A chance to see Toyin Ojih Odutola’s first-ever exhibition in Scandinavia and explore the fascinating world of her imagination.
Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985 in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, lives and works in New York, USA) is a gifted storyteller, whose work explores the realm of what, in literature, is referred to as speculative fiction. She conjures a vivid cast of characters and environments, inviting us into an uncannily familiar yet fantastical world. A Countervailing Theory will present around 40 brand new works executed in pastel, charcoal and chalk, created specifically for this exhibition.
Each of Ojih Odutola’s drawings acts as an episode within the larger, epic narrative of an imagined myth, conceived by the artist. Together these works reveal the story of a fictional ancient civilisation in central Nigeria dominated by female rulers, challenging preconceived notions of history, culture, gender, sexuality, race, the natural environment and more. Gathering from an eclectic range of references, from ancient history to popular culture, Ojih Odutola encourages the viewer to piece together the fragments of the stories she presents. The series of drawings will be presented in an installation specially conceived for Kunsten’s New Gallery, accompanied by an immersive soundscape by conceptual sound artist Peter Adjaye.
Ojih Odutola approaches the process of drawing as an investigative practice through which to explore an intense engagement with mark-making and its potential for meaning. Her works are meticulously executed and monumental in scale, subverting the grand tradition of portraiture by deftly elevating the medium of drawing while retaining a remarkable intimacy.
This exhibition by Toyin Ojih Odutola was originally commissioned by the Barbican, London, with support from Jack Shainman Gallery and using public funding from Arts Council England. After its display at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark, the exhibition will be displayed at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC, USA. It is the first museum exhibition of the artist’s work in Scandinavia.
Photo: A Parting Gift; Hers and Hers Only (2019) A Countervailing Theory © Toyin Ojih Odutola