Grace Ndiritu – An Absolute River* is an exhibition from Wednesday 11th May – Saturday 16th July 2022, programming weekend on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th May, with an accompanying publication, taking place at LUX, London.
The project calls upon artists to expand the public’s horizons of temporal divides of past, present and future. The global pandemic has caused many to question the dominance of linear time. Through moving image, live performance, workshops and text, the artists in this project investigate different subjectivities of time. The exhibition is dedicated to the British Kenyan artist and activist, Grace Ndiritu (b.1982), whose practice is deeply concerned with our contemporary world seeing it through the twin lenses of healing and spirituality, by finding alternative ways for humanity to live. Her archive of over forty ‘hand-crafted’ videos; Post-Hippie Pop-Abstraction collages and shamanic performances reflect her alternative ways of looking and seeing the world through spiritual practice.
In the accompanying public programme, artists Rieko Whitfield, Serena Huang and Dr Jason Allen-Paisant will guide audiences through an atemporal journey. Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’, the Argentinian writer, ideas around the mysterious nature of time, the exhibition and programme will explore alternative ideas of time to widely accepted linear narratives.
*Grace Ndiritu – An Absolute River’s title derives from Borges’ theories on the fluidity of time. Borges features as a fictional protagonist in Ndiritu’s Black Beauty, and his notion of “An Absolute River” was inspired by Heraclitus’ “No Man ever Steps in the Same River Twice”.
Inviting audiences to immerse themselves in Ndiritu’s two films: A Week in the News: 7 places we think we know, 7 news stories we think we understand (2010) and Black Beauty (2021), the exhibition reflects the artist’s explorations of “deep time”. The two works stand in dialogue with each other in two separate screening rooms to enable the viewers to see a continuity between the artist’s ideas across eleven years. Ndiritu’s intermediary film Raiders of the Lost Ark (2015) will also be screened online for the first week of the exhibition. Her films blur the lines between different time frames and explore themes of media, authorship and historical narratives, whilst expanding on notions of temporality.
Grace Ndiritu’s debut short film Black Beauty has been selected for prestigious film festivals including 72nd Berlinale in the Forum Expanded section (2022) and 32nd FIDMarseille (2022). Most recently her work has been featured at Flat Time House (2022), British Art Show 9 (2021/2022), Nottingham Contemporary (2021) and Kunsthal Gent (2021).
In the live programme, the three contributors, likewise, each deal with critical conceptions of time in their practice. Visitors to the workshop led by Rieko Whitfield will reflect on past histories through non-linear writing activities and guided meditation. Serena Huang will invite her participants to reimagine potential futures using found objects to create a temporary work of art. Performing a soundscape with spoken word, Dr Jason Allen-Paisant explores the ways in which sound evades temporal categorisation and affects us differently to visual representations. The audience is invited to contemplate an unfinished past and imagine futures beyond linear time. The accompanying publication will offer different perspectives of temporality, and give audiences opportunities to interact with these themes and the screenings in a tangible way.
Grace Ndiritu – An Absolute River is curated by students from the MA Curating Contemporary Art Programme as part of the Graduate Projects 2022, Royal College of Art, in partnership with LUX.
LUX, Waterlow Park Centre, Dartmouth Park Hill, London, N19 5JF, UK