Robel Temesgen
There’s No Politics in Painting?

September 27–December 3, 2017
Opening September 27, 2017

Robel Temesgen will present his first solo exhibition in Sweden. Working in painting, installation and hand written newspapers and publications the exhibition presents work that mobilises different strategies to address the social, political and economic context in Ethiopia. Concerned in the construction of public space and the connection between gathering places of spiritual or cultural tradition and their potential as gathering places of political collectivity, Temesgen produces a series of new paintings reflecting on these significant yet overlooked locations. Whilst the painting might be perceived by the viewer as a pleasing composition of colour and form Robel feeds this seemingly uninhibiting medium with hidden meaning.

A series of hand written newspapers gather different stories and accounts from Ethiopian media forming a collage of voices and happenings. Ambivalent in their narrative the fragmented collection is painstakingly hand written onto each sheet. This old news provokes comment on the content our newspapers usually hold and what value can be placed there? Another series of small handmade publications mimic what one might find ina sacred spiritual amulet. Their tiny pages are printed with images of locations Robel has investigated in the paintings. Captured here for intimate reflection the images test whether their political potential can be captured on film or in print. At the back of the exhibition stairs invite the audience to sit down and read a paper left there. In Addis Ababa often newspapers are not for sale but are rented by the reader as they catch up on news or search for jobs and advertisements. Here too these newspapers are not tobe taken away but offer a moment for you to browse, sit a while and review what kind of gathering place has been created here?

Robel Temesgen (b. 1987, Ethiopia) received MFA in Contemporary Art from Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing, University of Tromsø, Norway in 2015 and a BFA in Painting from ASFAD, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia in 2010. His practice focuses on painting and encompasses elements of performance, installation, video and collaborative projects. Since 2010, Temesgen is a Lecturer at the Department of Painting, Alle School of Fine Arts and Design, Addis Ababa University. His work has been exhibited in Ethiopia and internationally.