<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 to purchase 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.’’

 

 

NEWS, EVENTS & RECOMMENDATIONS


James Barnor receives Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society
James Barnor is amongst the luminaries of the photography world being honoured for their innovation and outstanding contributions to the photographic medium. Now in its 142nd year, the RPS Awards consist of eighteen categories that cover art, science, education, film and publishing.
Photo: Jonathan Greet, 2016.
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga named in Apollo Magazine 40 Under 40 Africa
The accolade celebrates artists, thinkers, business leaders and advocates who have pioneered arts from Africa and the Diaspora.

You can view Eddy's artist page here
Eddy Kamuanga Ilunga, Mémoire Fragile 1, 2020.
Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm
October Gallery Podcast
Alexis Peskine in conversation with the curator, Dee Haughney.
In October Gallery's debut podcast, artist Alexis Peskine is interviewed by the curator, Dee Haughney. This interview was part of our first Instagram Live OG Late, which took place on 24th May, 2020. Listen in as Alexis explores his practice, talks about his most recent residencies and discusses his new body of works.
Alexis Peskine, Novas Linguagens Do Mundo, 2019. Nails, gold leaf, clay, annatto and coffee over wood,
200 x 200 cm.
Benji Reid announced as cover artist for Trebuchet Eight
October Gallery is pleased to announce that Benji Reid has been chosen as the cover artist for Trebuchet, the articulate and stylish Art publication. Featuring an in-depth interview with Reid, the Eighth issue of the magazine explores the subject of Contemporary Surrealism.
Benji Reid, I had a dream, 2018.
Sokari Douglas Camp
'All the World is Now Richer'
Sokari Douglas Camp was recently interviewed by Jon Snow, on Channel 4 News, about her monumental work ‘All the World is Now Richer’, a memorial sculpture made to commemorate the abolition of slavery. This major piece consists of a line of life-sized figures representing the successive stages in the saga of slavery, while underlining the fact that people of slave heritage are brave, and possess both strength and dignity. Behind each individual figure extends a ‘shadow’ containing a phrase describing that specific stage, the whole building together to form one powerful statement. A permanent public placement is presently being sought for this timely and important piece.
Sokari Douglas Camp, All the World is Now Richer, 2012. Steel, 216 x 560 x 118 cm.
Dream No Small Dream:
The Story of October Gallery
Available to purchase from our online bookstore and Amazon
October Gallery celebrated 40 years of artistic endeavour with a labour of love - producing a 304-page book surveying the art, events, people and ideas that have driven the Gallery’s development since it first opened its doors, in 1979. Weaving together essays, archival material and a wealth of colour plates, Dream No Small Dream gives a fascinating overview of the interconnecting forces that transformed the Gallery from a start-up project in central London to an acknowledged player on the global stage of the contemporary art world.
Spaceship Earth
Released for streaming
Matt Wolf’s documentary 'Spaceship Earth', which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – charts the determination of a group of countercultural visionaries who used art and community to foster a connection with nature.

The film explores how, in 1984, the Institute of Ecotechnics helped initiate the Biosphere 2 project in Oracle, Arizona. October Gallery operates as one of a series of international projects developed by the Institute of Ecotechnics. More about Biosphere 2 can be read in 'Dream No Small Dream: The Story of October Gallery.'

The film has now been released for streaming at home.
The eight Biospherians.
Benji Reid LAUGH AT GRAVITY:
ARTSY Preview
October Gallery presents an exclusive online preview of Benji Reid's upcoming and highly anticipated solo exhibition at the Gallery.
Benji Reid, Drunken Matters, 2019.

 

VISTING OCTOBER GALLERY

Bloomsbury, London

October Gallery has been instrumental in bringing to worldwide attention many of the world’s leading international artists, including El Anatsui, Rachid Koraïchi, Romuald Hazoumè, Nnenna Okore, Laila Shawa and Kenji Yoshida. The Gallery promotes the Transvangarde, the very best in contemporary art from around the planet, as well as maintaining a cultural hub in central London for poets, writers, intellectuals and artists, and hosts talks, performances and seminars, see www.octobergallery.co.uk/events

The rich diversity of art presented is an inspiration to collectors and enthusiasts. Institutions such as the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany; Neue Galerie, Kassel, Germany; Setagagya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan have all collected works from October Gallery.

Founded in 1979, October Gallery is a charitable trust which is supported by sales of art, rental of the Gallery's unique facilities, grants from various funding bodies and the active support of dedicated artists, musicians, writers and many friends from around the world. The Gallery’s Education Department is inclusive of all ages from under 5’s to PGCE student and delivers a wide range of provision, see www.octobergalleryeducation.com

October Gallery is open from 12:30 to 17:30 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
The Gallery is closed during official holidays and the entire month of August.