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The Aura of Boxing: The Black and White Series by Max Kandhola

New Art Exchange, 39-41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG7 6BE
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The Aura of Boxing:  The Black and White Series by Max Kandhola

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Saturday 1 February - Monday 21 April 2014

If a photograph says a thousand words, Max Kandhola's photographic exhibition, The Aura of Boxing, its unconventional description of the sport of boxing as graceful, intelligent and spiritual. The black and white photography series of first-class professional boxers can neither be classed as portraiture or sports photography. The exhibition features four renowned British boxers: Howard Clarke, Julius Francis, Robert McCracken, and more recently, Nottingham-born world champion boxer, Carl Froch.

Max Kandhola has been developing this highly-anticipated body of work over the past 18 years, which now premieres at New Art Exchange. The artist has been widely exhibited internationally, with works belonging to various notable collections; accomplished alongside his prestigious role as Course Leader in Photography at Nottingham Trent University. Melanie Kidd, Director of Programmes, explained the significance of displaying Kandhola’s photography at New Art Exchange:

"I’m honoured to premiere The Aura of Boxing at New Art Exchange and to promote the practice of such an accomplished photographer. I enjoy the emotional and intellectual depth of Max’s practice and the added accessible thread this particular collection provides through its populist subject matter.”

The Aura of Boxing opens as we witness boxing’s rise as one of the fastest growing sports in England following the success of Team GB in the 2012 London Olympics. The sport’s increasingly open image was supported by the inclusion of women as boxing competitors for the first time in London. Max’s work comes to the fore at a fitting time, as questions are raised as to the misleading stereotype of boxers as all-male, hyper-masculine, aggressive and unrefined.

Kandhola’s unique visual interpretation of boxing transcends the sports usual associations of being a brutal pastime. The artist conveys elements of beauty, delicacy and vulnerability that are commonly overlooked, which parallels the sport with high art forms, intellectual endeavours and spiritual experience. Kandola explains, “There is a refined and elegant intelligence within boxing. A graceful performer elevated within the theatre of their dreams.”

The exhibition transforms the New Art Exchange’s white cube gallery space into an urban inspired landscape, imitating the usual “rough and ready” sites that house boxing. Although usually grotty in appearance, the gyms, schools and warehouses used for training are often seen as temples through the eyes of a boxer. Boxing academies are commonly situated in inner-city communities like New Art Exchange’s neighbourhood, Hyson Green, where the sport’s landscapes breeds questions of social politics, race, class and clan.

This multi-site exhibition launches at New Art Exchange, February 2014. Subsequent exhibitions of other distinct works in Max Kandhola’s The Aura of Boxing series will be displayed at Rich Mix, London and Quad’s Chocolate Factory. The exhibition coincides with the release of The Aura of Boxing, a major new publication on Max’s practice, and signed copies will be available for purchase at the exhibition launch event.

Admission: FREE

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