In this live event, New Contemporaries 2021 artists who work with performance respond to and animate their exhibited works.
Performances by Mataio Austin Dean, Femi Dawkins, Sandra Poulson and Rafał Zajko explore identity, oral tradition and alternate futures.
Mataio Austin Dean uses intaglio printmaking to create images and symbols that explore England’s and Guyana’s darkly intertwined histories, throwing light upon moments of resistance as well as unearthing stories of coloniality and rebellion embedded in English landscape and architecture. Austin Dean’s practice is research-driven, exploring Marxism as a framework for emancipatory praxis. English and Guyanese oral cultures are at the heart of the work. Reimagining, writing and performing folksong and poetry breathes life into the printed landscape, making the past tangible while presenting liberating modes with which to confront the present.
Femi Dawkin’s practice focuses on fractured narratives, voicing the unspoken, exposing untruths. Journeying through in-between worlds, his art uproots culturally imposed notions of identity-making, proposing new pathways to evolve from limiting codes. Femi’s poignant metaphors are alchemised within a creative process that like an open-ended loop flows back and forth, shaped through drawing, collaging, object-making, installation, music, performance and writing. Femi is also part of the Black Gold Collective (BGC), which seeks to upend the word Black and its associated meanings in order to break out of the black-white binary and move beyond prescribed identities. BGC’s art practices are informed by and inclusive of every lived experience of othering.
Sandra Poulson’s practice discusses the political, cultural and socio- economic landscape of Angola as a case study to analyse the relationship between history, oral tradition and global political structures. Her practice draws on family and inherited societal memory from colonial Angola and the civil war to dismantle contemporary Angola through semiotic readings of ordinary objects, such as household items, as actors in ongoing political and cultural transformations. This process inherently draws on ideas of decoloniality. Poulson’s work recurrently revisits the body as a liminal space for discussion, operating in an interdisciplinary way through large-scale wood installation, garment making, photography, printmaking, performance, video and writing.
Rafał Zajko is an artist working with a variety of media, including sculpture, video, performance, textile and costume. His work does not critique the past, but instead seeks to reinterpret it, excavating history to reimagine it in an alternate future. Recent works have explored ventilation systems, prosthetics, Polish folklore, science-fiction, the biography of wheat and queer technoscience. Zajko grew up in the Polish Region of Podlachia, surrounded by daily rituals interlinked with systems of agricultural production. Amber Chamber II (Resurgence) (2021) references brutalist monuments, ancient sarcophagi and sterile cryogenic freezing chambers. The work’s bright totemic structure embodies the harvest as both an economic and spiritual event.
For your safety and the safety of others, we ask that you wear a face covering unless exempt.
NC Live is programmed by New Contemporaries in collaboration with South London Gallery, and is supported by the New Contemporaries Bridget Riley Artists’ Development Programme
South London Gallery
65–67 Peckham Road