Chris Ofili: The Seven Deadly Sins

Victoria Miro

2nd June - 29th July

By Estelle Simpson

This indulgent exploration of sin makes engaging in it even more appealing to me.

Excessive and transgressive behaviours are put on a cosmic pedestal in this new body of work. Created over 6 years, suggesting 7 sins, each piece sparkles with strange visions of the unconscious state. The series contemplates the human condition, informed by Biblical origins, and ultimately reframes the idea of sinning. Avoiding the cliches of judgement and committal, reflecting on thoughts and feelings that seem to be associated with each misdemeanour. Ofili again shows his compassionate understanding of ontology and temporality.

These pieces feel far from an offence. He is always rich in diversity and style. Freed from the realm of rationality, figures are not only presented coexisting harmoniously with nature, but also converse with dazzling creatures of mythology. An air of mystique suffuses each environment.

Storms of chromatic constellations are a divine ornamentation of the series, as a painterly perfume emanates from Ofili’s surfaces, and these brilliant sensations stir up within me upon looking. Kaleidoscope fireflies of a yolk-like sun rain down in ‘A Fall from Grace’ causing a spectrum of radiant striations which travel across the whole canvas. A jump from Icarus’ hubris to Satyr reclining under the gaze of egrets in ‘Great Beauty’.