The fair has announced the full programme of special projects for the sixth London edition of 1-54, Somerset House, 4 – 7 October 2018.
1-54 will take over the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court at Somerset House for the third consecutive year with Meditation Tree, a sculpture by one of the most significant figures in African and Arab Modernism, Sudanese artist Ibrahim El-Salahi (Vigo Gallery). Serving his ongoing investigation into the tree/body metaphor, demonstrated in his celebrated Tree series shown during his solo exhibition at TATE Modern (London, UK, 2003), the presentation at Somerset House will build on El-Salahi’s first sculptural project, Meditation Tree, reflecting the artist’s fascination with the Haraz tree, indigenous to Sudan, and its peculiar characteristics.
Athi-Patra Ruga: Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions
In partnership with Somerset House, 1-54 will present Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions (4 October 2018 – 7 January 2019), an exhibition of new and rarely seen works from internationally renowned South African artist Athi-Patra Ruga. In his first major solo UK exhibition, Ruga reveals a mythical world which challenges perception of cultural identity, and parodies the construction of the South African nation state in the post-apartheid era. For the first time, Ruga brings together three seminal bodies of work – The Future White Women of Azania (2012-15), Queen in Exile (2015-17), and The Beatification of Feral Benga (2017-present) – immersing visitors in his vibrant world filled with powerful and striking characters.
British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong (Copperfield Gallery) will create an immersive installation that fuses the domestic and the religious, exploring Christianity’s role in colonialism and diasporic communities living in the West. Within a living-room setting staged by a television and sofa, Achiampong brings together Sunday’s Best (2016), a video considering how belief systems within the diaspora have been shaped by colonial histories; a painting from the artist’s Holy Cloud series, highlighting the peculiarity of dominant representations of Jesus in contemporary African society; and Glyth (2013), a series of altered family photos referencing issues of racist misrepresentation.
1-54 Silver Sponsor Nando’s will present work for sale by four Southern African artists in partnership with Spier Art Trust: Ricky Dyaloyi, Zemba Luzamba, John Murray and Emma Willemse. Nando’s was founded in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987 and its restaurants house one of the largest publicly displayed bodies of contemporary Southern African art in the world, with over 8,000 pieces in the UK alone. Nando’s patronage of contemporary Southern African art, through close partnership with Spier Arts Trust, both enables career development opportunities for artists and the curation of Nando’s body of work. Their presentation of conceptual artist Emma Willemse work will consist of a suspended installation, Suture, which continues Willemse’s investigation of the boat as a symbol of displacement and the traumatic experience of loss.
The fair’s Lounge will comprise an immersive experience of archive photography, paintings, ceramic sculptures and videos displayed in specially designed wooden vitrines and cabinets, formulated by Shiraz Bayjoo (Ed Cross Fine Art), a London-based artist currently working in the Indian Ocean region. The Lounge installation, Indian Ocean Archive (2018) builds on Bayjoo’s exploration of the legacies of European colonialism, and intersects with his latest body of work, Searching for Libertalia, which focusses on Madagascar and its nineteenth and twentieth-century history under French imperialism and will preview at the Casablanca Biennale later this year.
Leasho Johnson and Monique Gilpin: Required Reading
198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, in partnership with Jamaica-based curator Susanne Fredricks aka Suzie Wong, will present Required Reading, an exhibition of work by two Jamaican artists. Leasho Johnson and Monique Gilpin engage with issues of identity, loss and reconstruction, particularly as they relate to the black body – its objectification, its wounds, its power and the unrelenting tensions of reconstructing and navigating identity in a post plantation society and economy. The presentation draws on the discourse of Jamaican-born cultural theorist Stuart Hall, particularly his important essay ‘Cultural Identity and Diaspora’, and his investigation into the processes of ‘being’ and ‘becoming’, and how these dynamics work in visual culture.
Sulger-Buel Lovell will present an installation by Congolese artist Gastineau Massamba. Born in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, Massamba was confronted with the civil war that tore apart his country. The artist explores violence, chaos and pain, deep traces of which can still be felt today. Massamba burns, cuts and embroiders huge canvasses or linen to create images of incredible force, bearing witness to unspeakable human suffering.