Poetics of Material: Lagos/Los Angeles

Rele Gallery is pleased to present Poetics of Material, a group exhibition of works from contemporary African and diasporic artists,  opening across the gallery’s spaces in Lagos, Nigeria and Los Angeles, California. Running from November 2nd, 2022 to December 17th, 2022, the exhibition imagines the natural and manufactured object as an unconscious archive of a constantly evolving society capable of storing memory and producing new narratives. Inviting artists whose work explores the physical and textural qualities of material, it examines the transformation of form and object; as both an inquiry into design aesthetics and an engagement with social history and contemporary life. 

A viewer's experience of an artwork is significantly impacted by the materiality of the work with the meaning of an artwork expanded by its medium. Objects - rooted in social, economic, religious and political contexts - acquire new forms and meanings through processes of repurposing and transformation. This dynamic engagement with material, its symbolism in contemporary society and its investigation into the nature of things, form the starting point for this exhibition. From Ayobola Kekere-Ekun’s exploration of paper strips in creating nostalgic, childhood images, to Kwaku Yaro’s mix of upcycled materials in his acrylic paintings to Admire Kamudzegngerere’s collages of old Harare phonebook pages and Gerald Chukwuma’s transformation of found objects, the exhibition considers diverse approaches to objecthood, weaving narratives of ecological sustainability, pollution and the inherent qualities of our natural and manufactured world.

In Poetics of Material, the tangible quality of the presented works becomes an avenue to explore local and global histories alongside current and unfolding realities ranging from the marginal to the central. In its exploration of materiality, the exhibition also considers the collaborative dialogue between the artist and medium. Particularly, in areas of response and negotiation which are often created between the viewer, site and object. 

The exhibition features works by Ayobola Kekere-Ekun, Nnenna Okore, Lanre Tejuoso, Admire Kamudzengerere, May Okafor, Kwaku Yaro, daaPo Reo, Marcellina Akpojotor, Gerald Chukwuma and Peju Alatise.