2020
Tian Wei, Red (detail), 2011.
Acrylic on canvas, 298 x 177 cm.
Tian Wei, Gold, 2017.
Iridescent acrylic on canvas, 174 x 220 cm.
October Gallery will exhibit a selection of artworks by Tian Wei, renowned for his striking canvases in bold monochromatic colours that explore the written word and the plasticity of meaning.

Both formally and theoretically, Tian Wei’s work constructs a bridge between things that appear as complementary pairs or polar opposites. Using the Chinese idea of contraries held in balance (yin and yang), words and quotations in minute script fill the backdrop of Tian’s paintings, forming a patterned ground over which larger semi-abstract shapes are drawn. On trying to read these foregrounded lines as Chinese characters, however, anyone familiar with Chinese ideographic script is quickly frustrated, since the unfamiliar writing can only be resolved in English. In fact, the cursive lines spell out simple English words, such as ‘soul,’ 'sexy’ and ‘red.’ These selected English nouns and adjectives free-handedly drawn in cursive Chinese style give the viewer insight into the artist’s lived experience of an emerging synergy between eastern and western sensibilities, both of which he masters with easy assurance.
 
15 July - 29 August 2020
El Anatsui, AG + BA, 2014. Aluminium, copper wire and nylon rope. Dimensions variable.
El Anatsui, Untitled (Black on Gold), 2019. Taku-hon rubbing on gold leaf coated Gasenshi paper,
135 x 135 cm. Ed. of 5.

October Gallery will be showing metal works and a selection of seldom-seen prints by El Anatsui created in collaboration with Factum Arte, Madrid.

El Anatsui is undoubtedly one of the most influential artists of the present time. Throughout his long career, Anatsui has explored a wide range of subjects. He has also utilised an extraordinary range of media, from clay, cement and tropical hardwoods in his early years, to corrugated iron, cassava graters, milk-tin lids and aluminium bottle-tops in his later installations. Today, he is best known for his mesmerising works composed of many thousands of aluminium bottle-tops stitched together with copper wire.

Triumphant Scale, a major survey exhibition of the artist's work, curated by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu, is currently being shown at Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, until 1st November 2020.