Chris Ofili
Current Solo Exhibition at David Zwirner
September 2017

September 14 - October 21, 2017

 

David Zwirner presents Paradise Lost, an exhibition of works by Chris Ofili, in fall 2017.

This presentation touches on themes of lost innocence, alienation, and desire. On view at 533 West 19th Street in New York, this is Ofili’s third solo exhibition at the gallery.

Paradise Lost both returns to and expands upon ideas Ofili presented earlier this year in his solo exhibition Weaving Magic at the National Gallery, London, where he debuted his tapestry The Caged Bird’s Song. Commissioned by the British Clothworkers' Company, the tapestry was made in collaboration with the internationally renowned Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh. In dramatizing the tension between liberation and constraint, Paradise Lost poses, in Ofili's words, "the question of the sweetness of the song—is the sweeter song the song of the uncaged bird or of the caged bird?"1

In 2018, David Zwirner Books will publish an artist's publication related to the exhibition.

Major Commission for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
2017
The artist's first permanent museum commission in the United States
Chris Ofili
The Sorceress' Mirror, 2017. Photo: Kendall McCaugherty, © MCA Chicago.

Chris Ofili has been invited by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to design an immersive interior, including a large-scale mural, for the newly renovated restaurant Marisol as part of a $16 million renovation of the museum's public spaces.

As The New York Times reported, "The highlight is a new restaurant, which will be accessible from the street . . .  [The museum] has selected the Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili, who now lives in Trinidad, to create a major site-specific mural for the restaurant, which will be his first permanent museum commission in the United States. 'Really, the entire restaurant is his commission,' Ms. Grynsztejn [Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director of MCA Chicago] added. 'He will have a hand in all surfaces, from the patterning of the leather banquettes to the glass of the dining room doors. And the mural will be the basis for the palette of the rest of the restaurant.'"

"It will set the visual tone for the entire establishment," Artnet writes.

Blue Black features work by Chris Ofili
2017
Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis

June 9 - October 7

Blue Bathers (2014) by Chris Ofili is included in the group exhibition Blue Black at Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

Curated by the American artist Glenn Ligon and inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s sculpture Blue Black (2000) which is permanently installed at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the exhibition explores questions about language, identity, and perception through the lens of these two colors.

As Ligon explains in an interview with The New York Times, "In his [Chris Ofili's] Blue Bathers, the blueness is about Trinidad, where his studio was. Ofili's describing this kind of equatorial light, how in Trinidad even in the darkness there's a luminosity. [That he was] able to capture that in the painting, I thought, was amazing."

The exhibition also includes Untitled (policeman) (2015) by gallery artist Kerry James Marshall.

Chris Ofili awarded a CBE
2017
The artist receives royal recognition in the United Kingdom for services to art

Chris Ofii has been honoured for his work by being made a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). The news was announced in the Queen's round of honors in April, and the awards given at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.

Ofili, who was born in Manchester in northern England and studied in London, is quoted in The Guardian as saying, "We set up our life in England and it’s so special to be recognized for what I do in England and Britain, and for my parents that they made a great choice and invested so much in me. It feels as though I have achieved a lot."

Commission for the Reopening of ICA Miami
2017

A new installation of large-scale paintings by Chris Ofili has been commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Miami as part of the museum's inaugural program for its new permanent home. Ofili's paintings will launch a dedicated gallery space on the ground floor of the museum, which is slated to open December 1.

Designed by the Spanish firm Aranguren + Gallegos Arquitectos, ICA Miami's new 37,500-square-foot location in the city's Design District will provide double the exhibition space of its former building, with the addition of a 15,000-foot sculpture garden.

Weaving Magic
2017
Chris Ofili's work is transformed into a tapestry at The National Gallery in London
Chris Ofili
The Caged Bird's Song, 2014 - 2017 (detail)
Chris Ofili
The Caged Bird's Song, 2014 - 2017 (detail)

April 26 - August 28

Weaving Magic presents an exquisite handwoven tapestry entitled The Caged Bird's Song. The work reflects Chris Ofili's interest in classical mythology and contemporary "demigods" as well as the stories, magic, and colors of Trinidad, where he has lived since 2005. Commissioned by the historic British Clothworkers' Company, the tapestry was made in collaboration with Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Edinburgh. The exhibition will also include a series of preparatory works on paper in an installation conceived by the artist for the Gallery's Sunley Room. Following the exhibition, the tapestry will go on permanent display in the Clothworkers' Hall in London.

Ofili says, "The Caged Bird's Song is a marriage of watercolour and weaving. I set out to challenge the weaving process, by doing something free-flowing in making a watercolour, encouraging the liquid pigment to form the image, a contrast to the weaving process." The Telegraph's review of the exhibition states, "The Caged Bird’s Song is a sumptuous monumental tapestry in which Ofili's painterly skills have been almost miraculously translated into thread to present a lush, limpid scene in which the arcadian landscapes of classical mythology are given a contemporary, tropical twist."

Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, Ofili's previous exhibition at the National Gallery, presented costume and set designs created in collaboration with the Royal Ballet. The project was based on Titian masterpieces depicting stories from Ovid's epic poem Metamorphoses: Diana and Actaeon, The Death of Actaeon, and Diana and Callisto.

Read more about Weaving Magic in The Guardian and The Observer.

Chris Ofili: Night and Day
2014
The artist's first major museum survey in the United States met with critical acclaim
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)
Chris Ofili
Installation view of Night and Day at the New Museum in New York (2014)

Chris Ofili's first major museum survey in the United States was organized by the New Museum in New York. "For more than two decades," Roberta Smith wrote in her review for The New York Times, "the work of this British artist has dazzled and discomfited, seduced and unsettled, gliding effortlessly between high and low, among cultures, ricocheting off different racial stereotypes and religious beliefs."

The exhibition featured paintings, drawings, and sculptures created in London and, following Ofili's relocation in 2005, in Trinidad. The paintings Ofili made soon after moving to Trinidad are executed in a rich palette of blues. As the artist explained to Calvin Tomkins in a New Yorker profile: "I realized it was more than a color...I had found that if you put silver underneath blue, the blue sits back, like night, or glows like moonlight." These works mark the transition, in Ofili's own words, to "a process of looking that was slower" and account in part for the nocturnal element of the exhibition's title. "That Ofili could cast painting into such a powerful somnambulant fugue state after doing what he'd done so vibrantly for ten years," Jerry Saltz wrote in New York Magazine, "is a testament to his talent and control."

Night and Day also included recent paintings featuring vibrant characters, elements of landscape, and mythical references. Writing in The Village Voice, Christian Viveros-Faune was reminded of art historical precedents, and concluded that these works by Ofili mark the latest stage "in the development of a painter who, as this retrospective amply demonstrates, became a modern master."

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with texts by Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon, Minna Moore Ede, Alicia Ritson, Matthew Ryder, Robert Storr, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Night and Day traveled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in 2015.