Jamiu Agboke - Dark Waters

Inauguration: Tuesday May 6, 2023; 18:00 - 20:00

Duration: May 7 - June 10, 2023

Curated by: Sayori Radda

Text: Lorenz Caspar Ecker

Photos: Danilo Donzelli

Jamiu Agboke (b. 1989, Lagos, Nigeria, lives and works in London)

Graduated at the Royal Drawing School in April 2022.

Upcoming group exhibitions:

White Cube, Summer 2023, alongside Michael Armitage, Mona Hatoum, Alia Ahmad (online)

Galerie Marguo Paris, May 11, 2023

Past group exhibitions:

Jack Barret, New York, 2023

Soho Review, 2022

The Split Gallery, 2022

VIN VIN Vienna, 2022

Bitter Sweet Review Publication, ICA

Guts Gallery, 2022

Dark Waters

Murky, dark green water spans across the canvas. The head of a figure emerges from its centre, it’s back turned towards the viewer. Placing the spectator at a vantage point on the shore, the opposite side holds an array of unrelenting movements. Dynamic strokes of paint form into vague objects such as a throne, a window and a burning house, possibly a hint to the title of the work, Seraphina, originating from the Hebrew word for flaming or glowing. 

It seems as if a whirlpool sits deep below the surface, swirling the gaze from water to shore to the horizon. While blue and yellow hold a small part in the palette of the composition, green takes centre stage. Its strength and variety although only come through the mélange with the other two, acting as the lead protagonists engaged in constant dialogue of varying intensity. 

Agboke freezes movement in time and encapsulates the aura of the depicted scene by creating momentum in the stillness of his composition. As light and colour dance in symbiosis on the carefully constructed surface of the water, the figure functions as an eerie anchor through which the events on the shoreline are placed in a foreboding context. What emerges is a relationship between the faraway chaos juxtaposed by the calm of the deep green water.

Painting from memory allows for the direct exchange between form, colour and movement. These melt into a collective force uninterrupted by moving between a visual aid and the canvas. Physical distance from the canvas allows the artist to see the work as a whole, and delve into certain areas, as if being sucked in himself into the spiral of colour. The movement between the palette and the canvas is translated into the rapid pace of the composition. Nothing sits still, everything changes. From memory to immediate surrounding to a meticulously composed chaos, Agboke’s painterly language whispers a symphony of mystery and foreboding calm. 

Lorenz Caspar Ecker