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Thy Kingdom Comes Apart

Opening Reception: 

Thursday, April 13th 6-9pm 

Gallery Hours: 

Saturdays from 12-5pm or by appointment

April 13, 2023 - May 20, 2023

Show Catalog

AUTOMAT presents new work by artist Jermaine Ollivierre, the first solo exhibition of his sculptures in Ollivierre’s hometown of Philadelphia. Join us for the opening reception Thursday, April 13th from 6-9pm.

“How do we memorialize an event that is still ongoing?”

-Christina Sharpe, “In the Wake: On Blackness and Being”

Themes of safety, protection, childhood and resilience linger on the carefully-chosen surfaces of Ollivierre’s work. A football helmet wrapped in fabric and perched on a satin pillow asks questions about protection of the head, both as the physical skull and the mental health of its wearer. A pair of the artist’s own Nikes hang from the ceiling by two red shoelaces, hovering inches from the surface of a chair.

Growing up a block from the MOVE bombings in the 1980s, Ollivierre is reflecting on a childhood marked by very real violence. How does a young child who can’t assume safety survive such times, and what happens after it is survived? How does one’s own body become the site of both survival and protection?

Consider the penny. Our smallest currency is made from a remarkable material — copper. It is a metal that can withstand a lot of heat, and it is malleable. As copper is exposed to the elements, it creates its own protective barrier, first turning very dark brown, then green. This layer of oxidation keeps the copper safe from further damage, and allows it to be a remarkably resilient material for withstanding heavy weather. A self-protective shell that looks like damage.

After the smoke has cleared, what comes next? In a recent poem, Ollivierre words read like a lament, an indictment, and a memorial —

I didn’t want you

to want me

to want this.

Jermaine Ollivierre is a Philadelphia artist.  He studied at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Delaware Community College. Ollivierre’s work has been exhibited at Tyler School of Art, Delaware County Community College, Mural Arts Gallery, Asian Arts Initiative, City Hall Creative Philadelphia Art Exhibition, Da Vinci Art Alliance and various SEPTA transit locations. He has worked as a studio assistant for several noteworthy Philadelphia artists, including Karyn Olivier and Destiny Palmer. Ollivierre will graduate with an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2024.

This exhibition was curated by Mari Elaine Lamp for AUTOMAT Collective.

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