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The En’s Project’s First Principles

15 Sep, 2011 at 12:00 am - 26 Nov, 2011 at 12:00 am

A photograph of artwork by Leo Asemota at the New Art Exchange, depicting 4 diamond frames which form a larger diamond, three of the diamonds have pictures of men inside them wearing black uniforms and orange hats

New Art Exchange is proud to present: The Ens Project’s First Principles by Leo Asemota. Leo Asemota was born in Benin City, Nigeria in August 1967. His practice is open to many disciplines including being part of an artistic complex, a project space and an independent publishing enterprise. For the past six years, Asemota has been working on The Ens Project. Unfolding in phases and fixated on the human head as its expressive weight, the project is informed by: the ancient ritual of head worship of the Edo peoples of Benin called Igue; the Victorian age of invention and Empire building; and Walter Benjamin’s text The Artwork in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, in linking up ideas on the essential self in light of scientific and industrial advances in contemporary life. He is currently based in London.

First Principles (2005 – 2008) formally establishes phase one of The Ens Project. Considered an essential preliminary and evolved over six stages, this survey at New Art Exchange is the foremost presentation in its entirety of Asemota’s appraisal of the validity of the trinity of sources giving structure to his ideas and his underlying focus on the head as the primary index of identity, authority and spiritual essence. Encompassing photographs, orhue (kaolin chalk) and coal drawings, sculptures and video installations, the body of work engages a multitude of themes characterised by colonial and diaspora narratives, religious faith, authenticity and globalisation. First Principles also offers a glimpse of “The Handmaiden” the central character in the recently completed second phase of The Ens Project as well as the conceptual framework for “Eo ipso” the multimedia live artwork based on the Igue ritual in the project’s imminent third and final phase.