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Yinka Shonibare MBE: El Futuro Del Pasado

Book relating to an exhibition, 2011
Published by: ARCO_Madrid2011/Regional Government of Madrid
Year published: 2011
Number of pages: 192
ISBN: 978-84-451-3374-3

image of Yinka Shonibare MBE: El Futuro Del Pasado

Substantial, lavish and extensively illustrated catalogue/book produced to accompany Shonibare’s exhibition at ARGO_Madrid2011. With texts by Octavio Zaya, Karen E. Milbourne, and Kobena Mercer, the publication featured numerous reproductions of Shonibare’s more recent work, including his celebrated Fourth Plinth commission. The well produced catalogue was bilingual, with all text in Spanish and English.

From the preface, by Ignacio González González, Vice president, Head of Culture and Sports and Spokesperson of the Madrid Government:

“In the large context of the International Fair of Contemporary Art, ARCO-Madrid2011, the Comunidad de Madrid is pleased to present the first one-person exhibition in Spain of the Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare MBE at Sala Alcalá 31.
     Titled The Future of the Past, the show features a series of works rich in visual symbols. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to admire the artistic talent of Shonibare (London, 1962), expressed across various media and supports, and influenced as much by Nigeria, the country where he was brought up, as by Great Britain, the country where he was born and currently resides.
     The Comunidad de Madrid is hosting a selection - chosen by curator Octavio Zaya - of 22 works, most of which were created over the last three years. In them, the artist returns to the characteristic symbols and features of his signature work in order further to explore political, artistic, and cultural issues of the moment and their repercussions.
     The public visiting the exhibition will come away with an overall impression of Shonibare’s work in a range of different media: painting, sculpture, photography, and the moving image, plus elaborate mises-en-scéne with mannequins dressed in sumptuous, colourful African printed fabrics.
     The starting point for the exhibition is Shonibare’s photographic series based on Francisco de Goya’s etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. It then continues with a sculptural installation and a series of photographs inspired by Dante’s Inferno and by Willy Loman, the tragic hero of Arthur Miller’s mythic Death of a Salesman.
     One of the most spectacular works, the installation Cannonball Heaven, was commissioned specifically for this art centre and Shonibare’s first solo exhibition in Spain.”

Interspersed between the catalogue’s three major texts, by Octavio Zaya, Karen E. Milbourne and Kobena Mercer were substantial reproductions of newer series of work by the Shonibare, making the book a very useful guide to Shonibare’s practice of recent years.

Contents as follows:

Preface, by Ignacio González González, Vicepresident, Head of Culture and Sports and Spokesperson of the Madrid Government

Contents page

Octavio Zaya: Yinka Shonibare MBE: The Future of the Past

Karen E. Milbourne: Seduction’s Shadows and the “Terible Beauty” of Recent Works by Yinka Shonibare

Crash Willy

Willy Loman: The Rise and Fall

The Big Three

The Sleep of Reason

Cannonball Heaven

Kobena Mercer: Life During Wartime: A Dialogue With Yinka Shonibare MBE

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle

Un Ballo in Mascherea

Climate Shit Drawings


Acknowledgements and credits




Related people

»  Kobena Mercer

Born, 1960 in Ghana

»  Yinka Shonibare MBE CBE RA

Born, 1962 in London, England

»  Octavio Zaya

Born in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, date unknown

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Sala Alcalá 31

Madrid, Spain