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Figure This

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6
Date: 
Thursday, 12 October 2023 to Saturday, 4 November 2023

Kravitz Contemporary is pleased to present Figure This, a two-part project in close collaboration with UK-based patrons of the arts, the Kowitz Family, and the Noldor Art Residency in Ghana. Featuring six international artists from underrepresented backgrounds, the project serves as a testament to Kravitz Contemporary’s core ethos, diversifying the London-centric arts scene and truly championing individual and cultural expression through art.

Born of a mutual interest to serve, support and platform emerging artists from under-represented backgrounds, the project comprises a residency for non-Western artists with a unique cross section of Eastern European and Western African collaboration at Bridge Point Studios, Rye, and culminates in an exhibition of work produced at Kravitz Contemporary, opening in the week of Frieze 2023. Jointly selected by the Kowitz Family and Kravitz Contemporary, the six awarded artists partaking in the residency are each informed and indebted to the tradition of figurative painting but also visibly fraternise with its subversion.

 

Annan Affotey

THE SIX ARTISTS

Annan Affotey is a Ghanaian artist navigating black identity through portraiture. His paintings focus on individuals of colour from his personal life or strangers he meets through social media. Each portrait highlights the nuances of facial expression and examines what goes beyond the surface level. Affotey works to bring everyday experiences into intensely colourful, textured and expressive compositions, utilising modelling paste over pencil sketches which create his signature waves and ridges before finally applying paint. Affotey is deeply influenced by the presence of strong women during his childhood and the diversity of having lived in Ghana, Europe and the United States. He has exhibited internationally including his solo show at De Buck Gallery, New York earlier this year.

 

Nahom Teklehaimanot

 

 

Julia Kowalska

As a believer in artistic freedom which revolves around the axis of society, culture, and politics, Nahom Teklehaimanot’s works are an attempt to provide a voice to the unheard. He explores diverse genres of paintings with inspiration from his surroundings. Born in Addis Ababa, the self-taught artist was heavily influenced by the basic creativity of children’s songs and lullabies. Spending part of his formative years in Eritrea also impacted his artistry. His art has led him to solo, and group shows with notable galleries within and beyond Africa including a group show with Chilli Art Project (England), Circle Art Gallery (Kenya) and Lela Gallery (Ethiopia).

 

Julia Kowalska is a visual artist based in Warsaw. Her work references human relationships, in which the artist seeks moments lined with ambiguity and explores the ambivalent nature of communing with the body. The enigmatic and ephemeral character of dream perception embeds the artist’s work in a sense of repetitive disorientation, while the ambivalent gestures and expression of the depicted figures sensually narrate the complexity of mutual relationships based on emotional dependencies and divergent affections.

Jakub Czyż graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Today, he resides in Warsaw. While best known for his evocative drawings, he is a multi-disciplinary artist working often with sound installation & performance. At the heart of Jakub's artistic exploration lies a deep contemplation of the human condition and an insightful inquiry into the theory of societal collapse.

Through his works, he seeks to capture the essence of our era, presenting images that resonate with the fragmented realities we face today. Czyz’s pieces often evoke contemporary anxieties, reflecting them through brutal and grotesque portrayals. In doing so, he offers a poignant commentary on the challenges and complexities of modern life.

 

Aniela Preston

Aniela Preston graduated from her Fine Art BA at the University of Leeds after completing her Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins. Her paintings blend the contemporary with the classical in a hyper-realist style, offering both quiet glimpses into intimate moments, and gesturing towards wider societal, political and environmental issues. Her paintings therefore not only provide societal critique but draw on the concept of traditional formality that mythologizes the mundane. She experiments predominantly with colour palettes, which she selects to add to the ambivalence of the scenes they portray. Painting predominantly in acrylic, she hopes her paintings are not just aesthetic objects, but rather invitations to engage upon the impact with which our individual actions have upon the natural world.

Bulgarian-born, London-based painter and draughtsman Preslav Kostov’s work engages with the intricacies of identity and the immigrant experience. Employing the technique of automatism, Kostov’s paintings emerge from a cumulative process of self-questioning. Kostov's imposing compositions dialogue with the form and palette of the old master painters, presenting imagined scenes of discovered narratives situated within a liminal realm. His works speak to the enduring reality of human experience while rejecting association with any particular moment in time. Presenting anonymous ghost-like figures unconnected to any singular narrative or experience, his subjects inhabit a realm untethered from worldly possessions or cultural signifiers. The tangled forms, with their alluring asymmetry, evoke a melancholic isolation inviting the viewer to contemplate the complexities of the human condition.

The body takes a central role in the oeuvres of the residency artists, the presence of the figure in the resulting works provide us with a nuanced exploration of the artists' lived and cultural experiences, lending renewed meaning to the notion of selfhood. Romantic and ruinous, the human figure is marred by its conscription to a canon that, in its repetition of sameness, has failed to recognise and celebrate difference. Offering a small gesture of correction to this, both the residency and exhibition seek to provide myriad perspectives on the representation of the human form, the mortal flesh that weds us to our sense of worldly belonging.

