Galerie im Turm, Berlin, Germany 10 Dec 2020 - 28 Mar 2021
Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju, HANDS FULL OF AIR, Installation view at Galerie im Turm, Berlin. Photo: Eric Tschernow
Where do the edges of the individual end and those of the community begin? How can this reflexive relationship be used to recover knowledges and techniques that can resist and transmute the corruptions of oppressive systems?
In Hands Full of Air, Monilola Olayemi Ilupeju explores intuition and vulnerability as a starting point for a practice of collective care. Influenced by the ephemeral nature of blanket forts, the immersive installation comprises altered bedsheets and textiles contributed by her friends and artists from around the world. Each piece embodies an affective moment, a trace of intimacy, or a gesture of love. Into this collaborative support structure, Ilupeju weaves her own videos, paintings, fabrics and objects, in which she examines the formation of the self within constructed epistemologies of sexuality, history, and representation.
Ilupeju’s work is an attempt to dwell in the ambivalent space between exposure and isolation, to find recognition in the discomfort of shared vulnerabilities. By blurring the lines of authorship and borders, the artist reflects on the constitution of identity and on empathy as a tool of resistance. The subversion of the fort structure demonstrates the ways in which collective fragility and porosity can generate spaces where different forms of seeing and listening unfold and where vulnerability is transformed into resilience and self-empowerment.