Inner Visions encompasses a series of exclusive launches conceived by acclaimed critic and curator Larry Ossei-Mensah. The project sees Larry meditate on the capacity for art to — often wordlessly — express the inner visions of its maker.
The second instalment draws parallels between a sculptor and painter on account of the shared rigour and verve with which they address the figure, and the care and creativity imbued in their respective practices. Tau Lewis and Ludovic Nkoth have each fruitfully tested the limits of their chosen medium, with spectacular results that attest the breadth and depth of the Black Diaspora.
The works explore the liminal space between edition and original, familiar ground for both Larry and Avant Arte, and mark the second time the two have collaborated with artists to expand the pre-existing scope of their oeuvres.
“With Nkoth and Lewis, both exude a heightened level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Their physical involvement can be tangibly felt in every work from the series. In line with Avant Arte’s commitment to making unique editions available to the next generation of collectors, Inner Visions allows a new audience authentic, unprecedented access to the work of these inspiring artists.” – Larry Ossei-Mensah
Tau Lewis: The Church of Mantic Plants
Tau Lewis’ work is abundantly detailed — tactile, transformative and terrestrial. She works predominantly with fabric and leather to create “soft portraits” using a broad range of techniques from sewing to carving. The labour-intensive processes act as a symbolic mode of healing. By upcycling “not just materials but also circumstances, sound and words,” Lewis establishes a beguiling mode of figuration that exists beyond time and space.
This series is very much rooted in and pulling from the imaginary, but made with commonplace materials.
The Church of Mantic Plants is a series of 20 unique, individually-named sculptures, stitched by hand in Tau’s Brooklyn studio from an assemblage of textiles including cows leather, pig suede, sheep suede and shearling.
The series will be accompanied by a leather-bound monograph containing drawings of all 20 works alongside a collection of short poems and writings by the artist.
“Avant Arte exists to support artists, and allow them to explore new possibilities for their practice. Tau’s sculptures are different to anything we’ve launched before, and we’re all super excited to explore this new territory with such an inspiring artist.” – Christian Luiten, co-founder of Avant Arte.
Ludovic Nkoth: All Aboard
Nkoth’s paintings are a celebration of Black pride and familial resilience, anchored to a profound appreciation for the power of collective cultural memory. Recalling the work of artists from the Harlem Renaissance like Charles White as well as European expressionists like Egon Schiele, Nkoth layers fabric and sand onto canvas along with fluid washes of pigment to create expressive tributes to his family and friends.
I hope that through my practice I can teach viewers new ways of looking and understanding the meanings of our culture, keeping it alive and regaining our power.
An edition of 50 representing Ludovic’s first ever print release, All Aboard is an 18-colour sceenprint based on an original painting from Ludovic’s You Sea Us series. 20 works from the edition of 50 will be hand-finished by the artist in acrylic paint and marker pen.
Comprising 5 figures, each looking outwards from the chaos of their voyage in search of ancestral guidance and protection, the work explores the multifaceted relationship of Black bodies to water.
“I’ve been a fan of Ludovic for a while, but hearing him talk about the inspirations and meaning of the work we’re launching helped me appreciate the power of his painting even more — there is so much depth to his practice and references.” – Christian Luiten, co-founder of Avant Arte.
In March 2021, the first instalment of Larry Ossei-Mensah’s curated series introduced hand-finished editions from Grace Lynne Haynes, Ferrari Sheppard and Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe. Find out more about Inner Visions.
Studio shoots – Oresti Tsonopoulos, Jack Pearce.
Edition photography – Matt Grubb.