West Bund Art & Design 2023
About the fair
9-12 November, 2023
West Bund Art Center, No. 2555 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai, China
Shanghai—Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to announce its participation in the tenth edition of West Bund Art & Design, where the gallery will be presenting a variety of artworks by ten artists from different generations and cultural backgrounds. Exhibiting artists include Alimi Adewale (b. 1974, Nigeria), Samson Akinnire (b. 1986, Nigeria), Duke Asidere (b. 1961, Nigeria), Philip Colbert (b. 1979, Scotland), Mr Doodle (b. 1994, UK), Maggi Hambling (b. 1945, UK), Ni Zhiqi (b. 1957, China), Babajide Olatunji (b. 1989, Nigeria), Zhu Jinshi (b. 1954, China), and Zhu Peihong (b. 1987, China).
Works by Nigerian artists Alimi Adewale, Samson Akinnire, and Duke Asidere will be shown for the first time in China at the fair. Lagos-based Alimi Adewale’s creative journey revolves around unravelling the profound beauty and cultural tapestry that defines the African experience, bringing to light the rich heritage, vibrant traditions, and diverse narratives that shape his home continent. Through his paintings, he strives to evoke emotions, challenge preconceived notions, and invite viewers into a deeper understanding of Africa’s complex and multifaceted identity. On show will be Masked Legacies, a series of African masks brought to life on the canvas of Kilim rugs that blend the rich cultural heritage of Africa with modern artistic expression. Each piece in this collection serves as a vibrant tribute to the profound significance of African masks. These masks, steeped in history and ritual, have long fascinated artists and scholars alike.
Multi-disciplinary contemporary artist Samson Akinnire is a graduate of Lagos State Polytechnic, where he obtained his Higher National Diploma in Art as a sculpture major in 2012. His concepts begin as abstract forms. He collects and re-imagines discarded materials to fit in a particular shape or texture. These materials are typically found objects from his surroundings that can be deconstructed, manipulated, and modified. At times he begins with a screw, or a nail hammered into a block of wood board, then he expands the work outwards. He usually starts on one end and suddenly the composition is almost self-generating before his eyes. The work process includes and is not limited to burning, casting, carving, cutting, gluing, nailing, tying, punching, painting, and welding. His works are unfinished inventories of fragments and feature a schematic combination of materials improvised from discarded items.
Duke Asidere is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated contemporary artists with a keen following internationally and in his native country. He taught painting, drawing and art history at the Federal Auchi Polytechnic for five years before starting full-time studio work in Lagos in 1995. His multimedia practice reflects his upbringing, with the recurring theme of the female form as a homage to the women who have raised him. He was mentored by Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya and taught by Gani Odutokun who had a profound impact on his life and artistic expression. Asidere expresses himself boldly through a wide variety of genres including pencil work, engravings, oil and acrylic, pastels, and even transparencies. He was raised in a household of women, which is reflected in his recurring theme of the female form in his portrait and face series. His paintings have become emblems of his struggles.
Self-taught London-based Nigerian-born Babajide Olatunji will present his hyperrealist pastel and acrylic portraits from his Tribal Marks series, which explores the age-old practice of facial scarification for identification and caste classification purposes by ethnic rural tribes in Nigeria. Although his subjects are fictional, Olatunji composites facial features from different people, some of whom he has come across in everyday life. The portraits are inspired by the artist’s interactions and discussions with carriers of the marks, which are also signifiers of tribal heritage. Through his work and study of Nigerian culture, Olatunji tries to understand how globalisation has affected our identity and how it continues to change us across generations.
On display will be two iconic sculpture works by London-based hyper-pop artist Philip Colbert, who has garnered a global following for his cartoon lobster persona, reimagining pop symbols as costumes for the lobster. His work powerfully explores the patterns of contemporary digital culture and its relationship to a deeper art historical dialogue. The sculptures on view make physical the artist’s iconic personalities. The lobster figure literally infiltrates different everyday objects to become a series of postmodern hybrid objects. Colbert’s Lobstar Octopus features the lobster’s nemesis, the octopus. The artist is thinking of developing more of the Octopus in his works as a symbol of fear and death. Also, he likes the fact that the lobster is the weaker of the two, but his role is to defy the octopus.
Mr Doodle began consuming the Earth’s surface with doodles when he was born in 1994. He started out covering his parents’ furniture with doodles and eventually his whole bedroom until he realised his home wasn’t a big enough canvas. He has said, “I want my work to consume as much of the planet as it can.” Unlike the work of Keith Haring, whom he is often compared to, Mr Doodle’s works are not political. Instead, he aims to create a happy visual language in which all audiences can immerse themselves. Mr & Mrs Doodle at Bubblegum Beach is a celebration of Mr Doodle’s love story with his wife. He channels his creations with love, joy, and happiness directly from his DoodleWorld into ours with great stamina. His process is fluid, therapeutic, unrestrained, and without hesitation. Thanks to his love story with Mrs Doodle, the dense clusters of black and white doodles are gradually tinted with an array of bright colours.
Maggi Hambling is a celebrated contemporary painter and sculptor whose work continues to challenge and seduce. Pearl Lam Galleries will present a painting from Hambling’s celebrated Wall of Water series. Works from this series have been exhibited at the National Gallery, London; The Hermitage, St Peterburg, Russia; and CAFA, Beijing. The Met in New York acquired a Wall of Water painting last year. The series was inspired by the challenging storm surge of the sea crashing against the seawall close to the artist’s Suffolk studio and reflects the power of nature and the impermanent nature of existence. Hambling approaches her subjects with an intensity that constantly reaffirms her passion for life.
Shanghai-based Ni Zhiqi captures the non-referential manifestation of perception by combining painting and collage and using muted hues in a layered treatment. The artist’s deliberate and calculated use of the sourced items alongside his attention to the sensuality of their materiality are what shapes his works. He strips away the objects’ innate nature, dismantles and reassembles them, squeezing them into a dense perceptual vacuum. Through this process, not only are different layers of perception extracted, but the gap in between the shifting layers is compressed to such an extent that the emptiness of the vacuum becomes as solid as dry land, inviting viewers “into the room”—a perceptual realm that is both an illusion and reality, a presence indicating an absence, a series of traces in place of a missing referent.
Zhu Jinshi was a pioneer of Chinese abstract art in the early 1980s. He lived in Berlin in the 1990s, where he turned to installation art, and he returned to painting in 2000. On show will be several of Zhu’s signature abstract impasto paintings, including Temple of Three Kingdoms united by Jin. The series takes the classical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms as a hidden background to construct an abstract multi-dimensional space. Three Kingdoms Return to Jin Temple is the first work he started, but it is also the last work he finished in the two-metre painting series. The Three Kingdoms stood in a tripartite state, and the mutual annexation battles experienced by Wei, Shu, and Wu came to an end, which is exactly where the name comes from. History is not narrated with figurative images or a plot, but through literary abstraction with the use of the colour, thickness, and weight of the paint. Zhu’s style brings forth a new visual experience and literary connection that is somewhat indescribable, although the aesthetic conjures memories and illusions based on the name of the work.
Zhu Peihong was born in Shanghai in 1987. His work is inspired by his visual memory of the city of Shanghai. Growing focuses on dots, lines, and colour patches with the strokes overlapping and covering each other. The paint slowly drips and spreads, solidifies and stops, repeatedly until these fragmented traces, reaching an internal order, organically connect with each other and construct the conscious cyberspace perceived by the artist’s mind like a mental landscape of a utopia in between reality and virtuality.