Revolution Kid (Fox), 2012
Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'Paradise Beyond' at Gemeentemuseum, Helmond
20th September 2016 – 12th February 2017
The Gemeentemuseum in Helmond is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of works by Yinka Shonibare MBE.
Paradise Beyond will showcase a selection of sculpture, installation, collage, drawing, photography and film by Yinka Shonibare, from the period 2004 – 2016. Exploring themes of race, class and power, Shonibare's seductive and humorous work makes sensitive socio-cultural topics accessible to the audience.
The exhibition focuses on the repetition in historical cycles of wealth, conflict, revolution and war, in the ultimate quest for paradise. "Paradise Beyond" suggests that somewhere beyond the horizon lies paradise - but where and when this will be found remains uncertain.
Yinka Shonibare MBE is known for his use of colourful African batik fabric sourced from the Helmond-based Vlisco textile factory. The Vlisco patterns or imitation batik are inspired by Indonesian design and for several decades have been very popular in West Africa. Since the 1960s the fabrics have been used as a symbol of African identity and independence - which supports Shonibare’s motto: nothing is what it seems.
In connection with Shonibare's 'Paradise Beyond', Vlisco will also be exhibiting classic patterns, re-interpretations and new designs in the separate exhibition Un par Un. The exhibition focuses in on four specific aspects: the company’s history, production processes, design processes and the use of the fabrics in fashion and art. In this presentation, developed especially for Vlisco’s 170th anniversary, the emphasis will be on captivating the visual qualities of the fabrics and their powerful symbolism.
Rose of Lima, 2016
'...and the wall fell away' at Stephen Friedman Gallery
28 September 2016 - 5 November 2016
Private view: Tuesday 27 September 2016, 6-8pm
Opening during Frieze week in October 2016, Yinka Shonibare MBE presents his sixth solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery titled ‘...and the wall fell away'.
The show marks a significant transition and a pivotal moment in the artist's practice. There is a complete absence of the Dutch wax batik textiles for which he is known. He instead takes the fabric's designs and manipulates them in new ways. Traditions of classical art and religious iconography are explored in the exhibition; Shonibare uses the patterns of the batik fabrics to interrupt these themes. The idea of dismantling the boundaries in western understanding is indicated in the title of the show. By leaving the ‘trace' of his trademark batik motifs, Shonibare gives a personal insight into the complexities of identity, hybridity and colonial history.
The exhibition is divided into two parts: Gallery One is focused on ideas of rationality in classical art and Gallery Two, on religion. The show coincides with a major commission currently displayed on the Royal Academy's façade on Burlington Gardens. In the exhibition, a monumental hand-painted installation will echo the same motif; the Royal Academy being an important link and on-going inspiration for the artist following his election as an Academician in 2013. Concurrent with this show is a new commission, ‘The End of Empire', which is presented with ‘The British Library' and on view at Turner Contemporary in Margate.
Upon entering Gallery One, we are struck by the absence of sculpture. Instead, an expansive wall painting is framed by the white walls of the gallery. Unlike previous iterations of these impressive installations, here there are no sculptural elements. This work sets the tone for the show as the wax batik pattern is stripped from the fabric and positioned in a new context. Dutch wax batik fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a new symbol of African identity and independence. Since the early 1990s, Shonibare has used it to represent the flexibility of identity as much as the implications of colonialism. The wall painting is completed by an accompanying floor drawing rendered in gold and red and inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Vitruvian Man'. Da Vinci's drawing was intended to demonstrate that man is the measure of all things. Shonibare's version here is a black figure and a hybrid of both man and woman. The two elements form one immersive work, of which the viewer becomes a part on entering the room.
In another gallery three sculptures recognisable as David, Venus de Milo and the Discus Thrower, are gloriously adorned with batik patterns. Shonibare is renowned for creating dynamic figures in motion, dressed in Victoriana costumes reproduced in batik fabric. The figures' lithe bodies have been hand-painted with the batik designs. Importantly, these have been altered by the artist. Much like the artist's series of self-portraits in which he superimposed batik patterns onto his own face, these new works put the pattern directly onto the skin. In doing so, Shonibare clashes the ideological implications of the textile with classical sculpture. Importantly, unlike previous works that bore antique globes in place of a head; here the figures have contemporary globes that map a post colonial landscape. This deftly denies any notion of race and focuses our attention instead on figure's pose and its connotations of sexuality, masculinity, athleticism and the ideal body.
