- Tate Britain
Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili’s retrospective at Tate Britain takes you on a spiritual journey, unsurprisingly beginning with his infamous dung paintings. Touching images of a mother weeping, overlaid with intricate lace-like dots in his dedication to the memory of Stephen Lawrence are juxtaposed with the glitter, cut and pasted rappers and images of vaginas which are casually resting on dung opposite. Shit Head has a talisman-like quality about it, and one can imagine it hanging from the rear view mirror of a VW campervan.
The intimidatingly- lit path that leads you to The Upper Room builds up a suspense that greets you with thirteen paintings of Macaque monkeys, known to be one of the smartest and most compassionate primates, each a different colour and resting on dung. Clearly representing the twelve disciples and Jesus, Ofili claims that he has hidden something in one of the paintings to signify Judas, but it is up to the viewer to figure out which one it is. The room is lit much like a chapel and you cannot help feeling that you are in the presence of something sacred.
The highlight of the exhibit is The Blue Rider, which features Judas again, this time being hanged. According to Ofili, this was added in as an afterthought to fill the space, but the intense use of colour and restricted lighting work together to fill the room with a sombre atmosphere and make you question life and death.