Exeter Phoenix is pleased to present Ndungu, Isca – a solo show by British artist, writer and curator Cedar Lewisohn that spans printmaking, drawing, video and bookworks.
Lewisohn is a magpie-like collector of imagery, exploring cultural narratives from various historic positions and trawling art history for works that resonate with him, often on a visceral, unmediated level. He views history as a collapsible archive to be scrutinised and explored, not necessarily in a strict linear form, unifying disparate fragments through renderings in his own visual language. He aims to draw out new personal narratives from both artworks and objects; narratives that conventional interpretation might not allow.
Often inspired by museum collections, his appropriation of objects and images can be seen to mirror the ways in which they were, in turn, appropriated from their original sources by (or for) museums. Here, Lewisohn presents new works responding to artefacts from the World Cultures collections of Exeter’s Royal Albert memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM). These works include his drawing of a West African Ndungu mask – a Janus-faced, judge or executioner who looks both forwards and backwards at once – which, grafted together with the word Isca (the Roman name for the city of Exeter), forms the title of the exhibition.
The exhibition forms part of Art Week Exeter (13-20 May) – a citywide festival of visual art and has been made possible due to generous research support from the Royal Albert memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM).