The title of the exhibition implies that the times we live in are not "flower times". Shonibare investigates issues of culture, tradition and identity, employing both flamboyant aesthetics and pointed humour. In this exhibition the artist presents works in a variety of media including painting, film and sculpture.
Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present Flower Time, an exhibition of new work by British artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE. Shonibare investigates issues of culture, tradition and identity, employing both flamboyant aesthetics and pointed humour. In this exhibition the artist presents works in a variety of media including painting, film and sculpture.
The title of the exhibition, Flower Time, cynically implies that the times we live in are not ‘flower times’. Shonibare - often introducing a light-hearted approach to political topics - also uses the title to hint at the ‘flower power’ spirit of the late 1960s, aiming to recover some of the pacifist optimism of that period. Key to Shonibare’s work is his ‘signature’ material, seemingly African motifs on wax-printed cotton. The fabric, which Shonibare buys at Brixton Market, was originally produced in the Netherlands from Indonesian designs and then sold to West Africa. Here, the fabric was embraced as ‘African’ and became a symbol of Independence amongst the people.
Black Gold is an installation consisting of several round black and gold painted canvasses mounted onto a black paint-splattered wall. The title of the installation refers not only to its colour scheme, but also to the seductive qualities of oil and the destructive potential of this essential resource.
Shonibare uses Black Gold to carefully examine the role of the artist within times of terror and destruction, considering the violent clashes of lifestyles and identities worldwide. “Can art evolve absolutely oblivious to our time of extreme trauma?" Shonibare asks, “Or can dealing with trauma be a valuable solace?" Odile and Odette is a film based on the two opposing characters in Tchaikowsky’s ballet ‘Swan Lake’. Shonibare’s film features two dancers, one black and one white, each wearing classical tutus made of his ‘African’ textiles. Performing identical movements on either side of a baroque mirror frame, the dancers unite through a ‘reflection’ in the mirror - embodying the possibility of harmony. Unlike a ballet, the film has no musical sound track, but is accompanied by the rustling sound caused by the ballerinas’ feet and tutus. Flower Cloud is a sculpture of a ballerina, who, repeating the motif in Odile and Odette, wears one of the tutus seen in the film while dancing on a mushroom cloud.
How to Blow up Two Heads at Once shows two headless Victorian figures simultaneously aiming guns at each other’s heads. Both sculptures incorporate the characteristic ‘African’ fabric. Here, Shonibare points at concerns of race, identity and violence, while simultaneously inducing a comical element. Flower Time, a small sculpture of a bouquet of flowers concludes the exhibition. Using his signature fabric, Shonibare created Flower Time earlier this year as a commission for Beck’s limited edition beer bottles. The series has been running for 20 years, featuring works by the UK’s most influential contemporary artists. The Flower Time label was launched at the award ceremony for Beck’s Futures in May 2006. Yinka Shonibare combines visually spectacular costumes and patterns with sharp irony and political depth. Exploring the idea of the self in context with class, race, commerce and globalisation, he mirrors the multiple and complex layers of contemporary culture.
Shonibare has exhibited widely all over the world. Recent solo exhibitions include Yinka Shonibare Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York (2005); Double Dutch at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2004) and Double Dress at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, touring to KIASMA, Helsinki and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan in 2003. Shonibare has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, most recently Around The World in Eighty Days at the South London Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2006); Acting the Part: Photography as Theatre at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2006); Contemporary Commonwealth at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2006); Ahistoric Occasion at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts (2006) and Africa Remix at Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, which toured to the Hayward Gallery, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005/2006). In 2004 Yinka Shonibare was nominated for the Turner Prize. In 2005 he was made Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
During the course of this exhibition, Shonibare is also participating in Alien Nation at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (17 November 2006 until 14 January 2007). Next year, he will present new commissions at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the National Gallery, London, Muse'e du quai Branly, Paris and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Stephen Friedman Gallery Stephen Friedman Gallery was founded in 1995 and has since established a worldwide reputation. The gallery represents both well- established and emerging artists from all over the world. Since its inauguration the gallery has been based on Old Burlington Street in Central London. In 2005 it expanded, taking on additional premises next door.
This more than doubled the exhibition space. The freshly renovated premises now host approximately seven exhibitions each year. Both solo and curated group exhibitions are featured. In generous private rooms and office spaces additional works can be viewed by appointment. There is also a facility to display art in a newly landscaped private garden. Stephen Friedman Gallery aims to promote the work of artists that are thoughtful and intelligent and produce work that is at once visually stimulating and intellectually challenging. The result is a gallery that is infused with energy and an aesthetic that is compelling and beautiful.
Stephen Friedman Gallery represents: Mamma Andersson (Sweden), Stephan Balkenhol (Germany), Claire Barclay (UK), Robert Beck (USA), Tom Friedman (USA), Kendell Geers (South Africa), Dryden Goodwin (UK), Mark Grotjahn (USA), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland), Jim Hodges (USA), Corey McCorkle (USA), Paul McDevitt (UK), Beatriz Milhazes (Brasil), Donald Moffett (USA), Yoshitomo Nara (Japan), Rivane Neuenschwander (Brasil), Catherine Opie (USA), Cornelius Quabeck (Germany), Yinka Shonibare (UK) and David Shrigley (UK).
Stephen Friedman Gallery will be participating in Art Basel Miami Beach from 7-10 December 2006, stand B9.
Private View: 30 November, 6-8pm
Stephen Friedman Gallery
25-28 Old Burlington Street - London Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 6pm, Saturday - 11am to 5pm