PM/AM is a contemporary art gallery located on the border of Soho and Fitzorovia in the heart of London. It hosts a busy programme of shows across the two exhibition floors of the Eastcastle Street space. The gallery’s lower ground floor studio provides the location for a residency space for international and under-represented artists to develop their practice. Together the spaces form a unique cultural and creative hub in the bustling centre of the city.
PM/AM’s mission is to reflect through art how we engage with ourselves and the world today, expressed through the artists it is fortunate enough to work with. Recent graduates, those emerging into the spotlight and in their mid-careers on the international stage all feature across a dynamic programme. The gallery works on the vanguard of the emerging art sector, responsible for finding artists of tomorrow, and is keen to explore and present work originating from the many interlocking diasporas of the world. PM/AM’s plays a part in the incubation of contemporary art’s future by representing a carefully selected roster of artists, working with them to initiate and grow lasting careers in the global art world.
As a dynamic arts organisation PM/AM’s activities extend beyond exhibitions into consultation, publications and editorial, providing the means to facilitate placements with collectors and institutions, and create extended content to further support and expose the artists we work with. This self-contained structure is key to the gallery’s broad outlook and capabilities, however we value collaborations with external writers, curators and other galleries to realise our goals.
When discussing his artwork, Hamed Maiye takes on the role of a philosophical magician, concerned with the experience of conscious reality from the perspective of the individual and collective mind. As esoteric as this may sound, when he is painting – in his own words – is when he feels the most human.
He is guided by a desire to explore personal memory, identity, stories, alternative avenues of thinking. However, as if conjuring an independent entity that emerges alongside, the progression of a work deepens its representative potential, taking tentative steps into more abstract and obscure concepts. Some of these evade description altogether, instead forming an ineffable layer to the work that is felt but not substantiated with content – when Hamed says his work can “open a space for vagueness”, it is this that he is referring to.
Self-described as an interdisciplinary artist, Hamed works with various materials and procedures in the creation of this work, which has tapped into drawing, installation, portrait photography, film and textiles. Despite this diversity, he is first and foremost a painter.
His recent work to an extent is a distillation of his wider artistic background – studies of the human form, centralising the richness of its expressive capacities and symbolic associations. These apparitions have a sense not of being placed onto the deep black of the surface, but invoked from within it, blessed with their own agency and their own story. This idea is in keeping with Hamed’s views upon the creative process, which he considers an act of magic, a conjuring of existence.
The sorcerous nature of this approach borders on the surreal, but it’s important to note that Surrealist associations tend to revolve around the fantastical or dreamlike. Hamed’s work, despite its mysticism, is rooted elsewhere. Surreal adjacent magic realism would perhaps be a better descriptor, but then it’s precisely this type of overwrought linguistic categorisation that the work seeks to break free from.
The work in this exhibition represents the latest to be uncovered in Hamed’s artistic anthropology, where a discovery of the self – and ourselves – calls into question what lies beyond the corporeality of flesh. The oil paint, pastels, chalk and lace prints are tools through which visitors from the spirit world are analysed and our differences with them measured. We find through this a level of interplay, deftly abandoning absolute ideas that hold the body and the spirit apart.
This concept echoes the root of a particular area of study for Hamed, the common themes that can be found in revisionist Westerns. In these our classic, polarised notions are twisted and inverted; villains become heroes, ideas of what can be considered ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are ill defined.
In his body print work this sense of crumbling definition crumbling, of in between spaces, is most clearly evident. The process involves various oil-based substances and dry pigments applied to the painting surface using his own physical form, creating a result that is partly an artwork and partly a record of a performative act. The figure appears caught in the process of shape shifting, the core of its identity and psychology exposed for questioning.
Viewing these images allows us to see beyond the boundary of rationality, and into a place of malleability, where the artist becomes part of the myth.
Born: 1991, Lagos, Nigeria.
Lives and works in London.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2021 – 10. PM/AM, London.
2021 – Old Friends, New Friends. Collective Ending, London.
2020 – An Ode to Afro-Surrealism. Horniman Museum, London.
2020 – Open Studio. Block 336, London.
2019 – Behold, The Invisible! The Swiss Church, London.
2019 – Everpress 50/50. Protein Studios, London.
2019 – This Is Not A Funeral. Regents Place, London.
2019 – Third Space II. Third Space, Cambridge.
2018 – Friday Late: Snap with i-D. V&A Museum, London.
2018 – H(ACKT). Ugly Duck, London.
2018 – East. Willesden Gallery, London.
2018 – And Now It Begins. GX Gallery, London.
2017 – Transmission. Protein Studios, London.
2017 – Late at Tate. Tate Britain, London.
2017 – Ain’t I Beautiful. Hive Dalston, London.
2017 – Afro-Portraitism. Republic Gallery, London.
2016 – Dark Matter Series 1. Shoreditch Platform, London.
2016 – Rise of the Anti. Republic Gallery, London.
2016 – Subvert/Reflect. Republic Gallery, London.
2016 – Subvert. Gallery on the Corner, London.