Lulu Manasseh: Locating One Self at Gallery Elena Shchukina

‘Locating One Self’ is a superb solo exhibition by Lulu Manasseh currently held at Gallery Elena Shchukina.

Lulu Manasseh is a British artist living in London who studied at Wimbledon School of Art, and continued on completing a Bachelor of Arts in Three-Dimensional Design at Leeds Metropolitan University. She was recognised for her talent early in her career when she was awarded ‘Young Designer of the Year’ by the Royal Society of Arts in 1992.

Manasseh is a widely traveled artist, exploring arts and culture of South America, India, and parts of Asia. She has recently explored the delights of India, Morocco and Thailand, drawing inspiration from these beautiful countries and their cultures to create her most recent pieces of work. Her work is heavily themed around being on the journey of life, discovering diverse influences and experiencing as much as possible in a search for purpose and truth. This is especially apparent in ‘Locating One Self’.

The paintings in this exhibition are kept natural and earthy by incorporating natural materials and elements over layered paintings such as hessian and clay, seen in the series The Heart of the Matter, keeping these paintings securely grounded in the physical realm. Often seen in Manasseh’s paintings is a “crux”. A crux is where two opposing forces cross and meet, creating an entirely new and unique perspective, representing a philosophical search for a point of origin.

The more recent works featured are gradually seen to lose their earthly qualities - replacing natural pigment, black paint and materials for thin layers of white paper and clean and precise graphic marks and mathematical equations, offering a clear, fresh feel.

The focus from the ground and mapping the Earth shifts to the stars in the series Mapping Infinity. Manasseh takes her exploration of discovery out of the physical and into the metaphorical realm. The paintings are full of a mysterious kind of beauty, involving mathematical equations and geometric shapes and patterns. The use of mathematics in art is an incredibly refreshing and creates a beautiful juxtaposition; art is so free and flowing, with no right or wrong answers, whereas mathematics is set and completely closed to interpretation.

Viewers who are mathematically knowledgeable will be able to understand these equations, but for those who might not understand the equations within the pieces, it can make the paintings incredibly intriguing and mysterious because it could mean anything, making the unknown aspect of the work so much more beautiful. Whereas understanding exactly what they mean could potentially take away some of the instinctive sense of beauty.

This exhibition conjures up so many new ideas and questions for visitors to ponder such as,

 Who are we?

Where do we come from?

Where am I going?

Everyone at some point or another has questioned their being and their place in this world. We are continuously seeking to find who we are, and where this ever changing journey of life is taking us, and ‘Locating One Self’ helps viewers take the plunge and dive into the mysterious depths of self discovery.

Lulu Manasseh: Locating One Self is on at Gallery Elena Shchukina until 2nd March.  More information may be found here.