Body of Water
Exposition de Osi Audu


Skoto Gallery is pleased to present « Body of Water » an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Osi Audu. This will be the first solo show of the artist’s works in New York. The reception for the artist is scheduled for Thursday, September 7th, 6-8pm.

Artist’s Statement
Objects, being man-made can be seen, just like myths, as extensions of the human psyche. Their shapes often refer, and sometimes only metaphorically, to the human image. There seems to be something of ourselves, a self-recognition of sorts, in the objects we collect. We somehow manage to store our memory of past experiences and sentiments in some of these objects as they function very intimately in every facet of our lives whether psychologically, spiritually or practically.
It is my interest in objects as containers that I am exploring in this exhibition titled BODY OF WATER. My focus is on the containers we use for water. I see a correlation between these and the scientific idea that the human body contains 75% water.
The nature and origin of human life obviously remains a mystery. I see myths as metaphoric ways in which the human psyche tries to engage with unfathomable aspects of being. The myth of the mermaid, for example, I believe, is a reference to the fact that human life originated from water, perhaps just the seminal fluid, but there is an echo of Darwin’s theory here; and the fact that scientifically, the human body is 75% water. There is also a lot of research to support the idea that hydration levels in the body have a direct effect on mental performance and the health of the body.
Therefore the human body can be referred to as a « Body of Water » and metaphorically speaking, as a mermaid or merman depending on gender.
Human language is rich in imagery in the way we use objects to refer to states of mind and parts of the body. For example the mind is referred to as marbles in such statements as « loosing one’s marbles », and the head as the « seat » of consciousness, the state of anxiety as having « butterflies in the stomach », and a feeling of boldness or bravery as « having the bottle ».
I have always found the imagery implicit in such metaphoric language and myths very fascinating. The physical implications of these concepts can be infinitely engaging, and they provide endless inspiration for my work.
Visually, I am intrigued by the light-refracting qualities of water in a transparent/translucent container. Aesthetically I am exploring the contrast between shiny graphite surfaces and matte, sometimes colorful, pastel surfaces. Occasionally I affect the tension between those two surfaces with the physicality of found objects, i.e. wool, hair, sound recordings or some kinetic mechanism. This has resulted in work that has often been described as two-dimensional sculpture. This is due more to a sculptural attitude in the way I perceive my work as occupying a « three-dimensional » virtual space that is mentally traversable.
My interest in water and the human form stems from my research into OLOKUN MUD ART of Benin during my undergraduate studies at the University of Ife, Nigeria. Beyond the entrancing and gently undulating forms of the human figure, and the obvious associations made between water in the sea, wealth and general well-being, I was fascinated by the way a form of consciousness is assigned to the sea as « Olokun » i.e. goddess of the sea.
We live on a wet planet. In these days when hurricanes, floods, tsunamis and issues of global warming have become rather rampant, through my work I am contributing to the discourse on this phenomenal relationship that exits between water and the human body, and indeed the nature of human consciousness itself.