Chris Ofili

Submitted by admin on Fri, 09/16/2016 - 21:49
Chris Ofili - Afrodizzia
Chris Ofili - Afrodizzia

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  • The studio is a laboratory, not a factory. An exhibition is the result of your experiments, but the process is never-ending. So an exhibition is not a conclusion.
  • I was listening to a lot of hip hop, music like Public Enemy that was about raising consciousness, and I realised I could feed that directly into my work, using images in a way that was a bit like sampling - taking images from diverse places, exploring the contradictions without trying to hide the seams.
  • When I left the Royal College, I decided I would only make paintings that I would want to look at myself, that felt close to my life.
  • Sometimes, as I feel a door or an exit point in my work is closing, I'll try to create an opening so as not to stifle the creative process, which I see as a process that's never-ending.
  • I'm aware that success can overwhelm you. The perception of you can be elevated to such a status that it's not you any more.
  • Often I think changes within my work have been seen as sudden changes or sharp changes, but for me they're not that sudden. They have been there in the studio, but not so much in public.
  • When I was painting in art school - and I think many painters in the 1980s worked similarly - a finished painting would often be constructed from lots of other paintings underneath. Some of these individual layers of painting were better than others, but that was something that you would often only realise retrospectively.
  • There's a magic that comes from playing entirely to who you are. I've got my specialist subject - in the Mastermind sense - and I wouldn't change it, or who I am.


Chris Ofili was born in Manchester in 1968. His father is from Nigeria and his mother from the West Indies, and he now has studios in Trinidad, Brooklyn and London

Ofili's work is often built up in layers of paint, resin, glitter, dung (mainly elephant) and other materials to create a collage. Though Ofili's detractors often state that he "splatters" elephant dung on his pictures, this is inaccurate: he sometimes applies it directly to the canvas in the form of dried spherical lumps, and sometimes, in the same form, uses it as varnished foot-like supports on which the paintings stand.

I especially like the multi-layer effect, and I especially like the major installation called “The Upper Room” which features 13 works (one larger, the other 12 the same size) each of these are of Macaque monkeys, and each also uses beadwork in key areas of the painting, as well as layers of paint, resin, glitter and sequins.