Skip to content

Chris Ofili’s new paintings at Tate Britain: thumbs up or down?

February 5, 2010

No elephant dung, no glitter, no textured, collaged surfaces. It’s all a bit of a shock. But do we like Ofili’s new work?

Chris Ofili

The Raising of Lazarus 2007, by Chris Ofili, whose exhibition at Tate Britain, London, opens on 27 January Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex Features

I’d seen some of Chris Ofili‘s new work in the lavish new Rizzoli book he has helped put together. Even so, after walking past so many greatest hits and old friends in the galleries at London’s Tate Britain, where his latest career survey opens to the public tomorrow, I got a jolt when I walked into the final pair of rooms, filled with his most recent work. In the first, the paintings are entirely blue – deep, midnight shades of indigo, ultramarine and bilberry. In the second, the paintings are screaming with acid colours: strident purple next to citrus orange; a tintinnabulating turquoise; egg-yolk yellow. And there is no elephant dung. And no glitter.

I have to confess I’m a bit of an Ofili fan. I’ve always loved the unashamedly stuff-encrusted surfaces of his paintings. So it’s a bit odd to see works stripped of their jewels, so to speak.

I’m still figuring out whether I like the new work, which is steeped in the landscape and mysterious atmosphere of Trinidad, where Ofili has lived and worked since 2005. The moment I walked into the final room of the show my heart, I have to confess, sank. Then I looked at the paintings a bit more, and concluded that I kind of liked them. Then I was sure again.

Read more at: Ofili’s new paintings: thumbs up or down?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: