Frida Orupabo, Laughing girl (Detail),2021. 95 x 81 cm, digital C-print. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm.
Kunsthall Trondheim opens Frida Orupabo’s most extensive solo exhibition to date!
Frida Orupabo’s work explores questions related to race, family and kin relations, gender, sexuality, violence and identity. In Orupabo’s art, questions are also being raised on visibility and the necessity of being seen as a political subject.
In her research process, Orupabo mines archives with a colonial history, revisiting images that were created through a racialized lens, as well as digital platforms such as Instagram and YouTube. From found digital and physical material, she creates collages, videos shown in exhibitions and distributed using the same online platforms from which some of the material is obtained.
The resulting works take the shape of fragmented black, mostly female-bodied, figures. Orupabo’s collages offer a variety of readings of the stories and lives by the people in the pictures, many of whom are known little about due to a lack of information in the archives. In relieving the photographic and moving images of their previous context, Orupabo urges viewers to look at them anew. This look can be unsettling—it is met by a counter gaze emanating from the works that negates any anonymous, monolithic categorization of the depicted.
Her videos are edited in short loops, producing a repetitive rhythm that calls attention to the way views and attitudes become engrained over time, while interrogating how they come to be considered immutable “truths”. In bridging historical archives and today’s digital platforms, Orupabo foregrounds the social and political structure that determine our views and attitudes when we see the images, and how the structures organize our thinking. In doing so, her work proposes urgently needed alternatives of seeing otherwise.
The works in the exhibition are commissioned by Kunsthall Trondheim, with generous support from the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma / The Finnish National Gallery, and Galerie Nordenhake Stockholm.
The book Frida Orupabo will be released in connection to the exhibition – which includes photographic material from Orupabo’s artistic work, and texts by Lola Olufemi, Legacy Russell, and Stefanie Hessler. The book is published in collaboration between Kunsthall Trondheim and Sternberg Press, and designed by NODE Berlin Oslo. The book is supported by Arts Council Norway.
The exhibition is supported by The Fritt Ord Foundation.