Chris Ofili

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About the Artist

In Chris Ofili’s work painterly and cultural elements – both sacred and profane, personal and political, from high art and popular culture – come together to play on ideas of beauty while carrying messages about black culture, history and exoticism. Ofili came to prominence in the early 1990s with richly orchestrated paintings combining rippling dots of paint, drifts of glitter, collaged images and elephant dung – varnished, often studded with map pins and applied to the picture surface as well as supporting the canvas – a combination of physical elevation and symbolic link to the earth. He won the Turner Prize in 1998 and over the past two decades has exhibited in many international institutions. In 2003 he was selected to represent Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale, where he presented his ambitious exhibition Within Reach. In 2010 Tate Britain presented an extensive survey of his work and in 2014, Night and Day, held at the New Museum, New York, featured more than thirty of Ofili’s major paintings, in addition to drawings and a selection of sculptures from across his career. The exhibition travelled to the Aspen Art Museum in Colorado in 2015.

  • In this The Long Read, first published in 2003, the eminent academic and writer Stuart Hall spent time with Chris Ofili as he prepared for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

     

    I have had the privilege of spending time with Chris Ofili in his studio, looking at the series of large paintings he is completing as the artist selected for the British pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale.  These first impressions were written not so much ‘about’ as ‘with’ the work.

     

    Chris Ofili is on the move. He is finishing the huge canvases which will be exhibited in his Within Reach show for the British pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale. As we move around his surprisingly dark studio  space (the windows were already covered by green and red cloths when he found it!), reflecting now on one, now on another of these spot-lit, vibrant and pulsating visionary scenes, one is made aware again how intense and protracted is the ‘work’ of painting for Ofili. Only he knows how many of these he has on the go at any one time – bringing them out one after another, working on them for a while, putting them away again to, as it were, coalesce – perhaps even fundamentally to change shape.

     

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  • Previous exhibitions at Victoria Miro

    24 February - 30 April 2021

    The Sky was Blue the Sea was Blue and the Boy was Blue

    An exhibition of work by 19 artists celebrating the colour blue, available online and on Vortic as part of The London Collective.

    Victoria Miro on Vortic
    10 May - 8 July 2017

    Chris Ofili: Poolside Magic

    Victoria Miro is pleased to announce the opening of a new gallery in Venice. The inaugural exhibition is Poolside Magic by Chris Ofili. T he exhibition comprises a suite of pastel, charcoal and watercolour works on paper, which are being...
    Victoria Miro Venice
    23 September - 5 November 2016

    Protest

    Doug Aitken, Jules de Balincourt, Vlassis Caniaris, Elmgreen & Dragset, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Christian Holstad, Isaac Julien, Yayoi Kusama, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Richard Prince, Sarah Sze, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kara Walker Historical and...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    13 October - 14 November 2015

    Forces in Nature

    Curated by Hilton Als
    A group exhibition curated by the celebrated US critic and author Hilton Als. The exhibition explores the idea of man in nature and includes works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Verne Dawson, Peter Doig, NS Harsha, Alice Neel, Chris Ofili, Celia...
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    6 October - 21 December 2012

    Chris Ofili

    to take and to give
    Over the past two years Ofili has worked on a substantial suite of paintings and works on paper inspired by Ovid's Metamorphoses as part of Metamorphosis: Titian 2012, a unique collaboration between the National Gallery and The Royal Opera House....
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    22 June - 30 July 2010

    In the Company of Alice

    Group Exhibition
    'If you do not solve your painting problem in painting human beings, you do not solve it at all'. Gertrude Stein Hernan Bas, John Currin, Verne Dawson, Peter Doig, Marlene Dumas, David Harrison, NS Harsha, Boscoe Holder, Chantal Joffe, Karen...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    25 June - 3 August 2002

    Chris Ofili

    Freedom One Day
    This exhibition comprises two separate bodies of work created over the past three years. The Upper Room is a series of thirteen paintings each one a meditation on a single colour and single motif. The paintings are exhibited in a...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    27 June - 15 September 2001

    Works on Paper

    Group Exhibition (From Acconci to Zittel)
    Giovanni Anselmo, Alex Katz, Lisa Yuskavage, Vito Acconci, Henry Moore, Dawn Mellor, Nicolas de Stael, Cecily Brown, Karen Kilimnik, Sue Williams, Inka Essenhigh, Rosemarie Trockel, John Currin, David Hockney David Smith, Paul Klee, Verne Dawson, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, Stephen Willats, Terry...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    9 May - 23 June 2000

    Chris Ofili

    New Works on Paper
    This is the first solo exhibition of Chris Ofili’s work in Britain since winning the 1998 Turner Prize. This much awaited exhibition concentrates on drawings - a lesser known aspect of Ofili’s oeuvre - which will constitute a new body...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    7 May - 30 June 2000

    Raw

    Group Exhibition
    Yayoi Kusama. Francesca Woodman, Robin Lowe, Adriana Varejão, Isaac Julien, Doug Aitken, Abigail Lane, Hadrian Pigott, Brad Lochore, Cecily Brown, Chris Ofili, Andreas Gursky, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Inez van Lamsweerde, Peter Doig, Thomas Demand, Stephen Willats, Dawn Mellor, Chantal Joffe,...
    Victoria Miro Gallery I
    9 February - 10 March 2000

    Spot On

    Group Exhibition
    Ross Bleckner, Peter Doig, Udomsak Krisanamis, Yayoi Kusama, Chris Ofili This exhibition features five artists whose recurring, yet widely divergent, use of circular shapes, dots, droplets and spots are technical and aesthetic tools used for the exploration into objects, places,...
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    14 September - 9 October 1998

    Heads Will Roll

    Group Exhibition
    Ian Hamilton Finlay, Robin Lowe, Dawn Mellor, Lars Nilson, Chris Ofili, Keir Smith Ian Hamilton Finlay continues his exploration of the French Revolution acknowledging its importance as a corner-stone of modernism and democracy in the West. As concrete poet and...
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
    25 May - 21 June 1996

    Chris Ofili

    Afrodizziac
    22 November 1994 - 13 January 1995

    Group exhibition

    Peter Doig, Masakatsu Kondo, Brad Lochore, Nicholas May, Chris Ofili
    Victoria Miro Gallery II
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