Exhibition

Lonnie Holley: All Rendered Truth

5 Jul 2024 – 15 Sep 2024

Regular hours

Friday
11:00 – 18:00
Saturday
11:00 – 18:00
Sunday
11:00 – 18:00
Tuesday
11:00 – 18:00
Wednesday
11:00 – 18:00
Thursday
11:00 – 21:00

Free admission

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Camden Art Centre

London
England, United Kingdom

Address

Travel Information

  • 13
  • Finchley Road, Hampstead
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Camden Art Centre is delighted to present a major institutional solo show by American artist and musician, Lonnie Holley (b.1950, Birmingham, Alabama).

About

The exhibition will centre new works made during a production residency in the UK earlier this year, alongside previously unseen sculptures made at The Mahler and LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy in 2023. A celebrated musician, Holley will perform a live concert at Camden Art Centre on 5 July.

Active across more than four decades, Holley is recognised as an important figure in the Black Art tradition from the southern states of America, as well as a significant artist in the mainstream of international twentieth century and contemporary art. He has a visionary capacity to intuit and reveal to others the significance, symbolism and meaning of the overlooked and discarded. He learned how to make art as a child in the ‘creeks and ditches’ around his home in Alabama where he would dig for worms and find buried objects. As if connected to the regenerative cycles of decomposing organic matter in the soil, and in an act of recuperation, he introduces a redemptive aspect to rejected objects, giving them dignity and new life.

Holley finds beauty in what is immediately at hand, compulsively improvising to convey his meaning ‘by any means necessary’. Influenced from an early age by American culture—sneaking through back doors or sewer pipes to the drive-in cinema and Alabama State Fairground or working at Disneyland Orlando—Holley’s primary material has been the iconography and cultural refuse of Americana, signifying the failed promise of the American dream. A recent production residency in Suffolk has enabled him to direct this methodology to objects and materials salvaged here in the UK, including brambles and Victorian glass apothecary bottles, bringing new narratives into play.

With immense generosity and a willingness to share his experiences with others, Holley’s work is infused with, and highly conditioned by, his own journey—including the poverty and hardships of his early childhood, his immersion in the civil rights movement, the legacies of slavery, and the systematic oppression and exploitation of Black people. Whilst being deeply rooted to a specific, traumatic place and past, Holley speaks with hope and humility to universal concerns, projecting an inspirational message about how to live a life well and to prepare a world for future generations. The work speaks powerfully about our shared humanity, but also what is beyond the human condition, expressed through his deep love of the natural world which extends to other organisms, life-forms, the planets and stars. As the artist often asserts, his work gives a ‘thumbs up to mother universe’.

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Lonnie Holley

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