Cadenza 2023, Lagos Nigeria
A Cadenza is a section of improvised music that is performed within a classical piece of music. It is a point of personal flourish and experimentation, a means of giving new life to the antiquated. As a pianist, who is professionally immersed in the contemporary art world, I sought to find a confluence between classical music and fine art; after all, both have historically informed one another and share the qualities of flow, movement, structure, harmony and ornamentation. Cadenza seemed to be an ideal starting point, because the idea of improvisation alludes to the reappraising of art histories, in order to arrive at new and imagined territories. The exhibiting artists have thus delved into the lineages of painting, photography, sculpture and classical music, and have utilised their findings in building technical passages towards self-discovery. Jonah Bulus’ abstract paintings bear the backbone of drip technique, married with intentional strokes, to represent nature as an ever-abundant antidote to the perils of the human condition. Beguiled by the works of symbolist artist Gustave Klimt, Ojeaga paints in a manner that luminates the cultural practice of wearing textiles, a visual testament to the richness of African customs, traditions. Furthermore, his meticulous painterly lines draw his subjects close together, revealing the nuances of social interactions. ... Ugochukwu Emebiriodo astutely captures the flavours of urban dwelling, from a viewpoint that feels both present and voyeuristic. His compositions reveal the glaring and quiet dynamism of daily life. From a radiant sunset, to drops of sea water elegantly glistening on a shoulder. Mixed-media artist Ukandi Atsu has built upon the works of the likes of pre-eminent Beninois photographer, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, by presenting a visuality that combines Renaissance art with Kalabari masquerades, an endeavour that is quick-witted and avant-garde. Peter Adelaja’s marble and stone sculptures form conjunctions between fluidity and stasis, a rumination on the Aristotelian classification of things into the matter they are made of and the form that matter takes, while Tosin Ajayi’s original piano composition Imagination, which is inspired by masters from the classical and early romantic eras, erupts in a perfect cadence. The exhibiting artists have all reorganised the canon of their disciplines, with the result of drawing history closer to them.