solo exhibition
Tramway (Glasgow, UK)
Curated by Claire Jackson, Simon Gerard and Alexander Storey Gordon

Gentle Battle is the debut solo exhibition of Paris based artist, DJ, producer and performer Christelle Oyiri (b.France, 1992). Weaving together forgotten mythologies and the political nature of dance music, Oyiri’s work looks for alternative ways to understand and un-braid the complex knot of history, identity and experience. Gentle Battle charts a path through these often clouded waters, a guided journey conceived as a series of ‘time-spaces’ in which we are invited to dwell and reflect. Through symbolic elements as diverse as a mirror, an elephant tusk, a four-poster bed, and a karaoke booth, Oyiri generates doors, capsules and portals to other realities in which stories slip into histories - modern mythologies that mix and remix personal and collective experiences.

From Ivorian and Guadeloupean descent, Oyiri’s identity is shaped by the diplomatic, social, and metaphysical conflicts inherited from colonization, and the trickle-down effect it has on cultural behaviours, familial history, and the experience of a wider African diaspora. With this conflict in mind, and specifically in the context of The Ivory Coast and the 2002 military coup and ensuing war, Oyiri’s work asks; How does warfare display itself? ‘In the most insidious and gracious manners: in our breaths, in our bodies, in our psyche, in our lineages, in our sound and in our music.’ In Gentle Battle, Christelle Oyiri becomes her own archivist, creating moments for personal reflection and remembrance. Likening the exhibition to an album, she moves lightly and sometimes humorously across different historical and autobiographical positions, creating an intimate and kaleidoscopic dreamscape which invites us to reflect on the possibility of unlearning, insight and healing.

Text written by Tom Hastings 

Photos | Keith Hunter

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