Saturday 29 March 2014

For 35 years of October Gallery, Anatsui, Hazoume make 'Transvangarde' world of artists

By Tajudeen Sowole
Three and half decades of showing artists from around the world goes on celebration in the U.K, with an exhibition titled Transvangarde, opening from April 9 and ending May 3, 2014 at October Gallery, London.

The gallery, which prides itself as artists’ haven is organsing the exhibition as part of a 35th anniversary “as the first gallery in the United Kingdom to exhibit artists from around the world.”

The exhibition, according to a statement from Alana Pryce, October Gallery’s Press and Media manager, the show features works of El Anatsui, Kenji Yoshida, William S. Burroughs, Laila Shawa, Romuald Hazoumè, Gerald Wilde and Aubrey Williams.
Pryce said “October Gallery nurtures an enviable reputation throughout the world,” with artists “from over 80 countries.”

 From the Mask series of Romuald Hazoumè
Truly, African artists such as Anatsui and Hazoumè had their early lift into Europe through the shows organized by October Gallery. On Anatsui, for example, October Gallery noted that one of the artist’s works, a 2007  bottle-top wall-hangings, Fresh and Fading Memories “caused a quiet sensation” at the Venice Biennale 2007.

The gallery also promoted Anatsui’s work at Dubai Art Fair, 2010, where another large-scale masterpiece - In the World, but Don’t know the World (2009), reportedly attracted “great acclaim.” From then till date, the artists’ works “have continued to expand in size.”

For the native of Republic of Benin, Hazoumè, whose work was first spotted by critics and connoisseurs when his masks series featured in the Saatchi Gallery’s Out of Africa show, in 1992, October Gallery featured him at the Art Dubai Fair of 2013. The gallery had, severally, shown him in London.

The theme of the exhibition, October Gallery explained was coined based on the belief that artists exhibited so far were in search of fresh ideas.  “Coining the word Transvangarde, the founders aimed to exhibit the work of artists from around the world who were looking for new sensibilities,” Chili Hawes, Director and Co-founder of October Gallery comments:

The gallery recalled that in “1979, London was chosen as the place to locate this new venture due to its history as an Imperial world power and its location - It was a vibrant crossroads of cultures and ideas. Over the decades, the gallery has recognised the positive impact of cultural convergence, observing the attraction of a world city to those interconnected by citizenship, migration and economy.”

Led by Director, Chili Hawes and Artistic Director, Elisabeth Lalouschek, the gallery has since played a pioneering role in the promotion and exhibition of some of the most innovative and exciting artists of contemporary time, including
Aubrey Williams, Gerald Wilde, Kenji Yoshida, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs,

The gallery became a stage in the centre of London where an experimental piece of new drama was enacted and constantly developing, where artists and audiences alike participated in what Brion Gysin called, ‘third mind’.

The exhibition, 35 Years of Transvangarde contemporary art from around the planet, will celebrate the most exceptional artists in the gallery’s history - artists who although separated by continents, share a common sensibility.

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