Performance Space New York presents visual artist Dozie Kanu’s Blood Type, an exhibition of individual works that coalesce into an immersive environment. Beginning October 15 and open to the public Thursdays through Sunday from 12pm to 6pm, Blood Type inaugurates Performance Space’s Open Room program, which creates publicly accessible space within its lobby (150 1st Ave, 4th floor). Kanu’s art teases and disrupts functionality, and reforms the familiar with jarring, culturally evocative materials. In this exhibition, Kanu returns to his world-building origins studying production design, constructing a singular and insinuating environment drawing on the banal simultaneity of welcome, alienation, and discomfort that pervades coworking spaces. Chairs, stools, a worktable become sculptural works embedded with the artist’s probing inquiries into fraught, autobiographically-resonant substances.
Kanu will organize Octopus: An Evening Inside of Blood Type (October 19 at 7pm), with various artists, including Dawuna, Valerie Franco & Caroline Sultzer, Matt Hilvers, and Elliot Reed.
In Blood Type, the room is softened and soaked in dark tones. A work table snakes down the wall, onto the floor, across the room, back onto the floor, across the room. An array of stools are lined up, free to be taken and used. On the walls, framed images simultaneously transcribe and obscure demarcations of identity and history, displayed in a room enveloped in a sanguine opacity. Anachronistic shapes sourced from Portugal, Nigeria, and America loosely trace their entangled past. Throughout the work, Kanu investigates and evades external signifiers of location and identity, presenting them in tension with the primally personal medium of blood.
Kanu—born in Houston, TX to Nigerian immigrant parents, and currently residing in a warehouse he renovated in rural Portugal—offers up history and autobiography as a gathering space: to be filled with performance and visitors, each bringing multitudes of interpretation to its charged surfaces.