Kobby Adi. Cloisters & Instruments

1 May 2024 – 25 Aug 2024

Regular hours

14:00 – 20:00
14:00 – 20:00
14:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 20:00
12:00 – 18:00

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Swiss Institute

New York
New York, United States

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Swiss Institute is pleased to present Cloisters & Instruments, the first institutional solo exhibition in the US by London-based artist Kobby Adi. The exhibition brings together a focused selection of newly commissioned works in the expanded field of film and sculpture.

The exhibition is centered upon Adi’s latest film, Cloisters (2023/24). The silent 16mm film depicts apples in various states of decay, shot on film stocks that are themselves in multiple states of deterioration. Viewers can encounter the film across three sites in New York in different media formats: as a projection in SI’s lower-level gallery; as medical grade DVDs that can be borrowed from Tompkins Square Library and viewed at home; and, following the conclusion of the exhibition, as film prints that can be physically handled and loaned from the Reserve Film and Video Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Additionally shown in the gallery are documents confirming Adi’s gifting of the DVDs and film prints to the respective latter locations. Drawing on legacies of various experimental art movements, from structural film to conceptual art and institutional critique, Adi emphasizes the material conditions of filmic production as well as the entangled institutional networks that govern the terms of filmic reception, distribution, and storage.

Other works in the exhibition spatially articulate SI’s building in ways that unsettle the hegemonic grammars of the aforementioned art movements through performative allusions to West African animist metaphysics. Dispersed across all floors, All splashing and pouring (2024) is marked by uniform wall labels that detail the work’s title and specifications in SI’s institutional formatting, placed near locations where water does, or could potentially, spill. A ritualistic embodiment of libation ceremonies, where liquids such as palm wine are poured on the ground to invoke the more-than-human presence of ancestral spirits and deities, the work — as an indefinite score and devotional refrain — challenges and exceeds the presumably physical dimensions of the given architectural space. Two works both titled Instrument (2024) feature polymeters (devices containing both a thermometer and hygrometer) that have been altered to have their measuring scales removed. Left blank with active dials, the sculptures remain mystically suggestive as to what or who is being measured and detected.

Through aesthetic strategies that are by turns critical and poetic as well as materialist and spiritual, Adi’s works disrupt and expand the spatiotemporal conditions determining the relations between the artwork, the viewer, and the site of encounter.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Kobby Adi


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