The series of screen-prints on canvas in Gallery Two is Shonibare's largest to date. A key feature of Shonibare's work is its visual appeal, and these are immediately seductive. Figures from Christian and African religious iconography merge into fantastical hybrids. Shonibare is able to make these works by drawing on a large tablet, using new technology that was not available to him before. This is the first instance in which we see Shonibare's drawing, what the artist describes as ‘hand expression', on such a large scale. Each work begins with an image of a European religious figure in a classical pose. Shonibare then overlays this with elements of Dutch Wax batik patterns and African ritual masks. "First of all [I] think about picture making itself: the history of Modernism and the aesthetic of the mask in Modernist painting. So we are going back to Picasso I guess. And then taking that signifier of religious ritual, which is the mask, and overlapping one religious symbol with another religious symbol". By combining powerful imagery with their respective mythologies, he creates a hybrid: what the artist calls ‘a third myth'.
Shonibare's presentation flirts with the expectations of the audience, removing the textiles for which he is known. The mimesis of the fabric is an important move for the artist. Shonibare sees the material as a metaphor for interdependence: complexity and ambiguity are the cornerstones of his artistic narrative. His specific concerns here; art history, the power of iconography and religion, are powerfully brought together. With each of them he interrupts familiar references by overlaying the image with the wax batik pattern. In doing so he exercises individual agency and aesthetic creativity, which are ideas that are central to humanism. This has long been present in Shonibare's work, and this exhibition should be read as a celebration of human expression, achievement, beauty and the pursuit of intellectual and religious liberty, regardless of race and time. ‘...and the wall fell away' demonstrates an irreverent disregard for the binaries presented in western understandings and offers a contemporary deconstruction of the classics.
Nelson's Ship in a Bottle
Yinka Shonibare MBE at Yale Centre for British Art
Thursday, 1st September - Sunday, 11th December 2016
Yinka Shonibare is best known for his explorations of the legacies of colonialism through sculpture, installations, film, and photography. This display, which coincides with the Center’s exhibition Spreading Canvas: Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting, will focus on Shonibare’s interest in the British historical figure Admiral Lord Nelson, whom he uses as an emblem of Britain’s imperial history. An important feature of Shonibare’s work is the consistent use of colorful, wax-printed cotton fabrics, which are associated with Africa but originated in Indonesia and Holland, a product of global trade and imperial markets. The fabric sums up the themes at the heart of Shonibare’s work.
Yinka Shonibare MBE will be curated by Martina Droth, Deputy Director of Research and Curator of Sculpture, Yale Center for British Art.
Bad School Boy 2014
Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, glass flask, stool, resin, globe and leather. 195 x 65 x 57cm. © 2010 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Making & Unmaking: An Exhibition Curated by Duro Olowu
19 June - 18 September, 2016
Making & Unmaking, curated by celebrated fashion designer and curator Duro Olowu.
Bringing together over sixty international artists working in diverse media, this exhibition places antique West African textiles and Bauhaus tapestries amongst contemporary works and new commissions. Individually, the works address themes that include portraiture as well as representations of beauty, gender, sexuality, innocence and the body. Collectively, their coming together reveals a common thread that Olowu describes as a ‘process of personal ritual experienced by artists in creating their work’.
Artists featured: Caroline Achaintre, Marina Adams, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Anni Albers, Tasha Amini, Hurvin Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Tony Armstrong Jones, Emheyo Bahabba, Walead Beshty, Alighiero Boetti, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Lisa Brice, James Brown, Zoe Buckman, Claude Cahun, Lygia Clark, Céline Condorelli, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Alexandre da Cunha, Andreas Eriksson, Meredith Frampton, Simon Fujiwara, Anya Gallaccio, Hassan Hajjaj, Chie Hammons, Sheila Hicks, Donna Huddleston, Diane Itter, Isaac Julien, Neil Kenlock, Fernand Léger, Eric Mack, Peter McDonald, Rodney McMillian, Hamidou Maiga, Ari Marcopoulos, Brice Marden, Wardell Milan, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Nobukho Nqaba, Chris Ofili, Horace Ové CBE, Irving Penn, Tal R, Michael Roberts, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Daniel Sinsel, Christiana Soulou, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Taylor, Bill Traylor, Francis Upritchard, Al Vandenberg, Brent Wadden, Grace Wales Bonner, Rebecca Ward, West African Textiles, Stanley Whitney, Kehinde Wiley, Masaaki Yamada, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Butterfly Kid (Boy), 2015
Fiberglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, silk, metal, globe, leather and steel baseplate 50 x 29 1/2 x 34 5/8 in © 2015, Yinka Shonibare MBE
Rotunda Projects: Yinka Shonibare MBE
Organised by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, courtesy of James Cohan Gallery
7th May - 6th November 2016
The inaugural exhibition for Rotunda Projects comprises four figures from Shonibare’s series Rage of the Ballet Gods. The figures will be on view in the museum’s rotunda from May 7th to November 6th, 2016, as part of the museum’s year-long centennial celebration.
