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>>>>>Pre-Opening Preview

/// Oomlou Nioni's Menagerie : Dragon

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Menagerie: Dragon
4:56 looping film
Press release:


When we found out that our lighting system could not be installed on time we decided to turn our technical difficulty into a curatorial opportunity. Though much of the gallery's emphasis is on the showcasing of international artists from locations such as America, Europe, and Adiis, we decided to show a local artist for a preview exhibit of the gallery (sans light). Installing a work that provides a light of its own, we are proud to present as a pre-opening opening- Oomlou Nioni's 'Menagerie: Dragon'.

Nioni's work often deals with serious issues through the invocation of the ridiculous. Here he presents a South Adiisian Dragon that legend claims was able to 'swim through the soil and swallow the souls of men'. Nioniís dragon does more than break the rules of plausibility that a creature can swim through the soil, it also moves in a way contrary to even those ludicrous expectations. Here, the body beneath the soil seems to distend and distort and render what we see on the surface to be driven by forces that cannot be predicted or understood. Comical, foolish, and repetitive, acting out an arbitrary cycle of behavior over and over, Nioniís dragon invites our skepticism and contempt. Still, seen in the light the ongoing conflict in Conje, where Nioni was at one time made a refugee and at another time acted as an official ambassador, where children die daily and are forced to fight- the birthplace of the legends that describes such dragons; we realize that this truly is a creature meant to terrify us.

The story of such dragons is foolish, but the culture of conflict that leads children to listen to such stories is another matter. Fiction in Nioni's work is not meant to be believed, it is meant to render visible the society that demands such monsters, that requires archetypes that can render a person blameless for the atrocities that they commit. A balm for the victims and an excuse for the aggressors; Nioni believes that lies, especially ones that are self-evidently false, can act as a form of truth.