Joining gallery sites in Mayfair and WharfRoad, London, Victoria Miro announces the opening of a new gallery, its fourth exhibition space, in Venice with a solo exhibition by Chris Ofili.
Entitled Poolside Magic the exhibition by Ofili, a British artist of Nigerian descent comprises a suite of pastel, charcoal and watercolour works on paper, which are being shown together for the first time. Poolside Magic, in which a man in coat-tails serves a naked woman beside a swimming pool, riffs on themes of sexuality, mutability, magic and the occult, making reference to the vibrant and sensuous landscape and culture of Trinidad, where the artist lives and works. Source material for the series includes a photograph of Trinidadian artist Boscoe Holder (1921 – 2007) at work in his Port of Spain studio.
Opening during the Vernissage for the 57th, 10 May 2017, the exhibition marks a return to the city for the artist. Ofili represented Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, when he presented his ambitious exhibition Within Reach, and in 2015 a suite of Ofili’s paintings was included in All The World’s Futures, the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor.
The new gallery will be housed in the former Galleria il Capricorno in the San Marco district of the city. First opened in 1971 by gallerist Bruna Aickelin, Galleria il Capricorno is renowned for showing key twentieth-century artists such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg and, later, international contemporary artists while attracting legendary figures such as Peggy Guggenheim to its quintessentially Venetian canalside location. Victoria Miro’s friendship with Aickelin is longstanding and, since the late 1990s, il Capricorno has staged solo exhibitions by gallery artists including Hernan Bas, Verne Dawson, NS Harsha, Chantal Joffe, Wangechi Mutu and Grayson Perry. Housed in a seventeenth-century building, in the heart of the San Marco district, the gallery has street and canal frontage.