Benji Reid: Laugh at Gravity

Benji Reid: Laugh at Gravity - Omenka Online

Running from 3 September to 8 October 2021 is Laugh at Gravity by Benji Reid, the artist’s first solo exhibition at October Gallery. This highly anticipated exhibition follows the artist’s showcase at the 2019 edition of AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Paris and the 2020 edition of Investec Cape Town Art Fair where his work enthralled audiences.

Reid considers himself a Choreo-Photolist; a term he coined to encapsulate his unique practice where choreography, photography and theatricality meet in a single or series of images. His breathtaking photographs, composed primarily of self-portraits in incredible, anti-gravitational poses using a medley of props, draw the audience into a different dimension. In the hyper-realities, he presents, the subject is illuminated by acts of the artist’s imagination. Whether exploring life as an outsider, failed familial relationships, suicide, issues surrounding mental health or the complexities of fatherhood, Reid invites the audience into the discussion to be part of the process. Each perfectly poised portrait, set against vividly suggestive backdrops and adorned with fantastical objects, still suggests the recognisable world we all inhabit. Yet familiar objects like a paddle, a sparkler or a stool somehow transform to transport the viewer into an alternative reality, which while offering protection suggests undreamt-of possibilities for real liberation.

Benji Reid’s vision as a performer and creative director has made him an award-winning and senior contributor to the Black physical theatre canon over the last 30 years, having produced and performed over 30 works for international cultural institutions led by The National Theatre, Birmingham Rep, PS122 (New York) and Sydney Opera House.

Merging his performance success with photography, Reid began producing images in 2012. His work was exhibited as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now at Somerset House in June 2019. His works have also been shown in MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts), New York, as part of the 2019 exhibition Styles of ResistanceFrom the Corner to the Catwalk. Reid’s first solo show A Thousand Words was exhibited at Contact Theatre, Manchester in 2016.

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