Rele Gallery is pleased to present Free Forms, a solo exhibition of new work by contemporary Nigerian artist Olu Amoda. Created from parts sourced from fabricator shops and forge offcuts, the small-scale metal sculptures featured in the exhibition examine the quality and latent energy of material as well as the irregularity of form. In Free Forms, Amoda continues a career-long dialogue with materiality and the transformation of objects found from the detritus of consumer culture.
Amoda’s varied and dynamic oeuvre include sculptures, murals, furniture designs, and multimedia installations. Across these diverse explorations, an enduring engagement with medium specificity and the transmutation of found objects is clearly evident. This process of transformation through close and collaborative dialogue with material becomes integral to the forms produced, presenting them as both object and subject. With this exhibition, Amoda offers a less structured engagement with metal as compared to his more popular method of intricate arrangement and dense layering seen in works like his ‘Sunflower’ series (2014). The works here are looser, allowing for a more intimate engagement with material and manipulation technique beyond the represented forms.
From solitary figures dressed in elaborate attires and shown in various stages of movement to groups of figures in companionship, the works in Free Forms also explore social issues and personalities; from the effects of the pandemic on social gatherings to fashion aesthetics and dynamic figures inspired by popular culture. With the works here, done in an almost brutalist fashion, Amoda conveys the weight of the material while also presenting the delicate nature of his subjects. His exploration of the irregular and gestural imbues his characters with a fluidity and weightlessness that belies the qualities of the material.
In Free Forms, we move with the artist through metalworking shops and forges, exploring the residual histories of material and reading new forms from constituent parts. In what he describes as a response to the material, Amoda, through an elaborate method of selection, cutting, twisting and joining, transforms the mundane to the poetic.