<h2>BENJI REID: LAUGH AT GRAVITY<br>Coming Soon...</h2><h2>DREAM NO SMALL DREAM: The Story of October Gallery<br>Available from our Book Store, £40 +P&P</h2>304 pages, full colour plates throughout. Edited by Gerard Houghton.



Postponed from April - New date to be announced
Benji Reid, Mercurial Child, 2019. Giclée Print, 80 x 80 cm. Ed. of 8 plus 2 AP.
Benji Reid, Lord of Manny, 2019. Giclée Print,
100 x 78.5 cm. Ed. of 8 plus 2 AP.

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. 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.’’

2 October – 14 November 2020
Alexis Peskine, Kassu Demdemi (Fire Now), 2020. Orange gold leaf, nails, Havana Ochre, curcuma, earth and white hibiscus on lumber core wood, 196 x 110 cm.
Alexis Peskine, Zo, 2020. Moon gold leaf, nails, Havana Ochre, coffee, earth and hibiscus on lumber core wood, 100 x 100 cm.
October Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Alexis Peskine, entitled Fire Figures. This much anticipated show follows on from Power Figures, Peskine's highly successful debut show at October Gallery, in 2017.

Alexis Peskine’s signature works are large-scale mixed media ‘portraits’ of archetypes from the African diaspora, which are rendered by hammering nails of different gauge, with pin-point accuracy, into wood stained with natural materials such as coffee, mud and hibiscus extract. By applying gold leaf to the nails, he creates breath-taking composite images. Peskine depicts figures that portray strength and perseverance, charged with an energy reminiscent of the spiritually laden minkisi - ‘power figures’ - of the Congo Basin. His particular choice of the medium of nails resonates with sombre tones of the Black Experience, spanning the scale of qualities running from pain to transcendence.

Fire Figures recapitulates and expands upon the conceptual framework deployed in the previous Power Figures series. These striking new works explore the ongoing frustrations experienced by all those of the African Diaspora who continue to encounter endemic systems of racism and violence. All through his life, Peskine has ‘always felt the fire of injustice’ burning close by, a fire which fuels his work and spurs him on. However, he notes, the element of fire also represents an opportunity for cleansing and transformative change. Peskine's depicted subjects seem to see this change, right in front of them, palpably present, yet still unrealised.