Ryan Christopher

Slewe Gallery is pleased to announce the solo exhibition Eclogue, St. Perpetua by British artist Ryan Christopher (b. 1998), which opens on Saturday February 17 and will run through March 23. It will be his debut show at the gallery.

Christopher, who has just finished his two years stay at De Ateliers in Amsterdam, will show new works of which some were created during his study there. His austere presentation at De Ateliers Offspring exhibition in Autumn 2023 made a big impression on the visitor. With extreme economy of means complex thought was suggested. The works are made with found and poor material, like cloth, blinds and tape. Also sound and references to cultural history are used. As a starting artist he already takes a bold and original position. He refers to old and modern ‘saints’ like St. Perpetua and Simone Weil. His interest in philosophy and religion is a guidance towards new perspectives in these times.

In this exhibition Christopher is taking the pastoral poetic form of the Eclogue as a starting point. In Eclogue, St. Perpetua, he draws on the referential properties of found materials to inquire into the spatial nature of providence and necessity in relation to the psyche. Bucolic dialogues play out through material intermediaries and the celestial visions of St. Perpetua and Saturus, martyred in Carthage in 203 ce. These dialogues are continued through sheep bells and wind through tall trees. The materials used in the works include plasterboard, a greenhouse cover, plant protection fleece, and blinds. All of which suggest something of a membrane; a mediator both separating and connecting. A composition of printed text and recorded sound also form a material presence in the gallery, situatingthe viewer in a liminal context of narrative uncertainty and conceptualized silence.

Ryan Christopher lives and works in Coventry (UK). He studied Fine Art at Coventry University (2018-2021), followed by De Ateliers in Amsterdam (2022-2023).

He writes about his practice: ‘I’m working through sculpture, sound and video to consider material relations within elliptical narratives. I approach my practice as a process of amalgamation in which the formal and indexical properties of found materials—objects, images, text and sound—are brought into antinomic relations. Strands of religious thought, philosophy and early Christian history are configured into sculptural narratives that often think through paradoxes whilst addressing human relations to necessity and the natural world.
Material juxtapositions appear compressed, succinct and as imperceptible as movements can be. An internal movement of faith, as a qualitative leap, can be succeeded by the turn of a head. Fluctuations can be subject to air pressure, or the changing distribution of light, and intermediaries can hold traces of silent discourse.’