Koop Projects is proud to present three African artists whose work is rarely seen in person in London. Encountering the artworks for the first time in a living space is an experience that is difficult to replicate with even the most sophisticated technology. Sensations are provoked: an impulse to squeeze the undulating surfaces of Samuel Nnorom’s bubble structure; to reach out and touch Georgina Maxim's textile sculptures; to feel the smooth surfaces of Patrick Tagoe-Turkson’s mosaics. Relentless, physically demanding processes are the starting point for the artworks presented here. Over and over and over, a needle has been pushed and pulled through fabric to form countless layers of thick, textured material. The soft surfaces of thousands of worn flip-flops are sliced into to reveal unexpected, fresh colours hiding beneath their faded rubber skins. Repetitive cutting, rolling and twisting to connect scraps of fabric and foam into long, looping links. With these meditative actions, our three artists give second life to mundane, discarded material. Meaning is communicated through the exploration of the tactile potential of unwanted materials and the melding of traditional with contemporary textile-based practices. A myriad of stories are contained in the fabric itself, the finished works speaking to our shared human experience and our geographical connection with the dualities of nature and man-made artificiality.
Georgina Maxim re-forms handed down clothing into abstract objects through the healing action of stitching. In Zimbabwe the practice of handing down is a ritually symbolic gesture in which the sacred energy of the garment is released by “pricking” with a needle. Maxim both plays with and respects these traditions whilst also breaking from them. The artworks highlight an acute tension between remembering and letting go. The ties to the functional are overt in the material used whilst their ties to past histories, real or imagined, remain in the poetic titles. This balance between the inside and outside, what is seen and what is clothed and protected, creates distinct animistic presences and forms.
Patrick Tagoe-Turkson collects debris from the beaches of Ghana, removing remnants of waste produced by commercial fishing and industrial production systems. Rituals of cleansing, sorting, cutting and mending transform the flip-flops into kaleidoscopic rubber paintings containing memories of the past and dreams of the future. They are a call back to the artist's heritage and traditional African weaving techniques and a universal message for the future of our planet.
Samuel Nnorom collects scraps of Ankara and African wax print fabrics, cast-off clothing and waste foam - twisting and sewing them into complex structures and bubbles. His otherworldly creations question socio-political structures and the human condition, engaging the viewer in a process of self-interrogation and critical thinking. He asks what truth and conspiracy connote in our daily lives spent wrapped in bubbles.