“State Of Flux” – Works On Paper
50 Golborne, London, United Kingdom12 Jul 2019 - 16 Aug 2019
50 Golborne announces it’s Summer Show, a group show of four artists who have been using paper in a significant way in their practice to date: Nigerian-Americans Wura-Natasha Ogunji and Olalekan Jeyifous, who are respectively based in Lagos and in New York, Tetouan-based Moroccan Safaa Erruas and Beninese-French Gregory Olympio who lives in Besancon (France).
The exhibition examines the individual strategies they each deploy with respect to the medium to convey notions of flux.
“I often think about the empty space of the paper as an expanse of sea” the artist Wura-Natsha Ogunji says. The ocean is a visual, associative and metaphorical recurrent trope in her work. Since moving from the US to Lagos, the Nigerian megalopolis and her father’s birth city, the artist has been interested in the sites of disjunctions and connections that join seemingly opposite things: Africa and America;past and future; beauty and uglyness. “Buoyancy” (2019), a new large drawing comprised of five panels (dimensions: 300 x 150cm) introduces the exhibition. It portrays dreamy figures seemingly underwater. The translucent tracing paper which is Ogunji’s trade -mark, the pearlescent inks applied in parts of the drawing and the blue lines that link the figures together concur to the flowing atmosphere. As often happens in her practice, Ogunji has hand-stiched the paper in parts, provoking it to fold slightly and in different ways: as slight ripples like those that happen when you throw a small stone into a calm pool; or they are wavier and more irregular. The paper actually becomes an expanse of the sea, a metaphoric site of flux from which the artist seems to suggest it is possible to bounce back.
Gregory Olympio’s series of paintings “Oxygen” (2018) are acrylics on paper and are shown in the UK for the first time. Swathes of colours that seem to be emerging as the result of spontaneous gestures are transformed into landscapes exposed and refined by the presence of a horizon. Motifs are uncertain: a silent sea, camp fires, a quiet lake of unatural colours make one questions one’s perception and interpretations, making the motifs and the landscape as if they are transient, on the verge of moving into something else. For the young French-Beninese artist whose work was presented recently at Musee des Beaux Arts et Archeology, Besançon, France and Arp Museum, Remagen, Germany, paper has been a medium of choice to date. He rates how acrylic on paper technically allows him to work in a flux of brush movements, thoughts and feelings. “Paper allows me not to take a fixed position vis a vis the final work” he points out.
Olalekan Jeyifous’s black and white hand-cut card stock collages on paper derive from the language of architecture and design that, as a trained architect, he uses to investigate socio-cultural and political issues from the specific angle of his diasporic position. The two drawings presented in the show were executed in 2016 for “Not My Business” his solo exhibition at the gallery in which he explored his memories as a child in Nigeria before emigrating to the US. The motif of the architectural folly serves the idea of how scattered and unstable visual memory is, altered in his case by watching family photographs and following Nigerian News. The way one figure leads to another that seemingly has nothing to do with it evokes also how constantly the African urban landscape moves in a state of flux between Post -colonial modernism, the informal economy and motifs of high capitalism.
Moroccan artist Safaa Erruas’s work has recently been investigating how to place home in a state of migratory flux. The exhibition displays: “Distance” 1 and 2 (2018) in which the artist uses paper not only as a support for the work but also as the medium to make it. A multitude of freely cut rectangles of white tracing paper are collaged perpendicularly to the paper surface; Small black and white paper prints of human eyes, cut out from black and white photographs, are delicately pinned in parts of the work, mingling with the whirling mass of the translucent paper. As usual in her work, Erruas strategizes the formal relationships between materials, composition and light. The day changing light reflects differently onto the tiny metal tips of the pins and draws different shadows around the paper bits, emphasising the dynamism of the composition. The viewer is drawn into what seems like a multitude in motion, disovering that he is being looked at while looking at -by the myriad of cut eyes that are spread on it.