Artist Meet and Greet: Saturday, June 4 from 2pm to 4pm
Please contact the gallery to register to attend.
About Material Remains
I construct speculative objects that echo within a residual future and the reminiscent present. These objects interrupt urban spaces, appearing to be foreign bodies, parts of an unknown whole, or agents of change. – Eto Otitigbe
Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Materiel Remains: Consider this a blueprint, a series of blueprints., a solo exhibition and a new series of works by the multidisciplinary artist Eto Otitigbe. A creator best known for his public art installations and site-specific interventions, Otitigbe’s work revolves around the recovery of lost or repressed historical narratives and their visual possibilities within the public eye. In his first solo exhibition with Morton Fine Art, Otitigbe reflects on the recent history of public art and its institutional deployment. Materiel Remains will be on view from May 28 – June 28, 2022 in MFA’s Washington, D.C. gallery.
In his work as a painter, sculptor, curator and fabricator, Otitigbe distorts the materialist distinction between blueprint and artifact, as well as the functional and contextual differences between monuments for posterity and temporary obstructions. Assuming a temporal framework that unravels intent and disaggregates historical coherence, the artist recognizes history as a grand artifice formed from the selective privileging of facts. In this conceptual vision, the role of the monument becomes a manifestation of historical record, visualizing and physically implementing preconceived narratives into present public space while making room for echoes of the past to take shape. Otitigbe’s thoughtful, tactile inversions take on the parlance and pose of public art while tacitly alienating in their collective messaging, creating specific objects that are both recognizable and not, and which play around themes of race, imperialism and historical teleology to excavate forgotten pasts and evoke new futures.
Materiel (sometimes, matériel) refers to equipment, apparatuses, or supplies which are strategically deployed by an institution or group. Primarily a military term, the artist’s co-option of the word in reference to his own work draws attention to the tactility and provenance of his gallery works, as well as the specific geographies of the sites they refer to. Through the incision of engravature, and in traces of paint which stipple each work like a remnant, Otitigbe explores hidden sides of the same artifacts – rummaging through the residue of the large-scale public sculpture projects he’s made over the past four years to rememorialize them from ambiguous perspectives. His fusion of mixed media drawings, sculptural objects, and plate engravings create a new form in turn, somewhere between an object’s schematic conception and its material realization.
By placing in dialogue the conceptual frameworks, design blueprints, specific histories and local landscapes which led to the realization of each work of public art as a discrete interactive form, Otitigbe unearths a profoundly materialist study of modern signifiers in public space. In his current public projects – including his work as a member of the Design Team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville – Otitigbe has been involved in what theorists of Afrofuturism might term “countermemory”: assemblages which contest the colonial archive to establish the historical character of Black culture. In this current exhibition, Otitigbe collects the remains of these projects for a study of the materiel in the imaginative inquest of a future archaeologist: attempting to both trace and fuse the phenomena of recent history into a blueprint for the previously unseen, as well as to posit new futurist perspectives from which to study and critique the recent past.
About ETO OTITIGBE
Eto Otitigbe is interested in recovering buried narratives and giving form to the unseen. He is a polymedia artist whose interdisciplinary practice includes sculpture, performance, installation, and public art. Otitigbe’s public works includes temporary installations in Socrates Sculpture Park (Queens, NY) and Randall’s Island Park (New York, NY). His current public commissions include: Peaceful Journey (Mt. Vernon, NY, 2022); Cascode (Philadelphia, PA); Emanativ (Harlem, NY); Passing Point (Alexandria, VA). He was a member of the Design Team for the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA (Charlottesville, VA) where he contributed to the creative expression on the memorial’s exterior surface.
Otitigbe’s work has been in solo and group exhibitions that include 2013 Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial, organized by the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill; Abandoned Orchestra, Sound Sculpture installation and performance with Zane Rodulfo, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; The Golden Hour, Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta, GA, curated by Oshun D. Layne; and Bronx: Africa, Longwood Gallery, Bronx, NY, curated by Atim Oton and Leronn P. Brooks.
Otitigbe’s fellowships and awards include the CEC Artslink Project Award for travel and cultural projects in Egypt and the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art where he explored the intersection of Urhobo language and historical objects.
His curatorial projects include directing the es ORO Gallery in Jersey City, NJ (2007-09) and co-curating, alongside Amanda Kerdahi, the Topophilia Exhibition in Nees, Denmark (2017) as part of the ET4U Meetings Festival in Denmark.
He is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Art Department at Brooklyn College. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an M.S. in Product Design from Stanford University (M.S.) and an MFA in Creative Practice from the University of Plymouth.
He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2022.
About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.
Morton Fine Art founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.
Gallery hours: By appointment only. Mask required.
Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St NW #302.