REGGIO EMILIA .- Collezione Maramotti
presents How To Be Enough, a project by ruby onyinyechi amanze. For her first solo exhibition in Italy, the artist has conceived a new multidimensional drawing for the Collections Pattern Room, working on a monumental scale she has never previously explored.
The work is made up of 15 sheets of paper that extend over the entire height and width of the rooms long central wall, creating a vast contemporary fresco on paper.
For years now amanze has focused on drawing, employing techniques that range between graphite, acrylic, coloured pencil, ink and paint. The thick rag paper is not merely a support, not merely a two-dimensional surface, but rather becomes a sculptural, structural medium fragile, yet strong for the artist to manipulate, physically and visually creating different levels of depth and of viewer engagement.
Her wonderland of images comprises a number of recurring figures that act as lexical units in a discourse not meant to be narrative: the paper itself; the hybrid creatures ada the Alien and audre the Leopard; bits of architecture; swimming pools with divers; dancers, motorbikes, and birds; these elements appear again and again, recombined in infinite configurations. In a mythcrafting that is extraordinary in its ordinariness, her characters interact like members of a family, coming together, drifting apart, offering each other protection.
The artist plays with these figures, letting them float and move over vast white backgrounds dense voids where the force of gravity seems suspended and the action seems caught in a freeze-frame to explore the concept of space, which is central to her work.
Born in Nigeria, raised in the United Kingdom and currently based in Philadelphia and New York, amanze calls many places home. To her, space is a physical, architectural reality, but also a mental, emotional, shifting one in which different planes emerge and overlap, their boundaries blurred.
Space, here, is not identified with a specific location, but rather with fluid, layered scenarios, brimming with images. Like the viewer, the artist enters into a relationship with these worlds: sometimes discovering, to her surprise, that she is an integral part of them, fully immersed; or sometimes standing like an outside observer of whatever unfolds like a diorama before her eyes and ours.
Deeply enamoured of dancewhich she often references to arrive at the forms, poses and interactions of her figures and a dancer herself, amanze will present a performance at Collezione Maramotti in June 2021.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book.
ruby onyinyechi amanze (b. 1982, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria) lives and works in Philadelphia and New York.
amanze holds a BFA, Summa Cum Laude, from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 2012-2013 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2016-2017 she was artist-in-residence at the Queens Museum, as part of the Drawing Centers Open Sessions Program. She has shown her work around the world, from Lagos to London and from Johannesburg to New York. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: Frieze Art Fair, Deutsche Bank, New York (2019); Goodman Gallery, Capetown (2018); Smack Mellon Foundation, New York (2017); The Armory Show, Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, New York (2016). Her most recent group exhibitions include: Fridman Gallery, New York (2019); The Drawing Room and Modern Art Oxford, London (2018); 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018); Studio Museum of Harlem, New York (2017); Diverse Works, Houston (2017); Galerie des Galeries, Paris (2017); California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2016).