Lehmann Maupin is pleased to announce a group exhibition featuring Kader Attia, Nicholas Hlobo, and Angel Otero. Spanning media from painting to film the artists based in Berlin, Johannesburg, and New York, respectively, share an approach to content that originates from personal narratives and experiences and develops into an investigation into the larger world. The gallery will host an opening reception on Thursday, July 18, from 5 to 7 PM.
Attia’s film Héroes Heridos (2018) is comprised of interviews with immigrant activists who are occupying “La Massana,” the former School of Arts in Barcelona that Attia attended, in protest. The film highlights the challenges and indignities faced by immigrants and the efforts they are making to change their treatment and legal status. Giving voice to those who lack access to mainstream outlets, Héroes Heridos is a political act and an additional dimension to Attia’s focus on the continued injustice of colonialism. For Attia, revealing these issues has potentially revolutionary ramifications; he explains his inspiration for these works as the “urge to recover, through form, the field of emotion in the public debate with the aim of repairing the wounds of history.”
Otero’s Wind Chimes (2015) is from the artist’s “Picasso” series. Otero’s painting process begins with a reference to an object or image that holds personal or historical significance for him, in the case of this series, all of the original images that form the base of his layered paintings are references to Picasso paintings. For Otero, the solution to expanding the genre of abstract painting while maintaining relevance in contemporary art lies in an exploration of this transition between representation and abstraction. In these works, Otero is more interested in refining his unique language of abstraction rather than referencing the historical lineage of painting.
Hlobo’s Isingxobo (2018) highlights the artist’s signature use of ribbon and leather employed with conceptual specificity to address complex issues of identity. At the core of Hlobo’s practice is the exploration of his own identity and the attempt to ascertain qualities that exist outside of codifying labels associated with gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. In order to challenge the restrictive terminology typically used to describe identity, Hlobo incorporates visual tropes that relate to his ethnic and cultural background, sexual orientation, gender, and nationality, while also questioning the shifting and subjective nature inherent in these cultural signifiers.