Author: Rainald Schumacher --- Date: 11/22/95--- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Chris Ofili
Gavin Brown's Enterprise
558 Broome Street, NYC
Nov. 21, 1995- Jan. 6, 1996

Once upon a time there was Nirvana playing live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. Jimi Hendrix, somehow looking like he smoked some weed, letting his eyes run over the gallery-office and some people of Andy Warhol's factory-community joining the opening in some black and white photographs. A red wok boiling pot with some remains of black mussels, like a work by Marcel Broodthaers, embellished the office table... come on, that's not the show, that's just the surrounding ambiance.

In the showing room itself, three works by Chris Ofili. Transparent, shiny layers of floating colors over collaged printed material, biomorphic roads and highways to guide the eyes around the surface painted with little colorful dots as a third layer and some balls of elephant dung as a kind of last splash. It looks like material for some trip with mushrooms or LSD. Or do these paintings try to bring the brain into a kind of hallucinating mood, between the edges of consciousness and the deeper knowledge? This state of mind where titles like "Seven Bitches Tossing Their Pussies Before The Divine Dung" become self-evident? It's a quite erotic painting with it's open Mandala structure, and a funny one too. It plays around with differently valued methods of painting. The highly sanctioned free floating glassy layers with the sovereignty of someone like Sigmar Polke are meeting the undervalued dot work of numerous arts and crafts pieces. It's very hip, indeed, but this framework is so obvious at the same time, that you will get the feeling, good bait catches fine fish. But what catches divine dung?

-Rainald Schumacher

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