This marks Ravelle Pillay’s first large-scale solo exhibition, and first presentation in the UK. Working in painting, the Johannesburg-based artist’s practice evolves from a personal process of archiving, often drawing from found and family photographs to map life-making in the wake of mass migration. Simultaneously figurative and illusory, her artworks consider the material possibilities of the medium, offering paint as a mediation between past and present, memory and experience.
Laying bare the displacement of indenture and the dehumanisation of Apartheid, Pillay’s paintings explore the way we remember things, whether it be history, ourselves, or the fragile formations of personal and collective memory. For her Chisenhale commission, Pillay will produce a series of oil paintings, ranging in size, situated within a wider installation that contemplates the colonial hauntings of bodies of water and botanical gardens.
Ravelle Pillay is a South African artist living and working in Johannesburg. She holds a degree in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand and is the recipient of the 2022 African Art Galleries Association’s Emerging Painting Invitational for painters from the African continent. Her work will feature at Frieze London 2022, and she will be in residence at Gasworks, London from October to December 2022.