Transvangarde: Free Style Cipher

18 Jan-2 Mar 2024
PV 17 Jan 2024, 6-8.30pm

October Gallery
London WC1N 3AL


October Gallery presents Transvangarde: Free Style Cipher, an exhibition of new works by Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Alexis Peskine and Govinda Sah ‘Azad’, with selected works by Susanne Kessler, Tian Wei, Golnaz Fathi, Jukhee Kwon, Elisabeth Lalouschek, and Romuald Hazoumè, amongst others. The exhibited works will focus on the visual language particular to each artist, helping to decode the various layers of meaning and shed revealing light on each artist’s individual practice in conversation with and in relation to their peers.

Highlights will include new steel sculptures by Sokari Douglas Camp that continue in the vein of her recent Jonkonnu Masquerade series. These poignant yet playful works focus on the significance of feathers, examining that material’s links to colonial wealth and power, as they combine imaginative elements of carnival masquerades and festival processions. The masked revellers’ striking headdresses and ostentatious fans are seen through the lens of the thrilling Kalabari masquerades of the Nigerian coastal region where Sokari was raised.

New ‘nail portraits’ by Alexis Peskine, will also be shown. These powerful works made by hammering nails of different sizes into wooden boards focus on the Black experience and questions of identity as they map the spread of the African diaspora. Beyond the silver and gold-leaf appliqué on the nails’ heads, Peskine continues to experiment with new colours and materials, using Japanese blue and purple oxidised silver leaf upon boards stained with natural pigments: indigo, curcuma, hibiscus.

Govinda Sah’s work comprises interwoven layers of acrylic traces and marks that build into what Sah describes as a ‘long unfolding conversation between the canvas and myself.’ The emergent painting itself ‘proposes’ unexpected areas for consideration, and the process continues until a successful conclusion is reached.