Kunstnernes Hus is proud to present the first exhibition in Norway with the Norwegian-Nigerian artist Frida Orupabo (b. 1986). The artist is currently gaining wide international recognition for her unsettling collages exploring race, gender, and sexuality, exposing the vulnerability of the female body. Into the exhibition, Orupabo has invited the American artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa (f. 1960).
Frida Orupabo works with digital collages which she cuts and manipulates, using photographs from personal archives and found images. By juxtaposing historical image material with a wide range of appropriated imagery she connects her personal history to a collective story, and the private is intertwined in a political framework. The artist manipulates, dissects, twists and turns the human body in her collages. They exude pain and frailty, but also strength and resistance towards stereotypes and objectification.
In the exhibition at Kunstnernes Hus, Orupabo presents a series of large-scale figurative collages in paper, layer upon layer, like fabric, joined with split pins in a way that recalls paper dolls or sculptural objects on the wall. In addition, she will present a video work which is based on her ongoing artistic project on Instagram, @nemiepeba.
The Los Angeles-based artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer Arthur Jafa has for the last three decades developed a dynamic, multidisciplinary practice ranging from films and installations to lecture-performances and happenings. The exhibition presents his acclaimed film Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, a biting portrait of black American culture which challenges and questions prevailing cultural assumptions about identity and race, accompanied by Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam. The artist juxtaposes the radical alienation of black lives and the violent racism prevailing in American society with the predominant role of Afro-American music and culture in American popular culture at large.
Jafa and Orupabo have for the last few years developed a close artistic collaboration. Jafa invited Orupabo for his solo exhibition A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions at Serpentine Galleries in London (2017), and Julia Stoschek Collection in Berlin (2018). The exhibition was widely recognized for its handling of the absence of black culture in the art world, which the title of the film also refers to.
Frida Orupabo was born in 1986 in Sarpsborg, Norway and lives and works in Oslo. Alongside her artistic practice, she is educated as a sociologist and works as a social consultant in Oslo. Her artistic practice mirrors her sociological interest in how we shape and are being shaped by social structures. In 2018, she presented solo exhibitions at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York, and Galerie Nordenhake in Stockholm. She was recently included in the collection of the National Museum of Art in Oslo, in addition to a number of international collections.
Arthur Jafa was originally trained as an architect, and has in addition to his artistic practice had an extensive international practice as cinematographer and filmmaker. He has exhibited worldwide in institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Hirschorn Museum in Washington and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He has directed several films, including Slowly This, Smile, Until, Deshotten, Dreams Are Colder Than Death and Adrian Young. Jafa has also collaborated with other filmmakers such as Spike Lee, John Akomfrah, Stanley Kubrick, and Julie Dash, in addition to directing music videos for amongst others Solange and Jay Z.