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Collections Third Eye Vision

Collections Third Eye Vision

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Image
Courtesy Walker Art Center
Rights
© Chris Ofili

Copyright

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Title
Third Eye Vision
Artist
Chris Ofili
Date
1999
Dimensions
overall 96 × 72.375 × 6 inches
Materials
oil, acrylic, paper collage, glitter, polyester resin, map pins, elephant dung on linen
Location
On view at the Walker Art Center

Object Details

Type
Paintings (Paintings)
Accession Number
2000.11.1-.3
Inscriptions
in black ink on rev. on horizontal stretcher bar “Chris Ofili C.O. 1999”. in black on rev. on tacking margin of canvas “Chris Ofili CO 1999”.; in black ink on rev. on horizontal stretcher bar “Third Eye Bision 1999”. in black on rev. on tacking margin of canvas “Third Eye Vision 1999”.
Physical Description
A decorative patterned painting. Deep layers of paint and magazine image collage covered with heavy layer of resin. Attached at the center of the canvas is a sphere of elephant dung . On the dung sphere, in beads, is an image of an eye. The painting stands on two dung balls, left beaded with the work “Third”, right beaded with the word “Eye”
Credit Line
T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2000
Object Copyright
© Chris Ofili

object label Chris Ofili, Third Eye Vision (1999) Walker Art Center, 2000

Born in 1968 in Manchester, England, to Nigerian parents, Chris Ofili graduated from London’s Royal College of Art in 1993. His distinctive and intensely colorful visual style unites the worlds of kitsch, hip-hop music, decorative art, Pop Art, blaxploitation films, the London Zoo, and the Zimbabwe plains. He counts American artist David Hammons, also represented in the Walker collection, among his major influences, but his work has been linked to sources as diverse as William Blake, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Judy Chicago, Andy Warhol, West African textiles, Matopos cave paintings, and the visual culture of psychedelia.

Third Eye Vision is a kaleidoscopic painting of color and abstract patterns. Its visual elements are distinctive to the work of this self-described “hip-hop artist.” The richly layered, hallucinogenic surface combines pointillist patterns with magazine cutouts and glitter with glow-in-the-dark bits of plastic. All of this rests upon Ofili’s signature pieces of decorated and varnished elephant dung, which the artist uses as a comment on nature, heritage, and the art world. The third eye at the center of the painting calls to mind the far-reaching, spiritually inflected iconography of Asia and the African Diaspora. Like all of Ofili’s work, this painting fearlessly takes on questions of the profane juxtaposed with the sacred, the humorous with the sublime, and the bold with the mysterious.

Ofili is one of the most visible of the generation of British artists known as the YBAs (Young British Artists) at the center of the recent controversy between the Brooklyn Art Museum and the city of New York. First featured in a museum in the 1995 Walker exhibition Brilliant! New Art from London, Ofili went on to win the coveted Tate Gallery Turner Prize in 1998.

This painting joins a recent acquisition of six watercolors by Ofili, providing further depth to the Walker’s collection of work by this young artist. In addition, it builds the museum’s growing concentration of work by YBAs (including Angus Fairhurst, Dinos and Jake Chapman, Sam Taylor-Wood, Rachel Whiteread, and Georgina Starr) and enhances the Walker’s collection of artists of African descent, including David Hammons, Kara Walker, Kerry James Marshall, and Adrian Piper.

Label text for Chris Ofili, Third Eye Vision (1999), from the exhibition State of the Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, July 22-October 8, 2000.

Copyright 2000 Walker Art Center

artist statement Sound: Hip-Hop Chris Ofili, 1998-2000

“I want people to look into the paintings as well as at the paintings–to pause, rewind, and to play them over and over.”
–Chris Ofili

“For me… it’s to the beat in music, because when the dots are made, there’s constantly this tapping noise when they are being put on. That comes out of just being in the studio and listening to music… . If you listen to something, it goes into the part of your brain that deals with sight… . I’m trying to make paintings that make you hear them, rather than see them. So actually, you’re looking at music [that will] teach your eyes to hear and your ears to see.”
–Chris Ofili, 2000

“Their (Wu-Tang Clan’s) music is so melancholic. It’s the end of the century, they’re just delivering this speech about how real everything is. The RZA (Prince Rakeem) is a master composer, he’s so emotive… . The whole Wu-Tang thing is a laboratory, isn’t it. It’s a laboratory of hip-hop.”
–Chris Ofili, 1998

Chris Ofili on Hip-Hop, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.

Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center

online content Museum: Background Information Walker Art Center, 2003

Born in Manchester England to Nigerian parents, Chris Ofili is one of the best known of the generation of YBAs, or Young British Artists. Ofili’s intense and original colorful visual style combines the worlds of kitsch, hip-hop music, decorative art, Pop Art, blaxploitation films, the London Zoo, and the Zimbabwe plains.

In 1992, while studying at the National Academy of Art in London, Ofili was awarded a scholarship to travel and make art in Zimbabwe, where he reconnected with his African heritage. While the country’s political structure and the remnants of colonialism still present there affected Ofili, the animals and landscape had the strongest impact on him.

Third Eye Vision is a kaleidoscopic painting of color and abstract patterns. Its visual elements are distinctive to the work of this self-described “hip-hop artist.” The richly layered, hallucinogenic surface combines pointillist patterns with magazine cutouts and glitter with glow-in-the-dark bits of plastic. All of this rests upon Ofili’s signature pieces of decorated and varnished elephant dung, which the artist uses as a comment on nature, his African heritage, and the art world. The third eye at the center of the painting calls to mind the far-reaching, spiritually inflected iconography of Asia and the African Diaspora. Like all of Ofili’s work, this painting fearlessly takes on questions of the profane juxtaposed with the sacred, the humorous with the sublime, and the bold with the mysterious.

Chris Ofili, Third Eye Vision (1999), from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.

Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center

interview Artist: Chris Ofili Elaine Paterson, 1997

Here are Chris Ofili’s responses to a questionnaire from London’s weekly Time Out magazine, first published in the edition of September 10-17, 1997. The artist’s comments reflect his ironic stance between cultural traditions and the contemporary art scene.

What Makes Britain’s Artists the Best in the World?

Please answer the following questions and return to Elaine Paterson, Features Editor, Time Out magazine, 251 Tottenham Court Road, London.

Name: Chris Ofili

Date of birth:
“The days of Herod the King” Matthew 2:1

How many hours a week on average do you spend working?
a. Under 10; b. 11-20; c. 21-30; d. 31-40; e. 41-50; f. Over 50
“Forty days and forty nights” Matthew 4:2

Are your average annual earnings:
a. £10,000 or under; b. £11,000-£20,000; c. £21,000-£30,000; d. £31,000-£40,000; e. £41,000-£50,00;0 f. £51,000-£100,000; g. Over £100,000
“Five loaves and two fishes” Matthew 14:17

Is painting dead?
Yes… No… Other
“All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” Ecclesiastes 3:20

What form of transport do you most often use?
a. Underground; b. Buses; c. Trains; d. Pedal bike; e. Car; f. Other
“The Lord delivers”

If you weren’t an artist, which of the following would you most like to be?
a. Popstar; b. Supermodel; c. Mechanic; d. Doctor; e. Unemployed
“And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool” Ecclesiastes 2:19

Interview with Chris Ofili, Time Out magazine, 1997, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.

Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center