Critics’ Picks

Evan Ifekoya, The Central Sun (detail), 2022, 2-channel synchronized sound installation,
speakers, wood, acrylic glass, styrodur, motor, painted gourd rattles, rubber skin pellet drum
with cowrie shells, cork, carpet, dimensions variable. Photo: Lorenzo Pusterla

Evan Ifekoya, The Central Sun (detail), 2022, 2-channel synchronized sound installation,
speakers, wood, acrylic glass, styrodur, motor, painted gourd rattles, rubber skin pellet drum
with cowrie shells, cork, carpet, dimensions variable. Photo: Lorenzo Pusterla

Zurich

Evan Ifekoya

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
January 29–May 1, 2022

With a mist of essential oils at its doorstep, Evan Ifekoya’s exhibition “Resonant Frequencies” opens onto a meditative, reparative spa steeped in color and polyphonic sound. As daytime ebbs, the ambient chakra-spectrum light phases from orange to turquoise. Five complementary installations—“portal units”—compose a soundscape of chimes, drums, waves, and vocal recitations from Oceanic Sage, the artist’s alter ego. Drawing on the teachings of Yoruba cosmology and psychoacoustic healing, Oceanic Sage channels the diasporic depths of the sound arts, an inheritance shaping the Nigerian-born, London-based artist’s audiocentric “practice of living in order not to turn to despair.”

In one “portal unit,” The Welcome (all works 2022), water in a circular tank ripples to the exhibition’s base frequency; its ceiling reflection glimmers overhead like a celestial object, inviting earthward-skyward contemplation. The Silent Echo, a booth drenched in ultramarine light, recalls a salt-cave retreat but with supportively squishy walls of spiked anechoic foam. Recurrent textures and geometries—calabash instruments atop plinths, cork halos underfoot, communal seating evoking mud-brick architecture, octagonal enclosures referencing Renée Green—relay a sense of hallowed structure sourced from music-making and other reservoirs of Black life.

A founder of Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.), a collective of QTBIPOC artists, Ifekoya believes in “starting from a place of abundance,” rather than from the sense of identity-based dispossession that institutional endorsement can reify and renew. Heeding the desecrations, mourning, and burnout many experience in the course of routine survival, this exhibition sumptuously modulates between therapeutic and pedagogical modes of replenishment, hospitable to all who need to fill their well.