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Martin Maloney

Written by Martin Maloney, Dung & Glitter was one of many features on Chris Ofili, that began to emerge around the time of the artist being shortlisted for the Turner Prize of 1998. One of the most distinctive aspects of this press features was the astonishing range of journals and publications that acknowleded Ofili. In this regard, Modern Painters (in which Dung & Glitter appeared) was no exception. An attendant notable characteristic of this coverage was that the writers and magazines in question had previously taken little or no  interest in the work of other Black artists. Dung & Glitter reflected the extent to which Ofili was breaking new ground. The feature followed directly after a one page summary, The Turner Prize Shortlist which briskly introduced Ofili and the other shortlisted artits, Tacita Dean, Cathy de Monchaux and Sam Taylor-Wood.

Dung & Glitter stressed the technical aspects of Ofili’s practice, as well as touching on what  the writer saw as the significance of the content of Ofili’s paintings. As was common with such articles, Maloney tended to presuppose the profile of the reader. His text concluded with “Be warned: the ‘black experience’ you crave might not be as authentic as you think!” Like others, such as Adrian Searle, Maloney suggested that Ofili “could well win the Turner Prize.”

Dung & Glitter opened with “Chris Ofili in five years has moved from  densely layered abstract paintings to figurative paintings. His new work uses a graphic image made from a simple abstract shape and painted as a densely beaded surface like a mosaic, to describe, say, hair, a leg or a breast. And he has found an increasing use for collaged pictures from magazines. Although both periods of his paintings look labour intensive, his earlier works evidence a chaotic procedure which made for a rich and rewarding surface, full of surprising incidents.”

Spread over two pages, Dung & Gitter was illustrated with several reproductions of the artist’s work, plus a portrait of Ofili, and a detail of one of his paintings.

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Article relating to an individual, 1998