Exhibition III – Launches Feb 1 3PM.
1 Feb – 2 May, 2021
Delving into the dynamics of our everyday, AORA:III explores the continuous umbra of each person’s quotidian: ourselves, our vessels, the physicality we inhabit as well as our layers of accompanying thought. AORA:III addresses ‘bodies’. Expansive rather than formulaic, the exhibition brings together sculpture, painting, installation and photography by artists across the world reflecting on not only our physical properties but also the spaces we inhabit and our individual psychologies.
AORA:III includes the work of Oren Pinhassi (b.1985 Israel, lives in New York), Adeline de Monseignat (b.1987, Monaco, lives in London and Mexico City), Princess Pea (India), Amba Sayal-Bennett (b.1991, United Kingdom), Katy Moran (b. 1975, UK), Jinyong Park (b. 1990, Korea), Beatrice Hasell-McCosh (b. 1990, United Kingdom), Sam Nhlengethwa (b. 1955, South Africa), Margaux Dehry (b. 1985, France), Yifan Jiang (b. 1994, China), Emanuel Carvalho (b.1984, Portuguese-Canadian, lives in London) and Ashley Taraban (b. 1984, American), Henry Hussey (b. 1990, United Kingdom), Jane Bustin (b. 1964, United Kingdom), Shayna Miller (b. 1997, United States), Stephanie Burt (b. 1988, Singapore), Faisal Habibi (b. 1984, Indonesia), Jane and Louise Wilson (b. 1967, United Kingdom), and Jabulani Dhlamini (b.1983, South Africa).
Spanning three spaces, AORA:III brings together visual artists and composers in each room. A highlight of AORA:III is the display of the Finalists of AORA’s inaugural Open Call – Sculpture, bringing focus to the work of Oren Pinhassi, Adeline de Monseignat, Princess Pea and Amba Sayal-Bennett. Selected by an international jury comprising Dr. Helen Pheby (Yorkshire Sculpture Park), Shrey Sethi (Curator Mag), Ying Tan (Artfund), Christina J. Chua (Metis Art Education and so-far), and AORA co-founders Benni Allan & Jenn Ellis, the artists explore creation in the virtual space, touching on subjects such as individual architectures, societal structures, the governance of tactility and materiality.
A soft clear light streams through The Hall, a monolithic, cathedral-esque modernist room, expansive in minimalist scope. Emma-Kate Matthews’ composition ‘Brightly Coloured Pencils’ (2020) echoes through the walls, tracing the carefully distanced sculptures by Oren Pinhassi. Part of his body of work ‘The Crowd’, each work populates The Hall in its ambiguous hybridity. The works address the systems we’ve created, such as language, that may enable but also hinder primordial connection as beings. Exploring the pluralism of connectivity, Katy Moran, Jinyong Park and Beatrice Hasell-McCosh, through canvases of varying abstraction, encourage contemplation of nuanced layers of thought. Delving into the possibilities of reality, Sam Nhlengethwa, Margaux Dehry and Yifan Jiang expand on the spectrum between actual domesticity and fantastical marvel, while Emanuel Carvalho, Ashley Taraban and Henry Hussey address the possibilities of individual physicality: beyond labels, perception and assignations. Collectively, The Hall contemplates what brings us together, from the systems we put in place, our communal internal narratives, to our places and categorisations – or lack of.
Moving through The Hall to The Place is a narrowed passageway lit by two streams of clear skylight, casting a focus on the sculptural works by Princess Pea. Inspired by manifestations of womanhood in the artist’s personal and professional life, ‘The Pool of Infinity’ communicates the significance of building a sense of community that traverses time. Making our way through to The Place, ‘Machine Disappearing’ (2020) by Emma-Kate Matthews chimes across the circular domed area of the hall. At the heart, in the midst of a slightly undulating pool of celadon water, is ‘Centra’ (2020) by Amba Sayal-Bennet that addresses mechanised thought and the conjunction between human and non-human material parts. Expanding on notions of corporeality, in individual alcoves, are the works of Jane Bustin, Shayna Miller, Stephanie Burt and Faisal Habibi. Referencing the body – movement, traces of touch – Bustin’s structures carry a delicate sentimentality. This sense of corporal attunement is carried over to Habibi’s sculptural installations – their layered materials, fleshy undertones – that explore the balance between object and self. Through their paintings, Burt and Miller respectively reference organisms, from the essence of femininity over to anthropomorphic beings. Ultimately, the works bring the question back to what composes us and that around us.
Entering The Path, delicate light flows through slits while the composition ‘Wooden’ by Shane Aspergen ripples through the open longitudinal space. The new sculptural creation ‘Handle’ (2020) by Adeline de Monseignat, composed of six curved bars of velveteen texture, explores the facets of tactility – how our relationship has changed to it in light of the pandemic, movement via public transport, our shifted activation of the senses and engagement with others. Evoking a mnemonic sense of exploration, travel and discovery are the photographic works of Jane and Louise Wilson and Jabulani Dhlamini. Placed along The Path, the Wilsons’ photographic collages offer a sense of mysticism, folklore, and gather imagery from their most recent research trips to South Korea and Japan. Theatrical, atmospheric, transportative, their dreamlike resonance compares to the documentary-style photography of Dhalmini, who captures the stories that comprise collective memory in post-apartheid South Africa. Through his nuanced lens, Dhalmini champions lived experience over inherited memory. Ultimately, all three artists prompt us to reflect on what we carry with us, our individuals thoughts, feelings and remembrances.
AORA:III offers a tone of contemplation, emanating from our individual experiences, calling for an encounter with our physical selves, from our flesh to our spaces, our systems to our memories. It draws us to the planes we exist on, and reminds us of what binds us, as beings.