LONDON

Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other

23 Sep 2021 – 12 Feb 2022

Free Exhibition
Curated by Renée Mussai, Mark Sealy and Bindi Vora

Book Tickets
ADDRESS

ADDRESS

Autograph
Rivington Place
London EC2A 3BA, UK

TICKETS

TICKETS

We are carefully managing visitor numbers in the the gallery, please book a free, timed ticket for your visit. Walk-ups to the gallery are also welcome.

OPENING TIMES

OPENING TIMES

Wed and Fri: 11am - 6pm
Thu: 11am - 9pm
Sat: 12 - 6pm

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

As we face the emotional, physical, economic, psychosocial and other consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and consider new ways of being in this time of global crisis, the notion of community and care is more pertinent than ever.

Located as the symbolic bond between care and community, the word ‘contagion’ – its original meaning being ‘together’, and ‘to touch’ – evokes images of close contact, as well as ideas of potential exposure and transmission. What are the new implications of touch, of close relationships between the self and the other, or the lack thereof in a time of isolation and separation? How might we be better together as a community in the future? How to protect those who risk their lives in their commitment to care for others, working on multiple frontlines? What kinds of support structures might we need, to help us navigate such unprecedented times, both collectively and individually?

Autograph commissioned ten UK-based visual artists – Mohini Chandra, Poulomi Desai, Joy Gregory, Othello De’Souza-Hartley, Sonal Kantaria, Ope Lori, Dexter McLean, Karl Ohiri, Silvia Rosi and Aida Silvestri – to create new work responding to the wider contexts of Covid-19, looking closely at their immediate environments. The interdisciplinary artworks they produced represent thoughtful reflections on changing conditions of existence: generous invitations for us to think about what it means to be human and to care for one another. Using primarily photography and video, the artists reflect both carefully and critically – and often very personally – on the impact of the pandemic, exploring ideas of loss, family, home, belonging and diaspora while considering different lived experiences, and the inevitability of change. The diverse range of works created for Care | Contagion | Community —Self & Other include a conceptual equation for humanity; intricate visual diaries; photo-action-paintings highlighting the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on communities of colour and essential workers; performative self-portraits; and experimental imagery inoculated with mould and bacterial growth, metaphors for the economics of care and control.

The ten artists’ work will be brought together for the first time in this group exhibition at Autograph’s gallery in Hackney.



EXHIBITION PREVIEW

Karl Ohiri, I + U = US, 2020. From the commission Equation for Humanity

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Aida Silvestri, Cacao, 2020. From the commission Contagion: Colour on the Front Line

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Mohini Chandra, film still [detail] from the commission Belated, 2020

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Othello De'Souza-Hartley, from Absence (triptych). From the commission Blind, but I can See

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Joy Gregory, from the commission Madam Photo, 2020

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Silvia Rosi, from the commission Neither Could Exist Alone, 2020

Sonal Kantaria, Dharti [detail], 2020. From the commission Ghar

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Dexter McLean, Kamahl [detail], 2020. From the Commission Untitled

Poulomi Desai, from the commission Our cultures are the portals - the gateways between one world and the next, 2020

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Ope Lori, film still [detail] from the commission The Lines Between Us, 2020

ABOUT THE Project

This exhibition is part of Autograph's 2020-21 commissioning project Care | Contagion | Community —Self & Other. Initiated during the first month of lockdown in March 2020, Autograph's curatorial team Mark Sealy, Renée Mussai and Bindi Vora spent a year working closely with ten UK-based artists to support the creation of new work. We also invited ten writers – each paired with one of the artists – to produce a short essay contextualising these artworks, and produced a series of interviews with each artist.

We recognise that not everyone is able to physically visit our gallery. In March 2021 we made the commissions and texts available online, marking a year since the first national lockdown in the UK.

artists

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Mohini Chandra

explores articulations of identity in globalised spaces, and the role of photography in relation to memory and migration. Her research-led visual arts practice is fuelled by a sustained interest in photographic histories and the processes of visual culture within colonial, anthropological and ethnographic discourses.

In her commission Belated, Chandra offers a visual mediation on ideas of place and belonging during the global pandemic.

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Poulomi Desai

is a multimedia artist whose activist community-based practice often utilises performance, language, photography, and sound to create art advocacy projects.

For Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other, Poulomi Desai created a series of images inoculated with bacteria, considering how we might attempt to control the uncontrollable. View her commission Our cultures are the portals - the gateways between one world and the next.

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Joy Gregory

is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice explores the wider cultural politics of identity, race and gender. Her practice employs photographic media – both analogue and digital – from still to moving image and camera-less photography alongside installation, objects and sound.

Gregory created Madam Photo for the commission, a diary-like series of photographic and textual fragments drawn from her daily walks and encounters during lockdown.

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Othello De’Souza-Hartley

is a visual artist whose artistic vocabulary encompasses photography, film, performance, sound, drawing and painting. Working across multiple interdisciplinary platforms, his practice is concerned with ideas around the human body as a site of embodiment, often engaging with self-portraiture, masculinity and vulnerability as visually performed ideas.

For Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other, De’Souza-Hartley reflected on the notion of stillness, loss and how to navigate grief in his series Blind, but I can See.

