Unit London is pleased to announce Paa Joe’s inclusion in Real Fake Door, a group exhibition organised by artist Oli Epp and curator Mollie E Barnes, at Arsenal Contemporary, New York.
Group exhibition: Willie Cole, Maja Djordjevic, Oli Epp, Liam Fallon, Al Freeman, Paa Joe, Rosie McGinn, Christopher Page, Rafa Silvares, Emma Stern, Nokukhanya Langa, Michael Ross, Nick Doyle and Jerry Wilkerson.
Curated by Oli Epp and Mollie E Barnes
Nov 3 – Dec 16, 2023 at 21 Cortlandt Alley, 2nd Floor, New York
Real Fake Door invites you to a realm where illusion blends with reality, and portals transport you to uncharted territories. From a diverse group of international artists, the works challenge conventional norms of perception and understanding.
The group exhibition encapsulates both paradox and concealed truths. It serves as a lens to examine themes of portals, deception, subversion and world-building. It asks you to question preconceived notions and to embark on an intellectual and aesthetic journey that traverses multiple dimensions of contemporary art. The notion of ‘real fake’ takes centre stage. Here the mundane becomes sublime, and the subliminal becomes profound, all interwoven with threads of Americana.
The way we actively engage with each piece, the intentions we bring, and the context in which we view them, plays a significant role in shaping our perception – a reminder that art is a dialogue between the artist’s creation and the viewer’s consciousness.
Paa Joe’s paragon, the miniature coffin, serves as a portal bridging the realms of life and death, connecting the living to the departed while plunging us into an abyss of Americana.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Oli Epp (b.1994) is a London-based artist and curator. Graduating from City & Guilds in 2017, Epp has exhibited internationally, most recently in a solo exhibition, Shampoo, at Carl Kostyál, London (2023). Further notable exhibitions include solo exhibitions at Perrotin New York (2024) and Semiose Paris (2022), as well as group exhibitions with Half Gallery (2021), König Galerie, Berlin (2021) and Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig (2019). Epp has organized exhibitions for Carl Kostyál Gallery, London (2019) and the Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria (2020).
Mollie Barnes (b.1996) is a UK-based curator and producer. She has curated exhibitions internationally, including for Yusto/Giner Gallery, Madrid (2023), Barbara Thumm Gallery, Berlin (2022), the Taurisano Collection, Rome (2021), Roman Road, London (2023), Brocket Gallery, London (2021), Daniel Raphael Gallery, London (2021), WILDER Gallery, London (2020-2023). Barnes is the Festival Manager for Tom of Finland Foundation London and Berlin.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Joseph Ashong aka Paa Joe (b.1947) is a Ghanaian artist born in the Akwapim region, Greater Accra Region in Ghana. He is known for his figurative fantasy coffins that embody Ghanaian traditions and beliefs about life and death. Known as abeduu adeka, or “proverb boxes,” these end-of-life vessels are artful and detailed architectural works that depict elements in three-dimensional form, from sea creatures to cars to Air Jordans. In 1989, his work was featured in the Magiciens de la Terre exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 2018, his coffins were shown at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. More recently, Joe’s work was part of the group exhibition (Re)Birth of Venus with Pulpo Gallery, Germany (2021).
See more of his work in our past group exhibition, In the Round.
Air Jordan Mini Sculpture
Coke Bottle Mini Sculpture
60 x 25 x 20 cm
Walk-Man Mini Sculpture
25 x 60 x 20 cm