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International Artist-in-Residence Program
New Works: 99.3
Oladˇlˇ Ajiboyˇ Bamgboyˇ, London, England
Liisa Roberts, New York, NY
Chris Sauter, Boerne, TX
Thursday, September 9, 1999, 6:00-7:30 PM
Moderated by Okwui Enwezor, Artistic Director of Documenta XI
Thursday, September 9, 1999, 7:00-9:00 PM
September 10-October 17, 1999
Brown Bag Lunch
Wednesday, October 6, 1999, 12:00-1:00 PM
Join us for a tour of New Works: 99.3 and a brown bag lunch provided by Pecan Street
Deli. Please call ArtPace for additional information and to make reservations.
About the Artist
Oladˇlˇ Ajiboyˇ Bamgboyˇ was selected for ArtPace's International Artist-in-Residence
Program by curator and cultural critic Okwui Enwezor, the Artistic Director of
Documenta XI and Adjunct Curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Since graduating as a chemical engineer in the mid-1980s, Bamgboyˇ has
successfully sustained an independent practice spanning the fields of fine arts,
philosophy, cultural theory and exhibition curating. Since the mid-1990s, his work has
explored a range of issues surrounding representation, including black masculinity,
sexuality and African art. His visual installations have taken many forms, integrating
video and photography and moving between documentation and performance. An
ongoing interest in technology, particularly in relation to African art, has driven his most
recent work, including his presence on the web
Born in 1963 in Nigeria, Oladˇlˇ Ajiboyˇ Bamgboyˇ lives and works in London,
England, where he studied at Slade College of Fine Art, University College. His work
has been exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at Slade College of Art and
Gallery One, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal. Group exhibitions have included In/Sight:
African Photographers 1940-present at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY;
the 1997 Johannesburg Biennial, South Africa; Documenta X, Kassel,
Germany; and the 1998 Dakar Biennial, Senegal.
About the Installation
Bamgboyˇ's new work at ArtPace operates in the realm of interactive software, which
viewers can access via computer workstations placed in the gallery. The artist's work
began with research on a bronze bust known as the "Queen Mother Head," from Benin,
Nigeria. Dating from the late 15th to early 16th century A.D., the bronze is considered
one of the best examples of its type and is now housed in the Liverpool Museum, which
continues to generate controversy.
Bamgboyˇ became fascinated by the technology and modes of production
surrounding the bronze ?om the iron plants in Africa where the raw materials were
culled, to the ceremonial rituals for which the object was intended, to its transformation
into a cultural artifact preserved in a museum, to the mass duplication and
commodification of copies circulated in the form of souvenirs and, finally, to its current
manifestation as an image on the Internet. In this most recent mode, the authenticity and
ownership of the object ?ce held exclusively by the museum ?e rendered
ambivalent, as the technological innovations allow anyone to access, copy, manipulate
and redistribute images of the "unique" object.
This interest in technology, representation and ownership led Bamgboyˇ to develop a
digital 3-d model of the bronze "Queen Mother Head" for an Internet-based work in
which audience members can enter into the matrix of production and reproduction
described above. By spinning, dragging, magnifying, copying and otherwise altering the
object, the viewer exercises control, and even ownership, over the object in a way that is
precluded within the traditional museum framework.
As museums increase their presence on the web through virtual tours of collections,
issues of accessibility, uniqueness and ownership become increasingly complex.
Bamgboyˇ's project at ArtPace heightens the artist's concerns about cultural
commodification and the impact of technology. In the coming world of virtual experience
though technology, what will an authentic cultural experience be?
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