Victoria Miro is delighted to present The Seven Deadly Sins, a major new series of paintings by Chris Ofili. Completed over the past six years, the works on view offer an expansive meditation on sin and the complex experience of sinfulness.
In this series of works Chris Ofili contemplates the seven deadly sins — a subject with Biblical origins that bears fundamentally on the human condition and human behaviour. The artist intended each painting not to cleave to a particular sin, but to encompass a spectrum of excessive and transgressive behaviours. Moving through dreamlike realms at once paradisiacal, other-worldly and cosmic, these works depict scenes where humans and mythological creatures co-exist. The natural world is fecund and mysterious in this territory of sinfulness, a place where magnetic forces of attraction and repulsion hold sway. It seems born of a liminal, trance-like state, perhaps between wake and sleep, when strange visions swim up into the mind’s eye from a creative, playful place in the unconscious that has little to do with the strictures of rationality.
Accompanying the exhibition is a new publication: Ofili invited seven writers — Hilton Als, Inua Ellams, Marlon James, Anthony Joseph, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Attillah Springer and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye — to contribute to this book. Like Ofili’s paintings, their poems and narratives are not confined to illustrating single sins but meditate, personally and expansively, on the seven deadly sins.