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Karl Ohiri/ Rikka Kassinen, 'Medicine Man',C- print, 60x 90cm
Edition 1/5, 2013

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Beyond Rational thought, Installation View, the Agency 2013

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Andrew Esiebo, 'In My Head' and'Na God', C- prints on Fujimatt paper, 90 x 60 cm each
Edition 1/7, 2012/13

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Beyond Rational Thought, Installation View, The Agency 2013

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Julio Etchart, 'Native Quechua farmer and family. Ecuador'
vintage print on Agfa paper, 20 x 16 inches, 1991

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Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation

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Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation , 2013, detail

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Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation , 2013

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'Beyond Rational Thought'
Shahidul Alam, Andrew Esiebo, Julio Etchart, Ohiri/Kassinen, Gallery 1
Maria Antelman,'The Amateurs'Gallery 2

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The Agency is pleased to present two concurrent exhibitions ‘Beyond Rational Thought’, an exhibition co-curated by Mary George and Bea de Souza
featuring Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), Andrew Esiebo (Nigeria), Julio Etchart (Uruguay), Karl Ohiri (Nigeria/UK)/Rike Kassinen (Fin/ UK) in Gallery 1
and a video installation ‘ the Amateurs’ by US artist Maria Antelman in Gallery 2.

‘Beyond Rational Thought’ brings together four global artists with works charting emotively charged situations in a spiritual and political context. Esiebo and Alam both document mass gatherings in religious and political contexts, Esiebo the Pentecostal Church Movement in Africa and Alam, a committed human rights activist, on the uprisings leading to democracy and subsequent political struggles in Bangladesh. Complemented by Julio Etchart’s observations on land grabs by peasants in Ecuador and the end of military rule in Brazil and the starkly contrasting single spiritual portrait of the artist Karl Ohiri in ‘Medicine Man’ (with Rike Kassinen) the exhibition “Beyond Rational Thought’ takes on the territory where the documentary and art merge for the sake of a singular aim, a fundamental humanity. Uncovering both the emotive power and the flaws of the systemic need for human release the works of Alam, Esiebo and Etchart represent moments of universally relevant social and historical shifts in a mass organised context, both, in a critical and plain observational manner. The piece by Ohiri/ Kassinen in contrast has a stillness, focussing on one person’s pain in an intimate portrait revealing the artists personal invocation brought on by grief. Brought together the photographic and video pieces convey the power of belief. Through increased globalisation belief, spiritual or political, is foregrounded more strongly universally than in the widely secularized Western culture to date.


Andrew Esiebo lives and works in Lagos and has exhibited worldwide a/o in the Havana and Sao Paulo Biennials and the Guangzhou Triennial. Shahidul Alam, lives and works in Dhaka, Bangladesh and works as a photographer, writer curator and human rights activist. Julio Etchart has worked widely internationally and exhibited a/o at the Photographer’s gallery. Born in Uruguay he lives and works in London, Karl Ohiri and Rike Kassinen are Nigerian and Finnish and live and work in London. Karl Ohiri was included in the recent exhibition ‘Family Matters’ at Tate Britain (Oct 2012- Feb 2013).


US artist Maria Antelman’s ‘ The Amateurs’ features beautifully filmed segments of well dressed people setting themselves in scene at a social events, in this case a crashwall test. The piece cuts between the subjects, who seem unaware, and the filmmaker’s backstage view with a broadcast camera as an equal protagonist. As the film unfolds the amateurs and the camera are vying for the central role in a competitive dance. The glamour of the subjects as they ready themselves to witness the spectacle conveys a certain unease, however,the tension is not resolved through narrative but hinted at by the shots revealing the crashwall marked by repeated impact. ‘The Amateurs’ manages to maintain a credible tension throughout, while adhering to a fragmentary filmic narrative about expectation rather than the event itself.

Maria Antelman (1971) lives between Palo Alto CA and New York and has shown internationally. Her work has been included a/o in two exhibitions curated by Francesco Bonami, been shown at Jack Hanley Gallery, NYC, the Apartment gallery, Athens and at Apex Art, NYC.