Fri 1 Sep 2023 to Sat 7 Oct 2023
Artist: ruby onyinyechi amanze
Mariane Ibrahim presents a solo exhibition in Paris of new work by ruby onyinyechi amanze entitled The Poetics of Space. The show marks the gallery’s second exhibition with the artist.
On behalf of her first solo exhibition in Paris, ruby onyinyechi amanze investigates space and ways of presentation and display. She has designed the frames and plinths, in desire to further emulate her interest in an architectural dimension, beyond the paper and plane.
There is a mathematical term for all possible options, or the collection of all possible outcomes of an experiment. It’s called ‘sample space’. And it mirrors the title of the show, The Poetics of Space, taken from the book by Gaston Bachelard. To exist with all possible option feels like a poetic suggestion, but also one that reflects this balance amanze is searching for between the objective and the subjective, how they loop back into each other (reminiscent of the Ouroboros, that ancient symbol of a snake eating its own tale, a narrative of cyclicality, renewal, change).
The artist engages with seven recurring elements in her drawings: birds, bikes, architecture, ada (an alien), audre (a hybrid leopard), swimming pools (also an architecture) and the paper itself. This cohort defines the work, and every drawing becomes a group of interactions: this one will involve audre, a swimming pool and birds. In another, ada takes front and centre, the birds are background. When drawing, amanze moves these figures, or some of them, around, exploring the relationships between them, real or perceived space and forms of proximity between things.
ruby onyinyechi amanze’s process is oriented by movement and by the artist’s relationship to the paper, placed on the floor in amanze’s Philadelphia studio, with the artist moving along its side, edges, corners shifting its direction, reconfiguring. She looks for balance, but also for something that would break it, an offness she enjoys. With this way of working, the focus, amanze says, is mapped out for her. Why these seven elements? They hint at myth and legend, at presence and representation, at the history of art and a sense of place that isn’t specific but is still very well defined. The world amanze makes is populated. The question is how it moves.
To be in motion is to be unfixed, flexible, not just be in the world but make a world and see all its options. The viewer will encounter a sprinkling of small drawings in this new show, but most of amanze’s new works on view are momentous. The scale gives her more space to work with, each one of the drawings becoming a different answer to the question of math, of configuration. Like a visual game, organising and designing the seven elements – different shapes and forms – and finding an organisational schema for them that isn’t hierarchical, that changes all the time.
To view these drawings is an invitation to the process of their making. Looking at the window in one drawing, imagine doing so with a camera; the work is the drawings, the practice also involves photography, dance, looking at architecture: all these different forms infuse the final drawings and offer a soft counter to the mathematical equation of configuration, where the organising structure in dance or literature is experienced by viewers as open, pliable, flexible.
To be in space is also to be in time. To be in sample space is to be in time of working through all possible options. What you are seeing are the days in the studio, the feelings and emotions, the time. Passing. Not in a frustrating way, more like the seasons, in a way that is gently present, always there, very much felt.
Contribution written on behalf of the exhibition, "I’ll See You in Time and Space", by writer and art critic Orit Gat.