Succulent Conversations
Portrait of the Artist

Using sculpture, performance and installation, Eto Otitigbe merges form and meaning into layered constructions. In a deep exploration of history, politics and memory, his work exposes the shifts in context and perspective embedded in our cultural landscape. 

For his 2015 Sunroom Project, Situations, Specifics, Attenuation, Otitigbe Eto used photographs he took of plants in Wave Hill’s Marco Polo Stufano Conservatory, converting light and dark into a pattern that he engraved digitally on concrete and aluminum slabs, using a computer-controlled router. His highly textural photos spoke to the migratory history of select plants, the minute details of some of the succulents in the green house opening up larger conversations, such as the connection between human and plant migration. These abstracted patterns, derived from plant life, recalled for him the pixilation characteristic of digital media and, more broadly, the contemporary cultural landscape. That, in turn, initiated a more in-depth series of treated aluminum panels for his installation.

These abstracted patterns, derived from plant life, recalled for him the pixilation characteristic of digital media and, more broadly, the contemporary cultural landscape. That, in turn, initiated a more in-depth series of treated aluminum panels for his installation.

EO_11 meet-the-artist-resized.jpg

Curator Gabriel de Guzman (center left) with Eto Otitigbe (center right) at his Meet the Artist event, June 14, 2015.

Past Sunroom work

Situations, Specifics, Attentuation (2015)

Eto Otitigbe, "Situations, Specifics, Attenuation," 2015, concrete, aluminum and wood, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Eto Otitigbe, "Situations, Specifics, Attenuation," 2015. Photo: Ken Goebel.
Eto Otitigbe, "Situations, Specifics, Attenuation," 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
Eto Otitigbe, "Situations, Specifics, Attenuation," 2015. Courtesy of the artist.
Work for Call & Response

Aseje

Eto Otitigbe, digital rendering for "Aseje" (work in progress), 2017. Courtesy of the artist.

Eto Otitigbe’s installation for the fall 2017 anniversary exhibition Call & Response, Aseje, an Urhrobo word meaning everywhere, is an outdoor Augmented Reality (AR) installation, a series of composite views that result from superimposing computer-generated images on a user's view of the real world. Utilizing some of the forms and patterns he began to play with during his Sunroom Project, he conceives of the landscape as a frame for virtual images that are accessible on a smartphone or tablet at various points along Wave Hill’s Abrons Woodland paths. Unseen by the naked eye but “situated” in the landscape, these forms become a virtual part of the woodland, enabling exploration without intervention. The artist’s continuing exploration of patterns has driven him to think more deeply about the character of interior, versus exterior, places and spaces. 

Through a free, downloadable app, visitors can access an interactive map, a printed version of the map also being available. In addition to using a smartphone or tablet to locate the work "hidden" in the landscape, visitors may even photograph themsevles with the art in the camera's field of view.

"After receiving my MFA in creative practice, I wanted to find ways to incorporate research as a form of art practice. Today, I am focused on terminology used to describe artworks in disappearing West African languages."

—Eto Otitigbe

Eto's 2015 Sunroom Project was shown again at Longwood Gallery in the Bronx, NY; at The Warfield Center Gallery, University of Texas at Austin; and was listed in Art in America online and in the Bronx Chronicle. He has created a project at Duke University’s Slippage Performance Lab, and co-curated the exhibition Topophilia for the Meetings Festival in Nees, Denmark in the fall of 2017. He has also been awarded a 2018 Smithsonian Artist Residency Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., to conduct reasearch.

An Interview with the Artist

On WKAR TV's  January 21, 2013's Current State:  Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers discusses U.S. foreign policy in Africa and gun legislation, artist Eto Otitigbe's exhibit "Loss Prevention," Michigan military wives, sports with the Free-Press' Joe Rexrode and business with MLive's Angela Wittrock.

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