Questionnaire: Chris Ofili

What is art for? It’s a constant reminder of the elusiveness of beauty

Chris Ofili, Mal D'Estomac, 2008, colour photograph

Chris Ofili, Mal D'Estomac, 2008, colour photograph

What images keep you company in the space where you work? Dreams of old.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you? Giotto’s The Mocking of Christ and Flagellation (1304–6).

If you could live with only one piece of art what would it be? The first piece of art.

What is your favourite title of an art work? The Fall of the Dammed.

What do you wish you knew? Nothing at all.

What should change? Everything, always.

What should stay the same? Nothing, never.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what you do? Nomadically wandering the globe in search of nothing, driven purely by impulse and trusted instincts, accumulating age, experience and innocence.

What music are you listening to? ‘Prema’ by Alice Coltrane on her album Transfiguration (1978).

What are you reading? The Gospel of Judas.

What do you like the look of? Roba’s glow.

Chris Ofili was born in Manchester, UK, and lives and works in Trinidad. He has had major solo exhibitions at Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany (2006), Tate Britain, London, UK (2005) and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, USA (2005). Ofili won the Turner Prize in 1998 and represented Britain at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. His mid-career survey show opens at Tate Britain on 27 January 2010 and will be the most comprehensive exhibition of his work to date.

Issue 128

First published in Issue 128

Jan – Feb 2010

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