Serge Attukwei Clottey: Solo Chorus
November 2, 2019 - January 18, 2020
Public Opening Reception: Saturday, November 2, 2019, 6:30-8:30 pm
The Mistake Room is pleased to present Serge Attukwei Clottey: Solo Chorus, the Ghanaian artist’s first one-person institutional exhibition in the United States. Clottey's work highlights the dense network of relationships -- personal and bodily, political, economic, and ecological -- that index themselves through his primary source material, the plastic Kufuor Gallon used by families throughout Ghana for their daily water supply. Solo Chorus focuses on the activation of this network - the interplay between collectivism and individuality in Clottey’s practice, which nimbly operates across the intersections of social activism and abstract formalism. The installation interweaves his sculptural wall works, many of them newly created for this exhibition, with free-standing three-dimensional objects in wood and bronze, works on paper, video, and performance to map the issues of land ownership, dynamics of gender, and environmental awareness in Ghana. Through inventive solutions of shape, texture, composition and narrative across these diverse disciplines, a distinct vocabulary emerges, mixing singular and plural to pose questions of the interrelationship of political agency and artistic authorship. What are the kinships and tensions between social and aesthetic change? Over the passage of time, be it the life of a person, nation, or culture, does any of these limits truly exist, or is it more accurate to speak of cycles, variations, and iterations on themes of hardship and hope?
Solo Chorus furthers The Mistake Room’s 2019-2020 curatorial cycle, Histories of a Vanishing Present, which explores postmemory as a structure through which a global generation of artists mediate pasts that don’t directly belong to them. Clottey materially and conceptually remakes the world through his materials, shaping and reshaping ideas around agency in relationship to a network of colonial histories, economic entanglements, and structures of gender to gesture toward new ways to inhabit the future.
Serge Attukwei Clottey: Solo Chorus is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by Kris Kuramitsu, TMR Deputy Director and Head of Program, and Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia, Assistant Curator.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Serge Attukwei Clottey (b. 1985, Accra, Ghana) lives and works in Accra, Ghana. Working across installation, performance, photography and sculpture, Clottey explores personal and political narratives rooted in histories of trade and migration. Based in Accra and working internationally, Clottey refers to his work as “Afrogallonism”, a concept that confronts the question of material culture through the utilisation of yellow gallon containers. Cutting, drilling, stitching and melting found materials, Clottey’s sculptural installations are bold assemblages that act as a means of inquiry into the languages of form and abstraction. Clottey attended the Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Ghana before studying at the Escola Guinard University of Art in Brazil and has completed multiple fellowships abroad. He works in a variety of media including performance, photography, video, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Recent exhibitions include KUBATANA at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen, Norway; Current Affairs at Fabrica Gallery and Gold Standard at Ever Gold Projects, San Francisco. His work is in the collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, Kansas), the Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (Marrakech, Morocco), the Nubuke Foundation (Accra, Ghana), the Seth Dei Foundation (Accra, Ghana), Modern Forms (UK), and The World Bank Collection (Washington D.C.), as well as a number of international private collections.
ABOUT THE CYCLE
Histories of a Vanishing Present (2019-2020) explores how a generation of artists born at the cusp of the global turn inherit pasts that don’t directly belong to them. Through the lens of postmemory, this cycle tackles a new relationship with identity politics forged by a millennial generation of artists for whom ideas of nationalism, cultural heritage, and historical trauma are radically different than for their predecessors. Why do military dictatorships in Latin America, the legacies of the Cold War, the activist histories of the LGBTQ and Civil Rights movements, or independence movements in Africa shape conversations about the work of a global generation of emerging artists whose sole relationship to these moments is the place of their birth, the color of their skin, their sexual orientations, or the familial histories they contend with? At a time when ideas of identity are being revisited in charged and polarizing ways, how can we rethink subjecthood not as a predefined category but as a tense and ongoing process of becoming? This cycle considers identity as situational—as a negotiation between the stories of those who came before and the responsibilities of those who are expected to inherit them.
Major support for The Mistake Room's programs is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.