of intimacy and quietude

23 Feb 2024 - 6 Apr 2024 — sid motion gallery, London, United Kingdom
01 Marie-Blanche

A group exhibition including Remi Ajani, Hangama Amiri, Alessio Bolzoni, Helena Foster, Asta Gröting and Mike Silva

Co-curated by Sid Motion Gallery and Lincoln Dexter

Conceived as an antidote to the highly connected, often frantic and seemingly noisy nature of contemporary society and cultural exchange, ‘of intimacy and quietude’ presents work by six artists exploring the peaceful moments of everyday life. By featuring artworks that bring feelings of respite, solitude and stillness to the fore, the exhibition offers a visual and emotional hiatus,  providing a calm space for relaxation and introspection.

In the closely cropped frame of Asta Gröting’s film First Drink (2018), a series of unidentified characters are documented in the midst of their morning rituals. Eight people in turn are captured during the process of serenely preparing their first drink after waking. Housed within the central space of Sid Motion Gallery, the meditative actions and the gentle nature of the film, portraying the beginning of the day, can, in some ways, be seen as the starting point of the exhibition.

Similarly, contemplative preparation characterises Alessio Bolzoni’s method of recording the fading beauty of flowers over time. This act, performed over the course of days and weeks with calm dedication, captures the passage of time and history. The images, which serve as a memento mori and form part of the larger series ABUSE (2016), move between abstraction and figuration, seemingly existing at the edge of memory’s fading and the limits of perception.

Helena Foster’s heavily saturated paintings also occupy a space in between states. The artist draws both on personal imagery, such as family photo albums, as well as stills from Nollywood (a term for Nigerian cinema) movies, creating pictures of everyday life that hang between reality and fiction. Foster’s paintings are often characterised by individuals or pairs depicted in intimate moments or, as in the case of SILENT SONG (2024), alone with their thoughts. In ABSENT PRESENT (2024), however, the scene is stripped back further, with the artist offering the audience a single, empty chair.

Likewise, the emotive power of vacancy is present in the stillness of Mike Silva’s canvas too. Film images saved over the years, largely taken of friends, lovers and the settings they once shared, are the starting points for the artist’s interior scenes, still lifes and portraits. Silva’s portrayals of domestic spaces depict tenderly observed details, such as the light that falls through a bedroom window in Martin’s Room (2023), arousing sentiments of nostalgia or yearning for bygone closeness.

While Mike Silva’s canvas is distinguished by physical human absence, the painting by Remi Ajani contains the single full figure in the exhibition. This lone character, seated on a bed, begins a dialogue with the viewer, affirming that there is strength and confidence in what may be considered solitude. Through her painting, Ajani explores how to engage in a dialogue with her own senses, instincts and physicality; the demand is to slow down and to be silent, to allow for room to study.

If the morning routines of Asta Gröting’s film might be considered as the opening work in the exhibition, Hangama Amiri’s Late by Myself (2021) could serve as a counter- and endpoint. Employing predominantly textiles as a medium, Amiri explores ideas of home, gender and social conventions as they relate to women’s lives in Afghanistan and the diaspora. A single glass of red wine, a plate of cheese and a bowl of grapes; Amiri’s composition is a muted exaltation of the simple joy to be found in the intimacy and quietude of an evening ritual of time well spent alone.