EVAN IFEKOYA

Ritual Without Belief

Evan Ifekoya Ritual Without Belief

source:friezecom
Evan Ifekoya’s ‘Ritual Without Belief’ presents an oceanic imagery of sensuous, flowing movement. At its scenographic heart, a printed floor vinyl of submarine patterns rises to a ceiling-high crest at one end of the gallery: once-stable ground that has given way to voluptuous liquidity. The exhibition’s cornerstone – a six-hour audio track of multilayered sound – pulses with techno, underwater samples and a vocal track drawn from literature and theory, conversation and personal reflections.

Much has been said of the seas as a swirling archive of disasters in whose calamitous wake we live. The histories of colonial passages, global capitalism, illegalized migration, ecological crises and the transatlantic slave tradeare all part of its protracted catalogue of horrors. But some, like Ifekoya, have sought to pivot from this morass towards the ocean’s reparative potential.

The word ‘abundance’ takes on the force of a ritual incantation in this work. Ifekoya deploys it to counter the facile presumption that more information is all that stands between the oppressed and their liberation. What if – as Ifekoya posits – black, queer artists began from the plenitude of lived experience, resisting the deficit-model that prescribes which forms of knowledge are most valuable in the lives of those furthest from seats of power? And yet, the most direct verbal reference to abundance is overlaid with other commentary in an echoing overlap that pushes the bounds of audibility. Our attention is being tested here. By impeding our desire to hear each word distinctly, ‘Ritual Without Belief’ elicits a different kind of listening: drifting in and out, attending to the subtle cues of disturbances in vocal inflection, little breaks in phonation exposing an entire field of emotion. (Much of the exhibition’s audio has been accrued over years as streams of consciousness recorded in voice notes on the artist’s phone.)

At one point, an injunction to ‘take strength seriously’ comes over the show’s bespoke sound system (assembled collaboratively by the artist and a group of London-based peers). The words are consonant with the sensuously brawny Bodybuilder with Bra (1990) – the exhibition’s solitary image of a human body. Placed in the narrower of Gasworks’ two galleries, where the breaking wave of the floor vinyl forms a barrel, the photograph is exhibited publicly for the first time since it was shot. Taken by Ajamu X – an artist, activist and longtime chronicler of queer Black British S/M circles – it connects Ifekoya to a longer countercultural history.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source:exitexpresscom
Ritual Without Belief es la primera exposición individual que la artista Evan Ifekoya realiza en Londres. Ifekoya ha concebido el espacio de Gasworks como un lugar de acumulación en el que se cruzan diversas posiciones y proposiciones a partir de una gran instalación de sonido que explora cómo crear las condiciones para la polivocalidad. La artista describe su trabajo sonoro como “un algoritmo queer negro a través de generaciones, ubicaciones y afiliaciones políticas”. En este sentido, el proyecto sonoro se compone de diferentes texturas, cualidades y técnicas de grabación que evocan estados de ánimo y situaciones de contraste: desde sonidos del cuerpo bajo del agua hasta un coro o reflexiones íntimas y conversaciones con amigos que se convierten en estribillos.

La instalación consiste en un gran equipo de sonido suspendido del techo de la galería y que articula y da forma a la amplia gama de frecuencias que contiene la propuesta de Ifekoya. El diseño de la propia instalación se ha llevado a cabo a través de toda una serie de talleres previos a la exposición y, tras la misma, habiendo aprendido ya las habilidades técnicas para llevarlo a cabo, el equipo se utilizará como un recurso comunitario. Sumado al equipo de sonido, un océano de escala de grises cubre el suelo de la galería, subiendo por las paredes en laguna ocasiones. En la pared donde este océano se eleva en mayor medida se encuentra una instalación de globos de helio negro, blanco, plateado y naranja que hacen referencia a The Loft, una fiesta que revolución la escena de clubes en el centro de Manhattan durante la década de 1970. Los globos se desinflarán y caerán a medida que sucede la muestra, llevando, justamente, la fiesta a a su fin.