Bitter Nostalgia | ITSLIQUID

Bitter Nostalgia

Art | December 13, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths

Bitter Nostalgia
Saatchi Gallery, London
November 30, 2022 – January 26, 2023

UK based Gallery BEERS London is pleased to present Bitter Nostalgia, with artists Hyangmok Baik and Adébayo Bolaji, at Saatchi Gallery, opening on 30 November through to 26 January 2023. Public admission to the exhibition on the Ground Floor of the Gallery will be free. The pairing of South Korean painter Hyangmok Baik (b. 1990) and British-Nigerian Adébayo Bolaji (b. 1983) offers a celebration of nostalgic themes as critical, thoughtful, and challenging. Both artists transcend factuality to incorporate concepts of memory, emotion, the past, and our processes of recollection as individuals and as the greater public.

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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths

By definition, nostalgia is a term with arguably pejorative connotations. To view the world through ‘rose-coloured glasses’ suggests an inability to remain critical or unbiased. Further, we’ve become trained sceptics; our cynicism is applauded, whereas unbridled optimism or joy is seen as somehow lacking in critical thinking or judiciousness. How does this reflect in the ways in which we record our past and personal histories?

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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths

It is often seen as the artist’s duty to record a more empathetic view of our life and times. But at what point do we become wary of such ‘sentimentalized’ versions of history? The musician sings; the author writes; the poet records in verse and line. But a painter’s duty is to recollect and record their emotional connectivity to a personal as well as a public sphere. Perhaps painting itself is a sort of ‘act of defiance’, whereby the mechanics of creation arise from an action and reaction to so-called cold actuality.

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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths

As a global community, we seem keen to shut out recent recollections of a pandemic, global warming, the LGBTQIA+ or BLM movements and/or reactionary groups, gun control, the death of HM the Queen, and various uprisings or other global catastrophes. Is it natural to want to recollect our pasts as inherently good? Or rather, to find and celebrate the goodness without reverting to schmaltziness? Both Baik and Bolaji aim to celebrate activism and our historicity through a critical lens and exuberant palette. Each artist handles these themes in related, albeit distinct methods, and this exhibition endeavours to explore this further.


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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths
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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths
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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths
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Image courtesy of Damian Griffiths

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