Modern Art has announced an exhibition of new work by Frida Orupabo. This is her first solo exhibition with Modern Art.
Frida Orupabo’s works are, in some sense, solutions to problems; the problems being that certain images do not exist and need to be created. Working mainly with collage, but also spanning sculpture and video, Orupabo’s work synthesised fragments of bodies to reconstruct narratives and imagine new configurations of subjectivity denied by colonial legacies.
More often than not, the figures in Orupabo’s images are Black women, although the categorisation of gender, race and family heritage are not only questioned; they become the locus of her explorations. Mining digital archives mostly online, Orupabo’s process starts on a small-scale, collaging images on screen, but these often grow into much bigger, life-sized characters in the room. Enlarged, printed in tiles, cut out, and then pinned together, Orupabo’s process of combining images retains a hand-made simplicity, which carries within it a sense of possibility for play, experimentation and spontaneity.
This liveliness is joined by a depth of difficult emotion held in her subjects – rage, sadness, or desolation, for instance – whose faces stare back, as though to challenge their viewers to a duel. Orupabo’s exhibition at Modern Art contains several new and recent wall-based collages, but also includes video work and sculpture, bringing together the multiple facets of her practice and elucidating her ways of thinking through making.
Frida Orupabo, Things I saw at night, Modern Art Helmet Row, 25th March – 20th May 2023
About the artist
Born in Norway of dual Norwegian and Nigerian heritage, Orupabo began making collages in her early twenties as a means to work through her own complex relationship to home and identity. Later, Orupabo studied sociology and worked as a social worker, and began to publish her archive of collected and reconstructed images on Instagram. Her account, @nemiepeba, began anonymously and quietly as a collection of working images for a small audience, but soon grew in its following. Since her inclusion in Arthur Jafa’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in 2017, Orupabo has exhibited widely internationally.
Frida Orupabo was born in 1986 in Sarpsborg and lives and works in Oslo. Selected solo exhibitions include Nicola Vassell Gallery, New York, NY, USA (2022); Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland (2022); Kunsthall Trondheim, Norway (2021); Hours After, Stevenson, Johannesurg, South Africa (2020); Medicine for a Nightmare, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; The Mouth and the Truth, Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2019); and A House is a House, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, Germany (2019). Selected group exhibitions include Kiasma Finnish National Gallery, Oslo, Norway (2022); Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden (2021); Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa (2021); Huis Marseille, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2020); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2019), Serpentine Gallery, London (2017). She has
participated in the Munch Triennial, Munchmuseet, Oslo, Norway (2022); 34th Bienal de São Paulo, Fundação Bienal, São Paulo, Brazil (2021); and the 58th International Art Exhibition, Biennale Arte, Venice, Italy (2019).