Chris Ofili | Within Reach
Installation Within Reach by Chris Ofili, British Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2003, Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Photo: Cameraphoto Arte, Venezia
© Chris Ofili
For his exhibition in the British pavilion Ofili will create a new suite of paintings created specifically for the Biennale. The exhibition is sponsored by Bloomberg.
Born in Manchester in 1968, Ofili came to prominence in the early 1990’s with densely orchestrated paintings that upped the ante on a whole range of subjects: from decoration and excess to cultural politics and black stereotyping. Most of all though, at a time when obituaries were frequently being prepared over the demise of painting, Ofili brought to our attention painting’s continuing ability to deepen and enrich, extending its range through a brilliant and eclectic mix of materials and strengthening its meaning with works shot through with questions about identity, prejudice and preconception.
Ofili won the Turner prize in 1998 and has exhibited in several major international institutions over the past decade. In 1999 he participated in Sensation at the Royal Academy, London, and subsequently shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York.
2002 saw a new departure in his work as Ofili created an ambitious installation for his paintings in collaboration with the architect David Adjaye at Victoria Miro Gallery, London. The much-celebrated Upper Room consisted of 13 individual monkey paintings installed within a dramatic wood-panelled interior, spotlit and approached via a dark, wood-clad corridor. The installation accompanied a separate show on the lower floor; Freedom One Day, which portrayed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, each painting colour keyed to the pan-African flag of red, green and black.
Commissioner of the British Pavilion: Andrea Rose (British Council).
Deputy Commissioner: Brendan Griggs (British Council).
Curator: Colin Ledwith.