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Sonal Kantaria

is a British Indian visual artist whose practice explores themes of movement, settlement, representation, and cultural identity. Her interdisciplinary research-led practice is concerned with history, trauma, and memory, investigating different forms of resistance through photography, video and text.

Kantaria's commission Ghar considers what 'home' might mean during a global pandemic and how it relates to her cultural heritage.

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Ope Lori

works across visual arts, activism, and academia, using lens-based media to investigate politics of difference, often in relation to cultural and sexual identity. Her research-led practice, which includes writing as well as image-making, invites viewers to question power dynamics in both private and public spheres, routinely challenging societal stereotypes, and myths.

Ope Lori created two film works for the project, a performative exploration centred on a shared lineage of philosophy between father and daughter. View The Lines Between Us / I, Becoming You.

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Dexter McLean

is a photographer whose socially engaged practice is concerned with the representation of black and disabled communities. Drawing from his own lived experiences, he creates photographic portraits that emphasise the challenges and societal myths disabled people face in contemporary society.

McLean reflected on the impact Covid-19 has had on the community that surrounds him in his day-to-day life in his commission. View his series Untitled.

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Karl Ohiri

is a British Nigerian artist whose multifaceted practice focuses on the human condition and explores different social functions of art. Notions of self/other are central to his work, which routinely incorporates the use of photography, video, text and everyday.

For Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other, Ohiri developed a conceptual artwork that proposes a sociological equation for humanity. View his commission Equation for Humanity.

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Silvia Rosi

works with photography, text and moving image to explore ideas of memory, migration and diaspora. Inspired by West African studio photography, Rosi’s practice explores personal history through self-portraiture, drawing on her Togolese heritage and family traditions, especially matrilineality, and women’s labour.

In her commission, Rosi reflected on the different structures we build to protect ourselves and how the absence of touch can affect our social behaviour. View Neither Could Exist Alone.

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Aida Silvestri

creates mixed-media artworks that challenge the status quo of stigma, prejudice and social injustice in relation to issues of race, class, identity and health, often combining text, image and experimental techniques to manipulate the photographic surface.

For Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other, Silvestri created an experimental body of work that explores the impact of Covid-19 on frontline workers of colour, linking the present with the past. View her commission Contagion: Colour on the Front Line.

Book

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Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other

To accompany the exhibition, Autograph is publishing a new anthology featuring all 10 artist commissions and 22 texts. Join our mailing list to find out first about pre-orders for the book.

Join mailing list

YOUR VISIT

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Everyone is welcome at Autograph. We care about our visitors, staff, artists and community, and are keeping measures in place to help ensure a safe visit for everyone. Have a look at our Visit Us page, it has full information about Covid-19 safety and accessibility at Autograph.

ACCESSIBILITY

FACE COVERINGS

Help us keep everyone safe. If you are able to, please wear a face covering during your visit.

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Tickets

To ensure social distancing, we're asking visitors to pre-book a timed ticket. However, walk-ups to the gallery are also welcome.

SAFETY MEASURES

Accessible VEnue

Autograph welcomes people with all types of disabilities.

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Families

We warmly welcome families, and caregivers with buggies and prams.

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accessible Toilets

Each floor has an accessible toilet. All toilets are single-occupancy and unisex.

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Step free

Our building and entrance is step free. A wheelchair accessible lift goes to all floors.

discover more

One (Pandemic) Year On...

Autograph’s senior curator, Renée Mussai, reviews the artist and writing commissions for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other, contemplating the experience of 'pandemic time' and its impact on creative processes.

Read

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.

The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can take the survey here. Thank you!

supported by

Banner: Othello De'Souza-Hartley, from Absence (triptych) [detail]. From the commission Blind, but I can See, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care I Contagion I Community – Self & Other.

Exhibition preview: 1) Karl Ohiri, I + U = US, 2020. From the commission Equation for Humanity. Digital Black & White Fiber-Based Gloss Prints, each 12 x 16 in. © and courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other. 2) Aida Silvestri, Cacao, 2020. From the commission Contagion: Colour on the Front Line. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 3) Joy Gregory, from the commission Madam Photo, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 4) Dexter McLean, Kamahl [detail], 2020. From the commission Untitled, 2020. © and courtesy the artist. Commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion| Community — Self & Other. 5) Mohini Chandra, film still [detail] from the commission Belated, 2020 Film. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other. 6) Silvia Rosi, from the commission Neither Could Exist Alone, 2020. Archival giclée prints, each 8 x 8 inches. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 7) Poulomi Desai, from the commission Our cultures are the portals - the gateways between one world and the next, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care I Contagion I Community – Self & Other. 8) Othello De'Souza-Hartley, from Absence (triptych). From the commission Blind, but I can See, 2020. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care I Contagion I Community – Self & Other. 9) Sonal Kantaria, Dharti [detail], 2020. From the commission Ghar. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other. 10) Ope Lori, film still [detail] from the commission The Lines Between Us, 2020. Film, © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community – Self & Other.

Other page images: 1) Cover of Autograph's new anthology Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. 2) Rivington Place, home of Autograph. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell. 3) Tea , 2020. Tea and pigment ink on cotton fabric; 50 x 65 cm. From the commission Contagion: Colour on the Front Line. © and courtesy the artist, commissioned by Autograph for Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other.