Victoria Miro to present The Seven Deadly Sins, a major new series of paintings by Chris Ofili. Completed over the past six years, the works on view offer an expansive meditation on sin and the complex experience of sinfulness.
In this series of works, Chris Ofili contemplates the seven deadly sins – a subject with Biblical origins that bears fundamentally on the human condition and human behaviour. The artist intended each painting not to cleave to a particular sin, but to encompass a spectrum of excessive and transgressive behaviours. Moving through dreamlike realms at once paradisiacal, other-worldly and cosmic, these works depict scenes where humans and mythological creatures co-exist. The natural world is fecund and mysterious in this territory of sinfulness, a place where magnetic forces of attraction and repulsion hold sway. It seems born of a liminal, trance-like state, perhaps between wake and sleep, when strange visions swim up into the mind’s eye from a creative, playful place in the unconscious that has little to do with the strictures of rationality.
Chris Ofili: The Seven Deadly Sins, 2nd June–29th July 2023, Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London
Accompanying the exhibition is a new publication: Ofili invited seven writers – Hilton Als, Inua Ellams, Marlon James, Anthony Joseph, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Attillah Springer and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye – to contribute to this book. Like Ofili’s paintings, their poems and narratives are not confined to illustrating single sins but meditate, personally and expansively, on the seven deadly sins.
About the artist
Christopher Ofili, CBE is a British painter who is best known for his paintings incorporating elephant dung. He was Turner Prize-winner and one of the Young British Artists. Since 2005, Ofili has been living and working in Trinidad and Tobago, where he currently resides in the city of Port of Spain.
Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, England, in 1968. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea School of Art in 1991 and his MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art in 1993. His most recent solo exhibitions include Chris Ofili: Harvest at Victoria Miro Venice (2022) and Chris Ofili: The Othello Prints, Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, New York (2019).
Major solo exhibitions of the artist’s work have been presented at international venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2017–2019); National Gallery, London (2017); New Museum, New York (2014), travelling to Aspen Art Museum (2015); The Arts Club of Chicago (2010); Tate Britain, London (2010 and 2005); Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2006), The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2005), and Serpentine Gallery, London (1998). The artist represented Britain in the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 and won the Turner Prize in 1998.