Kravitz Contemporary is pleased to present Figure This, a two-part project in close collaboration with UK-based patrons of the arts, the Kowitz Family, and the Noldor Art Residency in Ghana. Featuring six international artists from underrepresented backgrounds, the project serves as a testament to Kravitz Contemporary’s core ethos, diversifying the London-centric arts scene and truly championing individual and cultural expression through art.

Born of a mutual interest to serve, support and platform emerging artists from under-represented backgrounds, the project comprises a residency for non-Western artists with a unique cross section of Eastern European and Western African collaboration at Bridge Point Studios, Rye, and culminates in an exhibition of work produced at Kravitz Contemporary, opening in the week of Frieze 2023. Jointly selected by the Kowitz Family and Kravitz Contemporary, the six awarded artists partaking in the residency are each informed and indebted to the tradition of figurative painting but also visibly fraternise with its subversion.

 

Annan Affotey

THE SIX ARTISTS

Annan Affotey is a Ghanaian artist navigating black identity through portraiture. His paintings focus on individuals of colour from his personal life or strangers he meets through social media. Each portrait highlights the nuances of facial expression and examines what goes beyond the surface level. Affotey works to bring everyday experiences into intensely colourful, textured and expressive compositions, utilising modelling paste over pencil sketches which create his signature waves and ridges before finally applying paint. Affotey is deeply influenced by the presence of strong women during his childhood and the diversity of having lived in Ghana, Europe and the United States. He has exhibited internationally including his solo show at De Buck Gallery, New York earlier this year.

 

Nahom Teklehaimanot

 

 

Julia Kowalska

As a believer in artistic freedom which revolves around the axis of society, culture, and politics, Nahom Teklehaimanot’s works are an attempt to provide a voice to the unheard. He explores diverse genres of paintings with inspiration from his surroundings. Born in Addis Ababa, the self-taught artist was heavily influenced by the basic creativity of children’s songs and lullabies. Spending part of his formative years in Eritrea also impacted his artistry. His art has led him to solo, and group shows with notable galleries within and beyond Africa including a group show with Chilli Art Project (England), Circle Art Gallery (Kenya) and Lela Gallery (Ethiopia).

 

Julia Kowalska is a visual artist based in Warsaw. Her work references human relationships, in which the artist seeks moments lined with ambiguity and explores the ambivalent nature of communing with the body. The enigmatic and ephemeral character of dream perception embeds the artist’s work in a sense of repetitive disorientation, while the ambivalent gestures and expression of the depicted figures sensually narrate the complexity of mutual relationships based on emotional dependencies and divergent affections.

Jakub Czyż graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. Today, he resides in Warsaw. While best known for his evocative drawings, he is a multi-disciplinary artist working often with sound installation & performance. At the heart of Jakub's artistic exploration lies a deep contemplation of the human condition and an insightful inquiry into the theory of societal collapse.

Through his works, he seeks to capture the essence of our era, presenting images that resonate with the fragmented realities we face today. Czyz’s pieces often evoke contemporary anxieties, reflecting them through brutal and grotesque portrayals. In doing so, he offers a poignant commentary on the challenges and complexities of modern life.

 

Aniela Preston

Aniela Preston graduated from her Fine Art BA at the University of Leeds after completing her Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins. Her paintings blend the contemporary with the classical in a hyper-realist style, offering both quiet glimpses into intimate moments, and gesturing towards wider societal, political and environmental issues. Her paintings therefore not only provide societal critique but draw on the concept of traditional formality that mythologizes the mundane. She experiments predominantly with colour palettes, which she selects to add to the ambivalence of the scenes they portray. Painting predominantly in acrylic, she hopes her paintings are not just aesthetic objects, but rather invitations to engage upon the impact with which our individual actions have upon the natural world.

Bulgarian-born, London-based painter and draughtsman Preslav Kostov’s work engages with the intricacies of identity and the immigrant experience. Employing the technique of automatism, Kostov’s paintings emerge from a cumulative process of self-questioning. Kostov's imposing compositions dialogue with the form and palette of the old master painters, presenting imagined scenes of discovered narratives situated within a liminal realm. His works speak to the enduring reality of human experience while rejecting association with any particular moment in time. Presenting anonymous ghost-like figures unconnected to any singular narrative or experience, his subjects inhabit a realm untethered from worldly possessions or cultural signifiers. The tangled forms, with their alluring asymmetry, evoke a melancholic isolation inviting the viewer to contemplate the complexities of the human condition.

The body takes a central role in the oeuvres of the residency artists, the presence of the figure in the resulting works provide us with a nuanced exploration of the artists' lived and cultural experiences, lending renewed meaning to the notion of selfhood. Romantic and ruinous, the human figure is marred by its conscription to a canon that, in its repetition of sameness, has failed to recognise and celebrate difference. Offering a small gesture of correction to this, both the residency and exhibition seek to provide myriad perspectives on the representation of the human form, the mortal flesh that weds us to our sense of worldly belonging.

Venue ( Address ): 

17 Soho Square, London, W1D 3QJ

Lisa Baker Ltd , London

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