BENJI REID: LAUGH AT GRAVITY
3 September – 8 October 2021, October Gallery, London
Going Home (detail), 2019
Benji Reid, Mercurial Child, 2019.
Laugh at Gravity is Benji Reid’s first solo exhibition at October Gallery. This highly anticipated exhibition follows the artist’s showcase at the 2019 edition of AKAA (Also Known As Africa), Paris and the 2020 edition of ICTAF (Investec Cape Town Art Fair) where the artist’s work enthralled audiences.
Benji Reid considers himself a Choreo-Photolist; a term he coined to encapsulate his unique practice where choreography, photography and theatricality meet in the image. Reid’s breathtaking photographs, composed primarily of self-portraits in incredible, anti-gravitational poses using a medley of props, draw the audience into a different dimension. In the hyper-realities he presents the subject is illuminated by acts of the artist’s imagination. Whether exploring life as an outsider, issues surrounding mental health or the complexities of fatherhood, Reid invites the audience into the discussion.
Lord of Manny, 2019
Each perfectly poised portrait, set against vividly suggestive backdrops and adorned with fantastical objects, still suggests the recognisable world we all inhabit. Yet familiar objects like a paddle, a sparkler or a stool somehow transform to transport the viewer into an alternative reality, which while offering protection suggests undreamt of possibilities for real liberation.
The photographer Robert Golden describes in detail how Reid ‘’turns the trashcan into a rocket, he will use motors contrived to fly higher and faster than the crowd. His anti-gravitational mysteries, which fail to reflect the ‘real’ world as it seems to be, does what fine art can do in troubled times. He makes us smile – a victory in itself, but more, he provides a greater reality, one worthy of his talent.’’