Earthy reds and browns mingle with soothing blues and greens to create swirling, dancing figures amidst sumptuous textiles. Then there are dreamy, floating women – rendered against marbled, inky skies, at once substantial yet ethereal, buoyant in smoky spires.Elsewhere, children stand against sombre backdrops. Against the velvet darkness they shine with life, adorned in fantastic costumes and headpieces, the light catching on them in bursts of colour. Gates of Horn and Ivory (11 August – 23 September) at Kristin Hjellegjerde Berlin presents the works of Florine Demosthene, Lizette Chirrimeand Iwajla Klinke. Through their diverse yet complimentary practices, identities are parsed and reworked, while the title takes its cue from Ancient Greece, a time when true dreams and false were seen to pass through horn and ivory respectively: what we see may beguile as equally as it may enlighten.
The work of Cape Town-based Mozambique artist Lizette Chirrime is at once empowering and therapeutic. “I grew up under very harsh conditions, angry and afraid of life and with no self-esteem,” she says. “These abstract forms evoke the human body and my identity-responsive practice is where I refashion my self-image and transcend a painful upbringing that left me shattered an broken.” Creating large-scale, abstract textile pieces, she very literally ‘re-stitches’ herself back together to create liberated, uplifting figures dancing on the canvas. “These figures bring to mind well-dressed African women celebrating,” she says. “My work is guided and influenced by water, the female, and a combination of happiness and sadness.” Chirrime’s work also reflects her strong connection to nature. “In a sense, woman is a soul that bares a fruit called the human,” she says. “If the soul is neglected, so too the soil bares disconnected fruit. This disconnection leads to neglect, to violence. We need to be reminded that we are made to love, to nourish light and hope. Nature, beauty, life and death: they are all interconnected.”