New Viewings #37
Curated by David Thorp
Mustafa Hulusi, *1971, London, UK
lives and works in London, UK
Bitter Sweet, the title of Mustafa Hulusi’s exhibition takes as its inspiration his latest suite of paintings of bitter oranges, which originate from photographic images taken by the artist of orange trees within the various groves surrounding his family’s ancestral home in Cyprus.
Orange and lemon trees abound in Cyprus, commonly grown in many gardens both within rural villages or suburban towns. Notably, there are large plantations situated in the north that were originally established during the British colonial period from the early 20th century in territory now disputed by both Cypriot factions since the island’s forcible division in 1974. They have a similar significance to those contested Jaffa oranges grown in Palestine and the orange tree species in Cyprus partially originates from the Palestinian variation. They become symbols of imposed ethnic division.Read more
A K Dolven
A K Dolven, *1953, Oslo, Norway
lives and works in Oslo and Lofoten, Norway
A K Dolven’s concern with beauty and the sublime, stillness, the corporeality and sensuality of the body and a feeling for common sensibility has been demonstrated in her subject matter from the start. Her engagement with close personal relationships underpins the intrinsic humanity of her work. This interest in relationships has become a vehicle for the exploration of the position of women sociologically as well as personally.
In a practice that is multi-layered and multi-disciplined, Dolven returns periodically to examine this position, expressing different facets of identity through a visual language that articulates her concern with the balance between strength and vulnerability. Her works are rooted in a sensibility developed by Dolven in the northern reaches of Europe, particularly in the landscape that surrounds Norway’s Lofoten Islands. This extreme environment is often used as a backdrop by Dolven, its harsh but simple scenography informs her ideas and provides a place where they can gestate.Read more
Neha Choksi, *1973, USA, raised in India
lives and works between Los Angeles, USA and Bombay, India
Photo © Brica Wilcox (All front, left and right views, videos of works)
Photo © Neha Choksi (All details and top views)
Urgency and Longing
The solitary condition of the individual and their reaching out to contact the material world that they share with others underpins the work of Neha Choksi. She does this without resort to metaphor by an unvarnished attention to the physical contact between herself and things and the resonant, sensual atmosphere that occurs between living beings when they connect even if only in passing. Choksi understands that this endeavour to relate is a finely balanced task in which failure to realise its potential is constant and perhaps inevitable. Despite inescapable constraints in her effort by her physical, psychological, and empathetic boundaries, she believes that the directness of experience assists communication.
There is no more direct an experience than touch. Choksi explores the connectivity and its traces that touch offers. It seems the way in which the act of touching marks a point, a moment that acknowledges the immediate past and what lies ahead. As she says, ’every touch connects and alters and draws breaks between presences and absences and between what has come before and what has yet to come’. There is therefore an attempt within this process to grasp the fleeting nature of time. Creating timely encounters between self and others through her work, Choksi magnifies her experience of access to the quiddity, to the threshold of meaning.Read more
Damien Roach, *1980, Bromley, UK
lives and works in London, UK
Damien Roach’s sculptures, projections and installations rethink and reformat the systems and structures that comprise the complex web of experience and cognition we call reality, challenging a stasis or fixity of perception and inviting the viewer to look, to think, to experience the world in different ways. He builds environments from associated objects and images, creating dynamic situations for his work in which audiences are active participants in establishing the various logics of the site.
His work draws the audience’s attention to things familiar enough to normally arouse no curiosity in such a way that, when perceived in the structurally dynamic and effervescent space he creates, allows for a startling set of reconsiderations. A space infused with dynamism and potential, where the once known may be seen in fresh detail, as if for the first time, enhancing or rebooting perception by his contextualisation, selection and display.
His installations have often been further activated in their nature as sites for new creative thought, to include performances, discussions, screenings, readings, and workshops. All of Roach’s work encourages heightened states of altered perception, with the artist’s particular focus offering audiences the means to see and think with new paths and trajectories. In today’s tumultuous world, which lies on the precipice of ecological, social, political, and economic collapse, we are undoubtedly in desperate need of new models of living and being. The situations that Roach constructs could be considered as tools in our collective quest for open cognition and the subsequent formation of new creative thought & action.Read more