By CLARE GEMIMA June, 2023
Sophus documents his karmic interactions with the world around him whilst he frolics it freely, and “without the ego, please.” The artist’s multimedia paintings in Between Worlds detail personal heartbreak, revelation, and otherwise pivotal human experiences, expressed through the artist’s stream of consciousness.
Divorce, drug use, and other catastrophes are all gloriously documented, and spotlit by Tribeca’s daylight through The Opening Gallery’s windows, somehow beyond the fucking scaffolding. The exhibition also blatantly demonstrates and details Sophus’ self awareness, and as he wildly bounced from wall to wall almost finger spinning canvases upside down, an enormous amount of joy seeped through his constant movement. As he locked me in a glance only an enchanting European could finesse, he told me all about everything and everywhere he possibly could, but failed completely to keep still. The nomadic artist similarly weaves his sporadic physical whereabouts with his hopeful and wounded inner conscience, two elements woven and loud in his body of work. It also makes perfect sense that Sophus met the show’s curator, Alexandros Stavrakas, whilst in a hand-stand.
Traipsing through parts of Africa, Europe, and India to collect specialised fabrics, each piece whether propped against the wall, or suspended from the ceiling has a completely inconsistent geographic history. Paintings such as Womb (2021), Fuck It, and Juicy Ego (both 2022), resonate as wise and well-travelled works of art, but God only knows where the artist himself has been. I’m pretty sure anyone would ponder this thought regardless of his incredibly eloquent accounts of devilish, and more angelic memories.
Various colored teas, and bodily excess/fluids are infinitely accessible mediums to the artist, used here to concoct beautiful contours of dandelion-esque plants sporting or sprouting teardrop-like shapes. Reminiscent of fallopian tubes, organs, and blood vessels, Sophus marries traditional fine and found art materials with cyclical uterine linings and skin tissue. In one piece, the letters L, A, U, R, and A , dot across the subject’s own menstrual blood in light of a peaceful truce between artist and muse. In Sun (2022), fibrous threads surface down the cotton canvas's middle in a raw and piercing and pretty hand-stitch. Not gorey, but gorgeous. Throughout a number of pieces, jelly-fish like films and plant-y strings are visually visceral and feel simultaneously familiar and foreign. Interwoven with personal odes like (“SMILE MORE”) and (“TRUE LOVE WILL FIND YOU IN THE _____ END”), Sophus invites viewers to sieve through petals, and fill in the blanks to understand what he finds the most sensual and organic (“PLEASURE”)’s in. WM
Between Worlds by Sophus runs at The Opening Gallery until June 27, 2023.
Clare Gemima contributes art criticism to The Brooklyn Rail, Contemporary HUM, and other international art journals with a particular focus on immigrant painters and sculptors who have moved their practice to New York. She is currently a visual artist mentee in the New York Foundation of Art’s 2023 Immigrant mentorship program.view all articles from this author