09.09.2023 – 07.01.2024
IMA-ABASI OKON's exhibitions Avg Pace: S %~E ~L%~A%~ H%~s%~peri£meno£pau£sal~P%~S%~A %~L ~M%~’S km —(t!h!a!t-yes- t!!hhat incumbent experiential plane to reorganise a c,a,p,a,c,i,t,y of never having enough— Not as a whole but as aprecise h!e!a!p of digni-fide agility) and S.t.a.n.d.a.r.d. P.r.a.c.t.i.c.e. at the Kunstverein in Hamburg will expand the grammatic and syntactic structure of the artist’s working methodology which includes sculptural work with video and sound that engages the Kunstverein with a large scale commission and number of new works.
The ground floor gallery of the Kunstverein will see Okon initiate an ongoing inquiry, S.t.a.n.d.a.r.d. P.r.a.c.t.i.c.e., into the relationship between licensing and authorship. Aligned with questions about artistic essence and its distribution within the larger framework of cultural production, Ima-Abasi Okon has commissioned an essay, available in the gallery, and invited four artists to license installation views depicting their work. Here, Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, Anthea Hamilton, Dominique White, and Riet Wijnen have co-developed license agreements with Ima-Abasi Okon for S.t.a.n.d.a.r.d. P.r.a.c.t.i.c.e. in which the act of exhibiting, as both a bond and a set of conditions between the artists and organisers is made visible by displaying the contracts that bring the work into the Kunstverein. In addition, S.t.a.n.d.a.r.d. P.r.a.c.t.i.c.e. contains two publications by stanley brouwn, in which the meaning of objects changed through linguistic propositions, from his 2005 Exhibition at the Van Abbe Museum, loaned by the Museum to Ima-Abasi Okon.
In Avg Pace: S %~E ~L%~A%~ H%~s%~peri£meno£pau£sal~P%~S%~A
%~L ~M%~’S km —(t!h!a!t-yes-t!!hhat incumbent experiential plane to reorganise a c,a,p,a,c,I,t,y of never having enough— Not as a whole but as aprecise h!e!a!p of digni-fide agility) a new commissions figures centrally. Three wrought iron balconies, produced for the space sit installed against the 40m long, west-facing clerestory in the Kunstverein’s upstairs gallery. The installation juxtaposes classic "belly bars", elegantly curved iron rods, with footage from Los Angeles that depicts calmly bristling palm trees, presented on four large, BrightSign-linked monitors. The palms reach upward, beyond the ornate metal frame, forming a horizon for the Kunstverein's building which looks towards Speicherstadt, the City of Hamburg's historic warehouse complex which stored coffee and cacao beans. Together, balconies and palm trees produce a series of possible interpretations that question the language of safety and its opposite, violence, in dialogue with the history of the palm tree’s arrival in the United States and within European industrialisation. The screens are synced to two hand- built Leslie speakers which play a looped track in the middle of the Kunstverein’s gallery. The speaker’s cabinet contributes to a unique tone affected by the resonance of the wood. Typically built from plywood, the speakers for the Kunstverein are made from decorative hardwood, selected by Ima-Abasi Okon, which crack and bend to accommodate the sound.
By bringing together new and recent works, the balconies sit within the larger body of an exhibition at the Kunstverein that defines self-actualising as a simultaneous type of ingestion and movement toward a horizon. Here Ima-Abasi Okon’s work destabilises the relationship between linguistic, symbolic, and material orders of power and what it means to inhabit their domain by introducing new coordinates that challenge culturally defined hegemonies.
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