Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker
May 3–21, 2018
Private view: May 3, 6–9pm, opened by Yinka Shonibare MBE
1 Andrews Road
London E8 4QL
Hours: Monday–Sunday 12–6:30pm
Reformation presents the work of Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker who unearth hidden histories. Their work proposes alternative narratives that expose and undermine cultural assumptions. In an exhibition that includes sculpture, installation and large-scale drawing, Reformation explores racial, sexual and personal identities within historic economic and cultural currents that still shape our world today. Reformation presents the work of Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker who unearth hidden histories. Their work proposes alternative narratives that expose and undermine cultural assumptions. In an exhibition that includes sculpture, installation and large-scale drawing, Reformation explores racial, sexual and personal identities within historic economic and cultural currents that still shape our world today.
All three artists share an interest in remodelling and remaking, using techniques that range from pencil drawing directly onto gallery walls, to the use of textiles and found objects that range from skulls to fake designer handbags. The work of Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker was shown at last year’s Venice Biennale as part of the Diaspora Pavilion, an initiative of the International Curators Forum. Khasif Nadim Chaudry has recently completed a major new commission, The Three Graces, for Turner Contemporary, where he spent a year in residence.
Khasif Nadim Chaudry was trained at Goldsmiths. He uses elaborate, textiles based techniques to create monumental installations from fabric and found objects. His work is concerned with power, the sacred and the ceremonial; he situates his sexuality as a gay man within different religious and political contexts. For Reformation he brings together medieval heraldry and Islamic decoration, creating a louche cast of characters in fetishistic finery to question ritual, custom, and belief.
Michael Forbes presents a series of sculptural tableau informed by the entwined political and social histories of Africa, the Caribbean, America, and Europe. Bleeding at the edges and erupting from their formal plinths, tribal masks jostle with historical porcelain figurines and disembowelled electronics. Forbes is concerned with migration – of objects, and of the people who have become refugees. His work alludes to the conspicuous consumption of the new economic empires, as well as the arbitrary cultural acquisitiveness that created historic museum collections. Forbes’ work invites a dialogue on both the post-colonial black presence in Europe and new developing Diasporas.
The visceral drawings of Barbara Walker bring to life the forgotten histories of black servicemen and women in the British Armed Forces. Monumental drawings, often large scale and rendered directly onto gallery walls, powerfully document the erasure and cultural negation of black combatants. In other works these figures are embossed on paper, their ghostly pale shadows a vivid contrast with their meticulously illustrated cohorts, resulting in an optical tussle between absence and presence. Graphite and blind embossing techniques draw attention to the fluidity of history, the way it is made, erased and redrawn, and how its figures are repositioned over time. Unearthing these invisible but true stories, of lives given and indelibly altered in the name of Empire, is a particularly poignant endeavour during the last centenary year of the Great War. Walker’s work is an affecting reminder of the social, political, cultural and individual histories that have been expunged from our collective remembrance.
“The history of the art movement in the UK has always been about artist interventions in the form of group shows framed around the currency of artistic chronicles and for me: Reformation will be a historical marker and a must-see event. It is one of many chapters of a story of how Michael Forbes and Barbara Walker project has emerged from a two-year strategic intervention programme that explored the artistic, challenges, changes, disruptions, and interventions that occur across the global art worlds and documents these processes to allow established, future and emerging artists from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences to discover, learn and develop their professional practice.” David A Bailey MBE
Guest Projects is an initiative conceived by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE which offers the opportunity to artistic practitioners of any artistic discipline to have access to a free project space for one month. Guest Projects provides an alternative universe and playground for artists. It is a laboratory of ideas and a testing ground for new thoughts and actions.