For the past year, Esiri Erheriene-Essi (London, 1982) was concerned with the idea of performance. How an event – in which a character or a group of characters behave in a particular way – has resonance and impacts, or even creates, another group of people – the audience. She is interested in people and their reactions to events, simple or complex. But she also takes their reactions out of context in order to make a new narrative by simply editing the information.
Esiri Erherienne-Essi is curious as to how things, manipulated and taken out of its comfort zone, can heighten the silent medium of painting – because of gaps in sequence. How an image, due to certain material being left out takes on a more eerie and ominous tone, even if there was no evidence to suggest this beforehand.


In the show at Gallery Ron Mandos, the collected works suggest that some sort of performance is under way. A performance, theatrical or not, usually has dividing lines, between watching and participation, between the beginning and the end and within all of this, there is a dramatic curve. But this ‘show’ is silent, the dividing lines are blurred or even eradicated, there is no beginning or end, nor a build up and there are no antagonists or protagonists to help decipher the haphazard ‘plot’. There is just the event – frozen, fixed and silent.
A huge part of her practice entails collecting and creating an archive of material, which could potentially become incorporated into her work. Esiri is interested a great deal by history – in particularly images, objects, and documents which we can return to, in order to examine both individual and shared memories and histories. This archive is important to her, as it is through this link that she continuously questions and plays with the order, the discrepancies, the silences, the interruptions and the assaults of the historical narrative. With hindsight, bias and curiosity she takes these silences and discrepancies and attaches them to characters and give them a lot of noise, keeping them moving in as many directions as possible.

Esiri Erheriene-Essi recently graduated from the prestigious postgraduate residency De Ateliers in Amsterdam. In 2009 she won The Dutch Royal Prize for Painting.

Also on show will be new work of Dwight Marica (Vlaardingen, 1973). His work is extremely diverse; he works with various kinds of media such as painting, sculpture and installations. His point of departure is the quest for total freedom, both in the methods he uses and in what he presents to the viewer. As a spectator, you have to let go of your preconceived ideas in order to perceive differently. By letting go, but also by latching on to the intensity of the process, the viewer can experience the freedom Marica aspires to.

ABOUT Esiri Erheriene-Essi

Born in 1982 in London, United Kingdom
Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Esiri Erheriene-Essi is predominately a painter of mid to large-scale paintings concerned with figuration, history and society. She is captivated by history – in particular, images, objects, and documents which we can return to, in order to examine both individual and shared memories and histories. A large part of her practice entails collecting and creating an archive, which could potentially become incorporated into her work. Archives are important to the artist as they create links and orders that she can question and play with – she searches for the discrepancies, the silences, in order to, through painting, create interruptions and assaults on the canonical historical narrative. With hindsight, bias and curiosity, she takes these discordances and brings them up to the surface. Erheriene-Essi continuously re-edits the narratives with the hope of robbing history of some of its tyrannical power by creating new scenarios. Or rather, she is incessantly attempting to imagine more humane and liberating narratives than what has gone before. In the process she perhaps slightly changes our readings of history and thereby shows how we write the present.

In her work, Erheriene-Essi makes many references to popular culture, because popular culture is profoundly mythic and loaded. The canvases she makes are a theatre of popular desires and fantasies, where we all can discover and play with the process of identification. These ‘theatrical scenes’ show the imagined as well as the underrepresented, not only to the viewer but also to the artist herself. The paintings ‘play’ in their own way – they are telling a story, even though the scenes have no beginning, middle or end – they are cut off mid flow, out of context, are frozen, silent and still. Yet they have ‘sound’ as if they are performing and want to be heard. The audience is continuously invited to watch as well as to try and decipher the haphazard plot in which characters are encased in. The good thing about performing on canvas is that anything is possible – and that is what intrigues Erheriene-Essi the most.