Marianne Boesky Gallery
507-509 West 24th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Through February 24, free, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Burundi-born, Johannesburg-based artist Serge Alain Nitegeka explores space and volume, flatness and depth in “Personal Effects in BLACK,” continuing at both Marianne Boesky Galleries in Chelsea through February 24. Seen from different angles, many of the works seems to have a three-dimensionality — and in fact, several do. His “Colour & Form” series consists of geometric shapes in soft blues, sunny yellows, sharp whites, and dense blacks that seem to emerge from and go deep into the unprimed plywood. A pair of “Form Ephemeral” pieces actually do extend off the wood like wall sculptures. And in one of the two galleries, the five objects that comprise “Personal Effects” are like unfinished paintings gathered on the floor. Nitegeka has connected the two galleries with a site-specific installation through a narrow corridor filled with black bars partially blocking the way, a kind of maze.
“Black is brute darkness,” Nitegeka explains about the exhibit. “An intangible destructive mass that is dense and viscous, weighing me down deep into silence. It puts me into a state of overwhelming appreciation and meditation — a space of unknown emptiness and depth. There is an uninterrupted silence, and nothing is familiar. It is there as I drift in and out of sleep, where I wander blindly, arms stretched outwards trying to clutch onto something. I move about in a majestic solitude of colors and forms. My mind blank and hands busy. The once straight lines bend evenly into curves as I learn to surrender.” Nitegeka develops his pieces spontaneously rather than planning out every detail, resulting in shapes and colors that are unexpected and abstract. In several works the raw plywood shows through, acting like a floor or a table. “I know that no one is exempt from the heaviness of the unknown,” he adds. “At the end of the day, while we close our eyes asleep in the black, the heaviness catches up. No one is spared. Black is ever constant.”