A contemporary painter – Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili – Exploding the Crystal (Tate Britain, 2010)

In Chris Ofili’s work painterly and cultural elements – both sacred and profane, personal and political, from high art and popular culture – come together to play on ideas of beauty while carrying messages about black culture, history and exoticism. Ofili came to prominence in the early 1990s with richly orchestrated paintings combining rippling dots of paint, drifts of glitter, collaged images and elephant dung – varnished, often studded with map pins and applied to the picture surface as well as supporting the canvas – a combination of physical elevation and symbolic link to the earth. He won the Turner Prize in 1998 and over the past two decades has exhibited in many international institutions. In 2003 he was selected to represent Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale, where he presented his ambitious exhibition Within Reach. In 2010 Tate Britain presented an extensive survey of his work and in 2014, Night and Day, held at the New Museum, New York, featured more than thirty of Ofili’s major paintings, in addition to drawings and a selection of sculptures from across his career. The exhibition travelled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in 2015.

His is a highly seductive art of braided connections that draws on a wide range of sources – including jazz and hip hop music, the Bible, and the works of artist and poet William Blake – and works on many levels, physically and metaphorically. Ofili’s recent works adopt simple, pared-down forms while continuing to be just as expansive, dramatic and romantic – full of references to sensuality, sexuality and his ongoing exploration of Biblical themes. Recent collaborative projects include Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, in which contemporary artists were invited by London’s National Gallery and Royal Opera House to respond to Titian’s works as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Ofili worked alongside choreographers and dancers from The Royal Ballet on sets and costumes for a new ballet Diana & Actaeon as well as a substantial suite of paintings and works on paper inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Alongside the recent developments in the artist’s material choices, Ofili has remained faithful to a pictorial style that relies on a conscious flattening of the picture plane, carefully layered surfaces, and diverse, history-spanning sources of inspiration.

Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England, in 1968, and currently lives and works in Trinidad. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea School of Art in 1991 and his MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art in 1993. Chris Ofili: Weaving Magic, opens at the National Gallery, London in April 2017; major solo exhibitions of the artist’s work have previously been presented at international venues including the New Museum, New York (2014), travelling to Aspen Art Museum (2015); The Arts Club of Chicago (2010); Tate Britain, London (2010 and 2005); kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2006), The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005), and Serpentine Gallery, London (1998). The artist represented Britain in the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and won the Turner Prize in 1998.


[Sources: The documentary was found at Tate Britain´s yt-channel and was published on october 8, 2017. The introduction was copied from the website of Victoria Miro, who fabricated this brilliant short expedition into his artwork. Please visit their homepage. This posting is for educational purpose only.]

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