Artists: Okiki Akinfe - Julia Bennett - Max Boyla - Lewis Brander - Annice Fell - Mannat Gandotra - Nour Malas - Ella McVeigh - H.e Morris - Sofia Nifora - Christopher Stead - Min Woo Nam - Tianyue Zhong
LBF Contemporary presents Nouvelle Vague, its inaugural exhibition, at 13 Tottenham Mews, London.
Inspired by the twentieth-century French film movement of the same name, the exhibition highlights a new wave of motion-based painters from the UK and British art schools. Just as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Agnès Varda, and their New Wave contemporaries broke away from traditional cinematic conventions, these artists offer fresh perspectives that resonate globally within the landscape of painting.
Although all gravitating towards the abstract, they are united through their expression of motion. Nam and Brander’s atmospheric compositions measure the passage of time through their meticulous use of colour. Gandotra and Nifora’s bold, whimsical strokes leap and dash across the canvas, lending surrealist distortions to their landscapes. Morris translates narrative into vibrant markings with dynamism and impulse. Zhong and Malas hold a similar vigour – their lively gestures pulsing with urgency and exuberance – whilst Boyla’s suspended impressions exist in a limbo between gentle flow and stillness. McVeigh and Fell welcome the gestural chaos of pure abstraction, whilst Akinfe floats between figuration and abstraction – her figures surfacing fleetingly before drifting back into constant flux. Motion is also present in the manual practice of working with material: Stead through the assembly of found objects; Bennett through the weaving and layering of organic materials.
Truffaut described the Nouvelle Vague as neither a movement, nor a school, nor a group, but a quality. These artists create new visual language for a new era, using abstraction as a tool but not a limitation. They lean into the potential of non-representational painting as a means to capture life, and express their individual experiences of it. They are confident that their viewer does not need to be prescribed everything for their message to be received – in fact, they welcome the dialogue that is developed in the space between.