BEERS London presents Bitter Nostalgia, with artists Hyangmok Baik and Adébayo Bolaji, at Saatchi Gallery, from 1 December 2022 to 26 January 2023.[Above: Adebayo Bolaji ‘A Promised Land’, acrylic and oil pastel on linen canvas 600 x 230 cm, (2022). Photo: Damian Griffiths.]
It is often seen as the artist’s duty to record a more empathetic view of our life and times. But at what point do we become wary of such ‘sentimentalized’ versions of history? The musician sings; the author writes; the poet records in verse and line. But a painter’s duty is to recollect and record their emotional connectivity to a personal as well as a public sphere. Perhaps painting itself is a sort of ‘act of defiance’, whereby the mechanics of creation arise from an action and reaction to so-called cold factuality.
As a global community, we seem keen to shutout recent recollections of a pandemic, global warming, the LGBTQIA+ or BLM movements and/or reactionary groups, gun control, various global uprisings and myriad eco catastrophes. Is it natural to want to recollect the pasts as inherently good? Or rather, to find and celebrate the goodness without reverting to schmaltz?
Both Baik and Bolaji aim to celebrate activism and our historicity through a critical lens and exuberant palette. Each artist handles these themes in related, albeit distinct methods, and this exhibition endeavours to explore this further.
Hyangmok Baik, various works. Photography: Damian Griffiths
Adebayo Bolaji and Hyangmok Baik, ‘Bitter Nostalgia’ at Saatch Gallery. Photography: Damian Griffiths
The pairing of South Korean painter Hyangmok Baik (b. 1990) and British-Nigerian artist Adébayo Bolaji (b. 1983) offers a celebration of nostalgic themes as critical, thoughtful, and challenging. Both artists transcend factuality to incorporate concepts of memory, emotion, the past, and our processes of recollection as individuals and as the greater public.
It is the first time these two artists exhibit together.
Entrance is free.
51 Little Britain
London EC1A 7BH
Tues – Fri: 10am – 6pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Sun & Mon: Closed, or by appointment