One Off is hosting two exhibitions from Saturday, 29 August - 20 September 2020 - "Michael Musyoka" and "Latest Works I"
Michael Musyoka Exhibition
One Off is pleased to present
'Time and Other Constructs II'
if you would enjoy being in the presence of the art and the artist,
we would welcome appointments for gallery visits
on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 August.
Call or SMS +254 722 521870 to reserve your slot.
Please note that masks are mandatory around the gallery.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am - 4pm
Saturday, 29 August - 20 September 2020
About the exhibition
I have yet to discover how Time is of any essence in this rich and fascinating exhibition but there is a whole goldmine to be panned under the label 'Other Constructs'.
Yes, there's lots of pain and it's expression here manifests as physical pain. That surely is a metaphor for it's more abstruse psychological namesake. Corpulent figures in acts of supplication, penitence and surrender, silently screaming in the hurt, resentment and humiliation of psychological pain. Encapsulated bodies cast aloft, indirigible in the swirling turbulence of existence.
In righteous outrage we may demand to know the agency of such cruelty. But we are not told. The aggressor is anonymous, remote or absent altogether, except in two pieces where an appearance is made: Vice I and Vice II and it turns out that both are the exceptions that may prove the rule.
In Vice I, we see the victim kneeling on the ground with the hangman's noose dangling loosely around the neck. Holding the other end of the slackened rope is the oppressor, surprisingly looking on with a compassion and concern that might be found in the demeanor of the Carer for the Ward. In Vice II, the relationship appears more as you might expect with an imperious oppressor manhandling the victim. But we are told by the artist that, in both cases, the figures are alteregos. That is indeed revelatory: the victim is the aggressor and the aggressor is the victim.
Self victimisation is not uncommon. It can be a tool to solicit and manipulate the sympathies of others; a racket to project blame externally or, when redirected inwardly, through the confluence of complex psychological processes, it may result in a disposition of deliberate psychological self harming which in turn renders victims complicit in their own manipulation by opportunistic actors, social, institutional or individual. The absence of the aggressor would suggest that this is not a blame game.
There is another fascinating theme running throughout the exhibition: the corpulence. Quizzed, the artist responds that he is merely creating the figures in his own image. But he is not obese and even if he were on the hefty side he would not appear as the Michelin Man at full inflation. It's like they're wearing spacesuits: the figure within is protected and sustained in his own special environment, insulated completely form the world around. Alas, still the pain penetrates.
There is a danger in analysing everything in Covid terms but there is also a justification for interpreting art in the context of it's time. Bubbles: Covid argot for the containment of contamination inside prescribed zones. That's what they look like: Bubbles; wholebody masks worn either to protect yourself from the contamination of others or to protect others form the contamination of yourself, depending on which side of the victim equation you find yourself.
This truly is a rich show and, for those endowed with the twin virtues of intellect and goodtaste, it cannot come more highly recommended.
About the artist
Michael Musyoka was born in 1986 and raised in Nairobi. He grew to appreciate graffiti on commuter buses and walls of business premises around his neighborhood. This laid the ground work for his approach to figurative compositions before enrolling at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts in 2009. The skills acquired would later in life secure him jobs as an illustrator in publishing companies and advertising agencies in Nairobi.
In 2013 he founded Brush Tu Art Studio, an artist collective in Nairobi, alongside two other artists who he would collaborate with on various artistic projects including mural painting and mentoring younger artists. This also marked his entry into professional practice which has seen him exhibiting widely locally and abroad.
He was awarded 2nd prize in the professional artist category of Manjano Art Competition in 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Michael lives and works in Nairobi.
2009-2012 - Diploma in Art and Design, (Drawing and Painting Major) - Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts, Nairobi, Kenya
Selected workshops and Residencies attended
Dec - Tafaria Artist Residency - Nyandarua, Kenya
Dec - Non-Toxic Aquatint and etching workshop - Nairobi, Kenya
May - Wood-cut Print making - Nairobi, Kenya
March - Intaglio Print making - Nairobi, Kenya
April - Poster For Tomorrow: Draw Me Democracy - Nairobi, Kenya
Selected Exhibitions and Art Fairs
Jan - Noma, An XR experience (Group) - Goethe Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Oct - Objects, Space, Movement and Facades (Group) - One-Off Contemporary Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
March - Time And Other Constructs (Solo) – Redhill Art Gallery, Nairobi
Nov - Art X (Group), Lagos, Nigeria
April - Yearning (Duo) – The Attic Art Space, Nairobi, Kenya
April - World Art Dubai (Group) – Create Hub Gallery, Dubai, UAE
Aug - The Untitled (Group) - Polka Dot Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
June - The Young Guns (Group) - Circle Art Agency, Nairobi, Kenya
May - Young Talents exhibition (Group) - Global Arts Gallery, Dronninglund, Denmark
Mar - This For That (Duo) - The Art Space, Nairobi, Kenya
Nov - The Kenya Art Fair (Group) - The Sarit Center, Nairobi, Kenya
Mar - Manjano Exhibition (Group) - The Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya
Sept - Finding Voice 3 (Trio) - The Little Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
Aug - Finding Voice 2 (Trio) - The Little Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
May - Finding Voice 1 (Duo) - The Little Art Gallery, Nairobi, Kenya
1st Runner up at the Manjano Nairobi County Visual Arts Competition - The Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya
Preview of Works
Click thumbnail to enlarge and scroll through all images
Credit: James Muriuki, photos of artworks
Exhibition openings are usually on the last Saturday of every month, excluding December.
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