The Rotunda Projects series will engage visitors with experimental, provocative, and compelling works in a variety of styles and employing diverse materials created by internationally recognized and emerging artists.
RA Family Album
Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and James Cohan Gallery, New York
Royal Academy Wrap
Digital print commissioned by Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts is undergoing a transformative redevelopment by David Chipperfield Architects that will unite Burlington House on Piccadilly with 6 Burlington Gardens to the north. The Royal Academy will be opened as never before, creating a revitalised destination for artists and the public in the very heart of London, completed in time for our 250th anniversary in 2018. Across the site there will be new public areas, displays of our collection and more space for the RA Schools. Burlington Gardens will reopen with newdedicated spaces for exhibitions, new Learning facilities, and a double-height lecture theatre.
Royal Academician Yinka Shonibare MBE will create an art work for the scaffolding wrap which will shroud the façade of Burlington Gardens for the next 2 years while the building work is taking place. It will contribute an important temporary work of art to the neighbo§urhood of Mayfair that celebrates not just the Royal Academy but the importance of art and culture for everyone.
‘RA Family Album’ brings together over 150 photographs that span the Royal Academy’s 248-year history. The juxtaposition of images reveals the rich tapestry of activity which takes place behind these walls. From the renowned exhibitions, public debates, artists’ gatherings and stylish social events, to the more private making of art by Schools students and the skilled back of house operation, all give the place its life and vitality. This spread of images is topped by one of Shonibare’s signature colourful fabric designs, in this case of circles, selected as a sign of universal inclusiveness. From historic legacy to future possibilities, the work highlights the Royal Academy as a place for all.
The British Library
Hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock Dimensions: Variable © 2014 Yinka Shonibare MBE
End of Empire
Co-commision by 14 - 18 NOW and Turner Contemporary Margate.
22nd March - 30th October 2016
In a new commission, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, one of the leading artists at work in the UK, explores how the new alliances forged in the First World War changed British society forever and continue to affect us today.
Shonibare’s new work features two of his signature figures attired in African fabrics, their globe-heads highlighting the countries involved in WW1. Offering a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, the entire work pivots almost imperceptibly in the gallery space, symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.
How has immigration contributed to the British culture in which we live today? How have immigrants shaped what it means to be British? These are the questions Shonibare asks in The British Library, a sculptural work presented alongside End of Empire at Turner Contemporary. Shelves of books, many bearing the name of an immigrant who has enriched our society (from TS Eliot to Zaha Hadid), remind us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.
Nelsons Ship in Bottle
© 2010 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Yinka Shonibare MBE Nelson's Ship in a Bottle
Nelson's HMS Victory
'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' originally debuted on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and is now permantley on display at The Nation Maritime Museum in Greenwich.The work is an incredibly detailed, scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, on which Nelson died during the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. It has 80 cannon and 37 sails set as on the day of battle. The fabrics used were inspired by Indonesian batik, mass-produced by Dutch traders and sold in West Africa.
Wind Sculpture Howick Place
© 2014 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Yinka Shonibare MBE Wind Sculpture
Commission for Howick Place
Wind Sculpture, a site specific commision, is permanently displayed as part of Howick Place in Victoria, London. Measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, the work explores the notion of harnessing movement, through the idea of capturing and freezing a volume of wind in a moment in time.
Globe Head Ballerina
2012 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Yinka Shonibare Globe Head Ballerina
Yinka Shonibare's Globe Head Ballerina modelled on The Royal Ballet's Melissa Hamilton.
Globe Head Ballerina is a piece of public sculpture which is currently on display on the side of the Royal Oprea House in Convent Garden. This piece is a life sized work based on a photograph of ballerina Margot Fonteyn.The costume is made of African Dutch wax fabric and the dancer has a Victorian-style globe as her head. Encased within a large snow globe style sphere the ballerina rotates on Pointe.
To look at previous exhibitions see Press