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The Upper Room - Chris Ofili

The Upper Room - Chris Ofili

This book was published for the installation of 13 paintings of rhesus macaque monkeys in a large walnut-panelled room designed by architect David Adjaye.


The room is approached through a dimly-lit corrridor, which is designed to give a sense of anticipation. Each painting depicts a monkey based around a different colour theme (grey, red, white etc.).


The twelve smaller paintings show a monkey from the side and they are based on a 1957 Andy Warhol drawing. The larger monkey is depicted from the front. Each painting is individually spotlit in the otherwise darkened room.


The room is designed to create an impressive and contemplative atmosphere. The paintings each rest on two round lumps of elephant dung, treated and coated in resin. There is also a lump of the dung on each painting. Strictly speaking, each work is mixed media, comprising paint, resin, glitter, mapping pins and elephant dung.


The Upper Room as a whole is described by the Tate (which bought the piece in 2005) as an "installation". The Upper Room is a reference to the Biblical Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples, hence the thirteen paintings. Ofili states the work is not intended to be offensive, but rather to contrast the harmonious life of the monkeys with the travails of the human race.


Published by Victoria Miro Gallery in 2002, gold glossy hard cover in good condition, 66 pages on stiff paper.


ISBN 0954308506

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