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Jonathan Jones

A quote from a text on Chris Ofili, by Jonathan Jones,  was used in the gallery guide accompanying Ofili’s mid-career retrospective at Tate Britain, 27 January - 16 May 2010. That particular text was Jonathan Jones, Paradise Reclaimed, The Guardian Weekend magazine, 15 June 2002, pp.18-23.

A detail of Ofil’s work adorned the front page of the magazine. Front cover image: Afromantics, by Chris Ofili, 2001-2002 - with the following title: “Chris Ofili paints his way to paradise…”

From the contents section of the magazine: “Paradise reclaimed: It may have been the dung that swung it when he won the Turner Prize (and notoriety) in 1998. But Chrs Ofili is first and foremost a painter. Jonathan Jones catches up with him on the eve of a new exhibition. Plus your chance to to win a signed and personally dedicated poster, T-shirt and book.…

The article contains a number of photographs; a black and white profile of the artist; a photograph of the artist’s studio; Untitled, watercolour on paper, 1999-2001, Afrovoid, pencil on paper, both by Chris Ofili.

A lengthy article giving an overview of the artist’s practice and career - touching on some of the methods and ideas behind his more recent (at the time) work, plus some discussion around painting in a digital age and the shock value of art.


From the article: “In 1999, a year after winning the Turner, when he might have been expecting some respectability and establishment ease, the exhibition Sensation: Young British Art in the Saatchi Collection toured to New York’s Brooklyn Museum of Art, featuring The Holy Virgin Mary, a vision of a black Virgin floating in an undulating golden space, her lower half a flowery vagueness, all around her a constellation of vaginas sampled from porn magazines, with a globe of elephant dung representing her right breast, and two more lumps of dung as rests for the canvas.It is hard not to suspect that the resulting row was deliberately sparked by the exhibition’s publicists - the Catholic Legue found out about The Holy Virgin Mary before the show opened - but the controversy took on a reality no other YBA storm in a teacup has matched. Mayor Giuliani sided with the protesters. and not only withdrew funding from the museum, but threatened to evict it from the premises.”

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