That Wilderness Within
PRIOR Art Space Barcelona
9th April to 10th June
/ Group Show
PRIOR ART SPACE Presents ‘That Wilderness Within’, a group exhibition featuring twenty artists from a variety of aesthetic cultures and artistic disciplines. The exhibition will explore the wildest, purest self that is best exposed when drawn to make the impulsive decisions that allow for growth. The exhibition forms the inaugural presentation of our new Barcelona space, and will showcase works from exhibiting artists alongside works from the Cuperior and Del Arco Collections.
That Wilderness Within - the one that drives our purest and most essential human instincts. Our rebel, our wild self, the essence that pushes us to cross boundaries and commit mistakes or experience growth. A side we all possess, but rarely embrace. The artists in this exhibition seek to harness the powerful force of our inner wildness, from the untamed emotion of Ziad Kaki’s iridescent brushstrokes through to the uncharted waters and tangle of figures displayed in the work of Amelie Peace.
Jeanine Brito takes a feminist approach to the concept: the ultra-feminine protagonist dons a bright pink sweatshirt as she shaves her body hair - the flower stem in her hand alluding to the act of taming nature. Both Johnson Ocheja and Tang Shuo depict figures that appear completely free. In Ocheja’s ‘The Red Jacket’, despite the initial apparent stillness of the flat landscape, the sea froths at the edges and the wind appears strong enough to knock the female figure off her feet, but instead she stands strong and unmoving amidst the wildness around her. The deep indigo of her skin, a colour historically reserved for high status individuals, rebels against the traditional marginalisation of the Black body. Here, she is elevated to a position akin to royalty, therefore claiming ownership of her space and power. Tang Shuo’s portrait similarly explores the notion of the self via the delicate balance of human versus nature. Surrounded by bristling trees, he grasps onto a trail of rope which leads to an unknown place. The title ‘A Long Journey’ indicates an unending journey of self-discovery and inward reflection.
The term ‘wilderness’ can be taken at face value of being ‘wild’, as much as it applies to the explorative approach of an artist’s practice and materiality. The beauty of the unsystematic, uncontrollable and unconfined is what is hidden in the uncertainties of the journey, and such notions can be explored and coexist within the complexities of the unknown. It can also speak to the state of contemporary art through the art historical lens, with visual language being the primary medium for communicating political debate, lived experience and extended ideologies. Ultimately, it holds within it a possibility for change. The articulation of the creative spirit can be felt throughout the works included - the intensity of colour, or the potential of a single line, allows the viewer to physiologically experience what it means to embrace their own ‘wild side’.