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Where's the frame

Maribelle Bierens

November 10, 2023 5:46 PM


“There lies beneath a profound emptiness, inherent nothingness, a boundless vacuum if all preconceived notions about the natural meaning of a word are stripped back. To make sense of the world, avoid waiting to be filled with the interpretations, associations, and emotions we ascribe to language.” ‍

Opening tonight at Night Café,  ‘A Gain’, a solo exhibition by Unyimeabasi Udoh. Bringing together sculpture, installation, drawings and prints, the works in the exhibition are rooted in existentialism, employing dissonance between form and content, playing with how much absurdity is involved in the construction of meaning. In ‘A Gain,’ Udoh explores the complex relationship between language, meaning, and artistic expression by challenging conventional perceptions. 

The exhibition will present a new work, ‘Untitled’ (Correspondence), which is part of an ongoing series of handmade party garlands using unexpected phrases instead of the usual “happy birthday”. In this case, the garland reads “as above”. In a humorous way, Udoh shows how even a slight deviation in content unravels the process of meaning construction. 

Unyimeabasi Udoh, Double Vision, 2023. Lead crystal balls, black volcanic sand

They similarly defies expectations in ‘O Clock’, in which they have modified an analogue clock by removing the hour and minute hands and painting over all of the digits except for the 0. Adjusting normal objects to something slightly different shows the viewer that what is taken for granted is not guaranteed. 

Unyimeabasi Udoh, Reflex, 2022–23. Silkscreen print on Somerset Black paper. 112 x 76 cm.

In ‘Double Vision’, which is also part of an ongoing body of work, the artist has created a sand installation with black volcanic sand and lead crystal balls. It’s a direct exploration of absurdity, offering viewers a literal pile of sand. Udoh invites us to question the significance we attach to artistic materials and their interpretation.

Unyimeabasi Udoh, detail Double Vision, 2023. Lead crystal balls, black volcanic sand. Dimensions variable. 

In ‘A Gain’, using absurdity as a tool, Udoh demonstrates that with only a slight divergence, the presumed conventional framework of meaning collapses to unveil an expansive void beneath. You can visit ‘A Gain’ at Night Café until the 9th of December. 

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