15.01 - 12.02.2022

Group Exhibition

Exhibiting Artists:

Chloe Townsend
Joh Del
Kirsten Beets
Lucy Stuart-Clark
Tara Deacon


Salon Ninety One is pleased to present The Island; a group exhibition featuring Chloe Townsend, Joh Del, Lucy Stuart-Clark, and Tara Deacon. The exhibition will open on the 15th of January and conclude on the 12th of February 2022.

The concept of an island is one that has fascinated and captivated our collective imaginations. From deserted sandbars to large land masses teaming with life, islands are so enticing because of their capacity for endless possibility. An island is defined by its isolation; however, islands are not alone in the expanse of the sea. Under the waves, each island is connected, and their birth is a triumph of destructive creation.

Each island holds the opportunity for nature to experiment almost without limitation; birds of paradise with feathers and beaks of all colours and shapes, schools of tropical fish in unexpected hues and patterns, impossibly ancient turtles and tortoises, menacing coconut crabs, the strange architecture of shells, coral gardens below and lush jungles above, reef shark nurseries and cleaning stations for manta rays, treasures shaped by nature or lost at sea, stinging jellyfish glowing gently in the dark, gigantic spotted whale sharks with gaping mouths, improbable fauna which can be both beautiful and deadly, and endless shades of blue. Untouched and self-contained, the island can explode into a riot of fantastical life in almost alien forms that the boundaries of the real and impossible seems to shimmer and almost disappear.

What does that sliver of land out on the horizon hold? That question has inspired myths and folklore, influenced humans to leave the safety of the shore on a voyage of discovery, and caused us to reflect on the very nature of our humanity and our relationship with the natural world. The allure of an exotic, near-utopian escape which is physically separated from our daily lives by an ocean is especially potent after the long months of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Even the idea of white sandy beaches, pristine turquoise water, ripe and juicy tropical fruit, coconuts, and palm trees swaying in the breeze seems like a fantasy now.

The notion of an island creates a setting where our societal structures are stripped away, and our more primal nature is laid bare. Their fragile and wonderous beauty captivates our imagination and exemplifies the power of the natural world. Our human curiosity cannot help but be enchanted by an unknown island’s promise. However, the nature of their very existence leads us to make landfall cautiously; for the beguiling beauty of the island can ensnare and bewitch those who dare to wash ashore.


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