Ezra Wube “Darkness”

Microscope Gallery

poster for Ezra Wube “Darkness”
[Image: Still from “Darkness” (2020) by Ezra Wube, HD single-channel video, 2 minutes 6 seconds — courtesy of the artist and Microscope]

This event has ended.

Microscope presents “Darkness,” the first solo exhibition at the gallery of works by Ezra Wube, a Brooklyn-based, Ethiopian-born artist who frequently addresses notions of home, memory, pluralism, and the mutability of place and time from the perspective of one who has moved across geographies and cultures.

Wube — whose work encompasses video, photography, collage, and painting — is best known for his stop-motion video animations that he painstakingly composes by layering paintings on a single canvas and then photographing each iteration to create a single frame of the work before he paints over it for the next one. Previous solo presentations include Times Square’s “Midnight Moment,” The High Line, and Fulton Street Transit Center (MTA), and as well as at other institutions in New York City and abroad.

The works on view in “Darkness” — which opens during the longest days of summer (and the shortest days of winter in the southern hemisphere) — draw attention to the gradations and fluidity within seemingly opposite concepts such as lightness and darkness; here and there; and then and now. Language and literary devices are used as contents and references for the artist’s new and recent multi-screen installation, single-channel video, and photographic works on view, all of which will be exhibiting for the first time in New York.

In Wube’s latest video “Darkness” (2021) the artist questions negative associations of the word, presenting it instead as “the alpha and omega,” a productive force behind the formation and existence of the universe and a condition leading to the possibility of light and images, as experienced in time. A continuous, fast-paced slideshow of black and white images culled from Google searches of compound words beginning with “dark” form the background for vivid animations of the same words, in an attempt to undermine any viewers’ preconceptions. Wube stresses that while blackness is visible because of the presence of light, darkness, defined as the absence of light, cannot be seen or therefore described.

A second single-channel video “Una Favola Vera (A True Fairytale)” (2020), a stop-motion animation of paintings made with plasticine, grapples with the horrors of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia. Set against radiant Ethiopian landscapes are images recreated by the artist from historical materials of fascist propaganda promoting the invasion such as posters, school notebooks, and table games, among others. The colorful and playful animations reshape the underlying atrocious narrative into one resembling that of a fairytale.

The installation “Shoes Box” (2018) consists of a multi-screen animation based, according to Wube, on “a collection of memories from places I have called home” and projected onto a structure of fabricated “shoe boxes.” Inspired by the artist’s visit to the house he grew up in during which he discovered it had been turned into a shoe factory, the work is situated between recollection and imagination, alluding to one’s complex and multi-layered experience of “home.”

Several works from the UV print on aluminum photographic series “Palindrome” (2015-21) express Wube’s concerns with twoness and with creating a “wishful discourse” in which opposite positions read as the same. The background of each work is the outline of an open book with the left pages painted white and the right pages black. Images of the artist and various objects such as plants, animal masks, fabric, and blue tape are layered and floating in mid-air through both physical and digital methods, forming dreamlike self portraits that open the way for “new meanings, where places are in-betweens and time is suspended in uncertainty.”

Ezra Wube (b. 1980, Ethiopia) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. His work references the notion of past and present, the constant changing of place, and the dialogical tensions between “here” and “there.” His exhibitions include the “Gwangju Biennale”, Gwangju, South Korea; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; The High Line, New York; Time Square Arts Midnight Moment, NY; the Fulton Street Transit Center (MTA), New York; 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, Brazil; and the “Dak’Art Biennale”, Dakar, Senegal; among others. His residencies, commissions and awards include Smack Mellon Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY; Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY; Work Space, LMCC Residency Program, New York, NY; The Africa Center, New York, NY; The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York, NY; Museum of the Moving Image, Queens, NY; Rema Hort Mann Foundation; the Triangle Arts Association Residency, Brooklyn, NY and The Substation Artist Residency Program, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



from June 24, 2021 to July 31, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-06-24 from 12:00 to 20:00


Ezra Wube

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use