Karl Ohiri/ Rikka Kassinen, 'Medicine Man',C- print, 60x 90cm
Edition 1/5, 2013
Beyond Rational thought, Installation View, the Agency 2013
Andrew Esiebo, 'In My Head' and'Na God', C- prints on Fujimatt paper, 90 x 60 cm each
Edition 1/7, 2012/13
Beyond Rational Thought, Installation View, The Agency 2013
Julio Etchart, 'Native Quechua farmer and family. Ecuador'
vintage print on Agfa paper, 20 x 16 inches, 1991
Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation
Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation , 2013, detail
Maria Antelman, the Amatuers, Video installation , 2013
'Beyond Rational Thought'
Shahidul Alam, Andrew Esiebo, Julio Etchart, Ohiri/Kassinen, Gallery 1
Maria Antelman,'The Amateurs'Gallery 2
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
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.