San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery presents What Endures, a solo exhibition of new work by Kambui Olujimi on view September 10 – October 29, 2016. Inspired by dance marathons of the 1920s and 1930s, Olujimi’s exhibition features photographs, works on paper, and video in proximity to a large site-specific sculpture of interlocking platforms that serves as the stage for multiple encounters during the exhibition. Olujimi will be present for an opening reception on Saturday, September 10, from 3 – 5 pm, with an artist talk at 2:30 pm, and for a closing event on October 29.
What Endures investigates the gesture of dance as a symbol of persistence and resilience amidst the economic downturn and global social upheaval. The focal point of the exhibit, Just Because We’re Magic Doesn’t Mean We Aren’t Real, consists of interlocking platforms on which Olujimi performs at the opening reception, and upon which the artist’s works on paper are based. The wood sculpture was designed in conversation with the enduring architecture of the Coney Island Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster constructed in 1927, and still in operation today. The sculpture is both a stand-alone work, as well as an evolving and integral part of each separate performance and encounter to which it lends a physical scaffold. Breathtaking work from the series Blind Sum showcases Olujimi’s mastery of long exposure composition and print production. Olujimi’s photographs reflect the complex role of dance marathons as mass entertainment events during the Great Depression. These endurance contests often lasted weeks, providing much needed entertainment, purse money, and fame during an era of
severe deprivation. With an eerie prescience to present day “reality shows,” these contests blurred the line between theatre and reality. A mix of the heroic and grotesque, of kitsch and desperation, these spectacles were meant to test the capacity of individual will. While the dance marathons challenged many gender and class expectations, they were vehemently racially segregated. Olujimi’s work examines the repercussions of such omissions in the creation of mythic space. Blind Sum emblematizes the common contests of endurance, persistence, and defiance and the desire to live beyond the capacities that we have internalized.
What Endures runs concurrently with Box Blur | Six Weeks of Dance, Word and Performance, a series of commissioned performances, talks, and screenings, as well as off-site events produced in concert with Olujimi’s work and in cooperation with several cultural partners: SF Dance Film Festival, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Words on Dance, Meyer Sound (Helen and Perrin Meyer), Greg Niemeyer, The 500 Capp Street Foundation: David Ireland House, CCA Hubbell Street Gallery, Mud Water Theatre, SFArtsED, Fauxnique (Monique Jenkinson), The Guguletu Project, and Athletic Art Productions.