UNTITLED: art on the conditions of our time
Main Gallery & Mezzanine Gallery
Launch event: 13 January 2017, 6pm - 9pm
UNTITLED: art on the conditions of our time is a major new touring exhibition produced by New Art Exchange, curated in collaboration with NAE by Paul Goodwin and Hansi Momodu-Gordon. The show adopts a progressive stance on exhibition making to allow new ways of thinking about art by African diaspora artists to emerge. In a bold move, fixed curatorial themes have been stripped out to create a stimulating space where artworks can be experienced more openly, and where the interplay between the artists' practices can be observed. As the exhibition curators state, "This is not a show 'about' a coherent movement – instead it presents works by British African diaspora artists outside of the usual framing".
UNTITLED displays a 'snapshot' of art today by mapping a variety of practice and medium, including conversational, participatory practice and the use of online gaming technology; to painting, drawing, performance, film, printmaking and bookbinding. This broad survey approach reveals the key concerns of artists working today and as such, the current conditions of our time, from shifting racial, sexual and gendered identities, to investigations of popular culture, social networks, history and conflict. The show features two brand new commissions. Larry Achiampong and David Blandy premiere a new instalment of Finding Fanon, Gaiden, a series where the artists discover the work of political humanist Frantz Fanon as a way of retracing their own relationships to colonialism. Barby Asante's socially engaged project collaborates with young adults living in Nottingham as coresearchers of an interactive online map that visualises the hidden connections, and unconventional centres of local knowledge about art and culture.
Addressing the challenge in how collective memory is preserved, Kimathi Donkor's paintings re-imagine history, and Barbara Walker's charcoal drawings of black servicemen show their contribution and sacrifices which are often overlooked. Popular culture plays a leading role in Harold Offeh's humorous re-enactments of iconic album covers, NT's montages of archival film footage, and through Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom's sculpture where balloons are playfully used to reenact Michael Jackson's dance stance. Themes around the migrant crisis and globalisation prevail in Phoebe Boswell's large-scale drawing of the comings and goings in public space. Evan Ifekoya
is inspired by nightlife culture and performative movement, working in a range of mediums such as drawing, installation and video. Ima-Abasi Okon's site responsive installation explores ideas around language, knowledge and voice and makes reference to issues of access, permission and circulation. Cedar Lewisohn's presentation interrogates Modernist art histories through a labour intensive set of handbound books and accompanying woodblocks.
Main image: Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Finding Fanon 2, 2015