Charlie, let’s go!
Private View: 15 July 2023 6-9pm
Open by appointment Thursday - Saturdays
Book for appointment here
"Charlie, Let’s Go!", is a solo exhibition by Hilda Kortei; an experimental showcase featuring an armchair, clothing, shoes, carpets, and paintings on fabric and reclaimed wood.
Through the use of archival materials, Hilda delves into the concept of labour and survival. Upon entering, visitors are kindly requested to remove their shoes.
The title, "Charlie, Let’s Go!" (or "Friend, let’s go!"), is the English translation of "Chale Wote" – a term commonly associated with a ubiquitous shoe found in Ghanaian households, transcending social classes, genders, and ages. These shoes are used for daily activities and local errands, known to the British as flip-flops.
The artist explores themes of kinship, contemplating the significance of building relationships with objects. Ritualistic in nature, the act of repeatedly wearing something establishes trust, companionship, and a sense of daily communion. Eventually, the object succumbs to wear and tear, becoming torn and soiled from excessive use. Take the example of a shoe: as it is worn day after day, it gradually moulds itself to the contours of the wearer's foot. The once rigid and unfamiliar object becomes a second skin, embracing the unique shape and movements of its owner. It is a testament to the harmonious dance between human and artefact, where the boundaries between the two blur.
"Charlie, Let’s Go!" also delves into the profound metaphorical significance of the shoe, representing the state of being overworked and overwhelmed. Kortei invites us to reflect on the power of words and the intriguing notion of incorporating the daily act of dressing in our lives. It raises the question of whether we unconsciously infuse our existence with the energy of perpetual motion each time we put on apparel.
The chair offers a resting place, covered with worn clothing. The clothes symbolises not only the shoe but also the human body. This scene evokes a shared familiarity, as clothes accumulate on the chair over weeks or even months, patiently awaiting attention.
The exploration delves into the thresholds of labour, survival, disposability, and replacement. It prompts us to question when an item should be washed, discarded, or replaced. In this contemplation of beginnings and endings, we ponder what is lost when we start over.
“She repeated the names, as if to imprint them in her mind”, 2023
Leather armchair, worn clothes, carpet
“Return to”, 2023
Acrylic, spray paint, plastic carrier bag, photograph, canvas, linen form stuffed with plastic carrier bags, nails, shoe rack, shoes