Curated by Sonja Teszler
The fifth edition of Chamber Music at the independent music venue UNIT 31 brings together the works of Cedric Christie and emerging artist Jerome Ince-Mitchell. Curated by Sonja Teszler, The Absolute Now responds to themes within the atmospheric Sextet No. 2 in G Major by German composer Johannes Brahms, performed by the musicians of the UNIT 31 community.
One of the best known composers of the Romantic period, Brahms was an ardent believer in "absolute music”. His compositions explore the essence and harmony of the music, letting it expand in its entirety, rather than following an explicit narrative or representation. In dialogue with this concept, the exhibition seeks to speak primarily to form and colour within the traditions of abstract painting and modern sculpture through the practices of contemporary artists.
Ince-Mitchell’s large-scale Action Black paintings bring a dimension of tactility to visual abstraction through applying an additional layer of glossy, black acrylic to his bright yellow and red bases, spreading across the canvas in a deliberately messy, highly bodily and seductive manner. The visible rips, wrinkles and movement of the thick black paint channel the dynamism and temporality of the physical making of the work and its environment, or which Ince-Mitchell refers to as the “lived experience of the Black”, into the Now and the space of the gallery.
Christie’s sculptures play with references from both Dadaism and Minimalism, working with ready-mades and materials found on the streets of London, such as snooker balls and scaffolding, as an ironic take on the ambiguous nature of authorship and the fetishized art object, while maintaining a focus on Form through meticulous craft, sensuous carving and a smooth, glossy finish.
In the way the bodies, instruments and emotions of the musicians revive, re-interpret and re-contextualize Brahms’ piece within the exclusive spatial and temporal present, the practices of Ince-Mitchell and Christie also infuse robust art historical traditions with their own unique vocabularies, experiences and archives, making them live in the Now.
For both artists, the context of London where they were born and have been creating is incorporated into their work in an immediate and intimate way, revealing underlying narratives that stretch deeply and widely into their respective realities. Thus, much like Brahms’s Sextet No. 2 in G Major as performed within the context of UNIT 31 and “The Absolute Now”, their works suggest that even though something might appear to exist merely as a formal absolute, it is always embedded within the story and experience brought to it in its present.
Chamber Music #5 - The Absolute Now
Sunday 6 October, 7pm-Late
Brahms's Sextet No. 2 in G Major with a duo exhibition by Jerome Ince-Mitchell and Cedric Christie
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