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An Ofili big adventure - Chris Ofili

Article relating to an individual, 1998
Published by: Arena
Year published: 1998
Number of pages: 3

image of An Ofili big adventure - Chris Ofili

An Ofili big adventure was one of numerous magazine feaures on Chris Ofili, that appeared in fashion, culture and lifestyle magazines such as Arena, Dazed & Confused, GQ, etc. This particular feature appeared in the October 1998 issue of Arena magazine, on pages 138 - 140. It was written by Kodwo Eshun, who earlier that year had written a text on Ofili, ‘Plug Into Ofili’, for Chris Ofili [exh. cat.] (London: Southampton City Art & Serpentine Gallery, 1998). Published before Ofili won the Turner Prize, the text opened with “When the Turner prize is awarded in December, Chris Ofili may finally be known for something more than making paintings with elephant dung. Then again…”

Eshun’s text was illustrated with several reproductions of Ofil’s work, plus a portrait of the artist by Jake Chessum. From the text: “The news broke back in July; Ofili had been nominated for the £20,000 Turner Prize, the only painter in a line-up of photographer-videomaker Sam Taylor-Wood, filmmaker Tacita Dean and sculptor Cathy de Monchaux. By year’s end, he’ll be, at 29, one of the best known painters in Britain. Last week, Tash, his assistant, rang up William Hill just to see what the odds were for the Turner Prize. He was 7-4 favourite.”

Two highlighted quotes from Ofili were used in the text. The first, “I’ve seen girls fucked all ways over there. I didn’t see that before I moved to King’s Cross” and the second, “The Virgin Mary was an excuse for porn for priests and Godfearers”

The quotes, and the general tone of the text were consistent with the context in which the profile appeared. Arena described itself as ‘The Grown-Up Magazine for Men’. The cover of the issue, graced with a photograph of a glamour model, in unambiguous pose, declared this to be The Hot Issue: How to Handle a One-Night Stand, The New Sex Rules Revealed. Elsewhere on the cover, in bold letters, the question was asked, ‘Are You Getting Enough?’

At the time of the feature being published, Ofili’s solo exhibition was at The Serpentine Gallery, 29 September  - 1 November 1998. This exhibition was, in part, the basis of Ofili’s Turner Prize nomination. Within the Turner Prize brochure of 1998, Ofili’s nomination was said to have been “for the inventiveness, exuberance, humour and technical richness of his painting, with its breadth of cultural reference, as revealed in his solo exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery and in Sensation at the Royal Academy, London.” It was his solo exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery that was being shown at the Serpentine Gallery.

Related people

»  Kodwo Eshun

Born, 1967 in UK

»  Chris Ofili

Born, 1968 in Manchester, UK

Related exhibitions

»  Turner Prize 1998

Group show at Tate Britain. 1998 - 1999

Related venues

»  Serpentine Gallery

London, United Kingdom

»  Tate Britain

London, United Kingdom