Olu Ogunnaike

London Plain

31.10.202024.01.2021
Temporarily Closed until further notice 
Open Thursday - Sunday, 12-6pm by appointment only
 
Cell Project Space presents London Plain, an intervention by London-based artist Olu Ogunnaike. Staged during an interim period whilst the exhibitions programme has been postponed, Ogunnaike has been invited to consider the gallery at a time when it would have otherwise continued to be temporarily empty. 
 
Taking trees as repositories of memory within the places and communities in which they grow, Ogunnaike cites wood as a marker of possible encounters: between past and present; between people and the spaces they inhabit. Ogunnaike is interested in the parallels that can be drawn between humans and trees, tracing the moment a tree is uprooted from one geographical setting and placed in another, where it might be transformed. This story –of the composite and accumulative nature of our identities– is inextricably linked to community, labour and the transaction of exchange. 
 
For his new commission, Ogunnaike uses the lumber from seven London Plane trees that were felled on High Street Kensington in 2012. Due to its capacity to absorb pollution, this common hardy species was planted en masse during a time when London was black with the soot of the Industrial Revolution. Now abundant along the capital’s roadsides, London Planes are often treated as disposable organic debris to make room for varying municipal enterprises. Deemed too characteristically unique to be used for furniture, and commercially unviable due to its long drying periods and laborious cutting processes, London Planes are usually met with the fate of a wood chipper. Machined, sliced and arranged into a herringbone parquet, Ogunnaike has used the wood to cover the entire surface of the gallery floor, giving it a rare new lease of life. Embedded into the site’s architecture, the floor invites the presence of people in the space, facilitating Ogunnaike’s desire to create situations for togetherness. 
 
Nodding to deceleration as an act of undoing, Tools, a crowbar cast in bronze and a London Plane mallet, lay prescient in the gallery. Imprinted on the crowbar’s surface are the traces of fingerprints, and with them the promise of its use. Evoking the physical actions of wrenching, breaking and pulling, the artist opens up the possibility of enacting further interventions over the duration of the project, inviting the audience to partake and bear witness to an unstable and active site. 
 
In London Plain, questions of labour, production and regeneration are integral to the artist’s gesture. If a parquet floor is an archetypal feature in the production of ornate space, Ogunnaike considers what it means to repurpose material excess for its making. As individual wooden tiles are gradually pulled up over time, the physical and symbolic dismantling of the floor alludes to a moment when the anticipation of physical encounters in public space conflicts with a need for cycles of withdrawal and pause. Speaking of the constant rhythms of consumption and flux in the city, Ogunnaike’s intervention proposes a slowing down –an interruption– to usual patterns of life and activity. 
 
Olu Ogunnaike is currently exhibiting in ‘Memory Game’, at Villa Lontana, Rome. The first episode from his film series ‘Drives’ was presented at Tate Modern, London as part of ‘ELC TV Dinner Episode III’. Solo exhibitions include ‘Nutrition for the Next’, at Jupiter Woods, London, (2018) and Let Me Just Put My Face On, Greatorex, London (2016) with selected group exhibitions in 2018 including  ‘...and their tooth, finest gold’, Les Urbaines, Espace Arlaud, Lausanne, ‘The Share of Opulence;Doubled; Fractional’, Sophie Tappenier, Vienna, ‘Le Colt est Jeune & Haine’, Doc, Paris and ‘The Way Things Run: Loose Ends Don’t Tie’, PS120, Berlin. Ogunnaike participated in the residency programme ‘Formerly Called’ at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge in 2018 and ‘The Conch’, South London Gallery in 2017.
 
Due to social distancing measures, the gallery can accommodate six visitors at one time. 
 
As of 16th of December 2020, bookings are temporarily closed in accordance with government guidelines.
 
 

Queer Correspondence

A community survey

Deadline for submissions: Friday 5 February 2021, 6pm

 
In December 2020, our mail-art initiative Queer Correspondence came to an end. Consisting of monthly commissions between June and December 2020, artists and writers were invited to begin correspondences that would establish connections between queer families: those who are already “in a queer time and place”. Delivered during a time when manifold restrictions have continuously changed the way we were able to be with one another, the use of mail-art as an offline form of artistic and discursive production sought to underscore, as much as to bridge, the distances between us; connecting us, while also disconnecting us.
 
Across seven months, we distributed over 4500 letter-sized artworks to more than 800 subscribers worldwide, including projects by: Alex Margo Arden & Caspar Heinemann, Beatriz Cortez & Kang Seung Lee, Ezra Green & Martin Hansen, rafa esparza, Gelare Khoshgozaran, David Lindert and Atiéna
 
In January 2021, we’re reflecting on the delivery of the project, its impact on our community and the lessons that can be learnt from producing alternative programming during the COVID 19 pandemic. As part of this process, we have put together a survey to hear back from our community of subscribers to Queer Correspondence.
 
We’re also keen to hear from those of you who might not have been able to sign up for a subscription, but still managed to engage with the project in other ways –in which case, you will be directed to a different feedback section of the survey. 
 
The average completion time for the survey is between 5-7 minutes. The deadline to submit your responses is Friday 5 February 2021, 6pm. If you encounter any issues or have any questions, please feel free to get in touch via email, info@cellprojects.org.
 
We would love to recieve responses from as many of you as possible, and as a gesture of gratitude we are gifting a special limited edition Queer Correspondence poster to the first 100 participants of the survey*. If you would like to be counted as part of the top 100 draw, you will be able to submit details at the end of the survey form. 
 
*Taking into account the overall geographical demographic of subscribers to Queer Correspondence, the 100 editions will be allocated as follows: 50 for UK-based subscribers, 30 for EU-based subscribers and 20 for worldwide subscribers.
 
 
Eliel Jones and Jesse Darling in queer correspondence
Saturday 14 February 2021
 
To accompany the evaluation of the project, Cell’s Associate Curator, Eliel Jones, and Berlin-based artist Jesse Darling, will be in queer correspondence –an opportunity to exchange thoughts on the offerings and limitations of mail-art, inviting others to join the conversation in the form of a public programme. The event will take place online, via Zoom. Further details, bookings and timings to be announced soon. 
 
The public conversation and limited-edition poster has been organised in collaboration with fluent, Santander, Spain, as part of their current exhibition lengua(s), 11 Dec 2020 – 19 Feb 2021. Queer Correspondence was made possible with the generous support of an Emergency Grant by Arts Council England.