Chris Ofili: Black Shunga

Chris Ofili: Black Shunga

Two Palms, New York currently presents Black Shunga, an exhibition of etchings by British-Nigerian artist Chris Ofili.

The exhibition features a suite of eleven erotic line etchings printed on specially prepared paper with a dark blue colour-shifting metallic surface. It gets its title from the Japanese word for erotic art shunga, a style that peaked in the Edo period (1603-1867) and was produced using the ukiyo-e woodblock tradition. It had been initially suppressed by the Japanese government for its explicit sexual nature, however, the production and collecting of shunga prints thrived in the underground marketplace. On taking a closer look, fine lines emerge from the darkness, depicting two figures engaged in dreamlike fantasies of sexual activity and artistic creativity. Impossible to photograph accurately, the prints demand active and concentrated looking.

Born in 1968 in Manchester England, Chris Ofili received his B.F.A. from the Chelsea School of Art, London in 1991 and his M.F.A. from the Royal College of Art, London in 1993. He joined David Zwirner in 2015, where he presented two solo exhibitions at the gallery in New York. Ofili creates intricate, kaleidoscopic paintings and works on paper that deftly merge abstraction and figuration. During the 1990s, he rose to prominence for his complex and playful multi-layered paintings, which he bedecked with a signature blend of resin, glitter, collage, and, often, elephant dung.

Since 2005, Ofili has been working in Trinidad and Tobago, where he currently resides in Port of Spain. He also lives and works in London and Brooklyn. He is one of the most celebrated artists of the British generation.

The collection is on view at Two Palms, 38 Crosby Street, 3rd floor, New York.

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