This solo show by Othello De Souza-Hartley is notable amongst the Covid 19 era London exhibitions because of the body and architecture connection, poignant at a time when there is global focus on the relationship between the self and surrounding constructs. However, De Souza’s work brings together concepts he had developed well before the coronavirus pandemic.
He brings together the photography from his I Am and Masculinity series as well as the paintings from his Studies portfolio. He describes the exhibition as a discourse on the sexualisation of the male body and the architecture it resides in and that’s around it. Also, an examination of representations of female black beauty. There’s a candid excoriation of elements of memory in all the work.
The naked black figures in the photographic work are occasionally foetal; lying on spotlit, cold, industrial or factory floors. They impart that focus on memory in a dyadic language: at once womblike but also estranged and cut off from all links to family, friend and community in a powerful examination of representations of black beauty and body.
Othello said: “ My paintings are a visual diary of emotions while my photographic work is heavily inspired by architecture and interiors.”
Within that photography is some stark and powerful light play that brings to mind the baroque methodology of masters such as Carravagio.
This exhibition marks the first time all the work from his main creative practice have been brought together in one gallery space.
CATALOGUING EMOTIONS: An Exploration of Body, Architecture and Memory
Koppel Project Exchange, 193 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EU, UK.
9th – 20th October 2020