This September, Alvaro Barrington will present Grandma’s Land, a major new body of work in which the artist returns to his early experience of life growing up in the Caribbean. For his third solo exhibition at the gallery, Barrington will take over the entirety of Sadies Coles HQ on Kingly Street in Soho, creating a total environment described by the artist as a ‘universe’. Centred on three monumental, hand-built architectural structures each installation draws on aspects of family life lived in the region; celebrating its diverse culture and landscape. Both in scale and subject, the project represents an ambitious expansion of themes that have endured since the beginning of Barrington’s career, of interwoven personal and cultural narratives and at their intersection: family, community, love, music and its vibrant materiality, as well as wider inspirations drawn from art history.
Opening immediately following the Notting Hill Carnival (27-28 August 2023) – during which Barrington will present a number of collaborative projects – Grandma’s Land will bring together new works conceived for the project that expand on the region’s traditions, alongside several made for this year’s Carnival. These encompass a range of media, including painting, drawing, wallpaper, installation and for the first time video. Throughout, Barrington uses traditional and non-traditional materials, such as timber and burlap, that speak to the ubiquitous materials used for housing structures in the Caribbean region; mirroring his enduring concern for how different medias can function as a visual tool and exist as a richly layered signifier of cultural and political histories.
As part of the exhibition, Barrington has invited his peer artists whose own diverse practices likewise pay homage to the Caribbean, its diaspora and Carnival culture to participate in the show. Two of the three structures will host works by artists Sonia Gomes and Paul Anthony Smith, creating a richly textured environment; reflecting the essence of collaboration at the centre of his practice. In addition, a new work by filmmaker Akinola Davies Jr. centred on the Notting Hill Carnival will be featured as part of the exhibition.
Alvaro Barrington, Grandma’s Land, Sadie Coles HQ, 62 Kingly Street W1, 2nd September – 21st October 2023 Private view: Saturday 2nd September, 6-8pm
About the artist
Alvaro Barrington (b. 1983, Caracas, Venezuela) studied at Hunter College in New York (2010-2013) and graduated with an MFA in painting from the Slade School of Art in 2017. Following his graduation, Barrington presented his first solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, curated by Klaus Biesenbach, for which his London studio was re-installed in its entirety at the institution (2017). Recent solo exhibitions include Spider the Pig, Pig the Spider, South London Gallery, London (2021); Wave Your Flags II, Sadie Coles HQ, London (2021); Wave Your Flags, The Tabernacle, London (2021); GARVEY: SEX LOVE NURTURING FAMALAY, Sadie Coles HQ, London and Tt X AB, Emalin, London (both 2019). He has been included in group exhibitions including Drawing Biennial 2021, Drawing Room and Cromwell Place, London (2021); 100 Drawings From Now, The Drawing Center, New York (2020); No horizon, no edge to liquid, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2020); Artists I steal from at Thaddeus Ropac, London, which he curated alongside Julia Peyton Jones, (2019); Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Run Part), 1: Loose Ends Don’t Tie, PS120, Berlin (2018); Widening the Gaze, Slade Research Centre, London (2018) and The Sleeping Procession, Cass Sculpture Foundation, West Sussex, England (2017). In Spring 2024, Barrington will create the Tate Britain Commission, a prestigious annual exhibition inviting artists to make a new work in response to Tate’s Collectio