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For Frieze New York 2021, Goodman Gallery presents works by

NOLAN OSWALD DENNIS

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE

GRADA KILOMBA

DAVID KOLOANE

MISHECK MASAMVU

CASSI NAMODA

SHIRIN NESHAT

SAM NHLENGETHWA

PAMELA PHATSIMO SUNSTRUM

HANK WILLIS THOMAS

 

[For sales enquiries, please email  fairs@goodman-gallery.com]

Nolan Oswald Dennis

Nolan Oswald Dennis

biko.shabazz (al.ways/means)

2019

Receipt printer and microcontroller

Variable Dimensions

 

In this series of work Nolan Oswald Dennis simulates dialogues between South African political philosopher Steve Biko and other global thinkers and activists from the black consciousness movement. This interactive work employs a receipt printer programmed with an algorithm to reproduce sentences from texts, such as interviews, autobiographies, academic theory and court transcripts. The result is poetic conversations printed in real-time between Biko and his counterparts based on a series of keywords extracted from the material. These dialogue works are automated systems for approximating a kind of black liberation dreaming.

This particular work constructs a dialogue between Biko and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X.

 

WK Image

William Kentridge

Drawing from Waiting for the Sibyl (Comrade Tree, I report to you), 2020

Ink wash, red pencil and collage on hemp and sisal fiber Phumani handmade paper, mounted on raw cotton

292 x 295 cm (115 x 116.1 in.)

Unique

 

Exploring and championing a breadth of mediums, such as animation, sculpture, performance and drawing, William Kentridge’s complex creations are multifaceted in form, resonating with audiences through their unifying exploration of the very fabric of our existence. Revisiting and reacting to philosophical, historical or political tropes, Kentridge conjures myriad themes in his polymorphic works which are experimental and conceptually rich.

 

Kentridge proposes a way of seeing art and life as a continuous process of change rather than as a controlled world of certainties. He constantly questions the impact of artistic practice in today’s world and has investigated how identities are shaped through shifting ideas of history, and place, looking at how we construct our histories and what we do with them.

 

Kentridge’s botanical drawings of trees are rendered in Indian ink on the pages of old encyclopedias, and attempt to capture the forms of trees indigenous to the area around Johannesburg. Using photographic references and drawing loosely in Indian ink, the plants are grown page by page – each page holding only a fragment of the whole. The complete botanical forms emerge more by recognition than by a pre-existing clarity as to what the plant must look like, as the pages are shifted, layered, torn, pieces added, marks added – until the tree reveals itself as complete.

 

Drawing from Waiting for the Sibyl (Comrade Tree, I report to you) is the latest addition to Kentridge’s series of large-scale ink drawings of trees and phrases on found paper. These drawings go hand in hand with his new opera project, Waiting for the Sibyl, which premiered at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in September 2019. Waiting for the Sibyl was created in response to Alexander Calder’s Work in Progress – the only operatic work created by Calder and staged at the Opera in Rome in 1968.

 

“I thought that the paper, the fragments of paper with which I have always expressed myself , were the right elements to start the dialogue with Calder”. In Kentridge's mind, the floating papers immediately evoked the image of the Cumaean Sibyl, the priestess who wrote her prophecies on oak leaves. The floating papers, like loose leaves, with the prophecies written on them, are blown away by the wind.

 

WK sculp text

William Kentridge

Quintet (Procession)

2020

Bronze set of 5

Edition of 6

Sculpture One: 19.2 x 16.5 x 13.1 cm 

Sculpture Two: 22.3 x 11.2 x 8.8 cm 

Sculpture Three: 22.4 x 15 x 10 cm 

Sculpture Four: 23.8 x 14 x 7.6 cm 

Sculpture Five: 22 x 17.1 x 9.5 cm

Quintet (Procession) is part of the third in a series of William Kentridge’s Lexicon bronzes, titled Cursive. Kentridge’s Lexicon bronzes are an accumulation of elemental symbols within his broader practice, which function as a form of visual dictionary. The sculptures are symbols, ‘glyphs’, a repertoire of everyday objects or suggested words and icons, many of which have been used repeatedly across previous projects. The glyphs can be arranged in order to construct sculptural sentences, and rearranged to deny meaning.

 

“The glyphs started as a collection of ink drawings and paper cut-outs, each on a single page from a dictionary. Previously I had taken a drawing or silhouette and given it just enough body to stand on its own feet - paper, added to cardboard, and put on a stand. With the glyphs I wanted a silhouette with the weight that the shape suggested. A shape not just balancing in space, but filling space. Something to hold in your hand, with both shape and heft.” (William Kentridge, Why Should I Hesitate : Sculpture, Norval Foundation and Koenig Books)

 

The procession is an important theme in Kentridge’s broader practice, which first emerged in his drawings and film animations in 1989. Like most of Kentridge’s practice, his first procession drawings were made within the context of his home city, Johannesburg. The appearance of the procession in his work not only spoke to markers of global mobilities, or to the fraudulent ideals of development, especially within postcolonial Africa. They were also in dialogue with local debates around resistance, cultural differences and the shape and form of state power in apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. The procession motif has featured most notably in Kentridge’s films, Shadow Procession (1999), the eight channel film installation, More Sweetly Play the Dance (2015) and in his monumental frieze, Triumphs and Laments (2016), along the banks of the River Tiber in Rome. 
















 

Grada artwork

Grada Kilomba

Heroines, Birds and Monsters series, Sphinx Act I

2020

Archival pigment print on cotton paper mounted on alu Dibond

150 x 170 cm (59.1 x 66.9 in.)

Edition of 5

 

In her trilogy of films, 'Illusions Vol.I, Narcissus and Echo', 'Ilusions Vol. II', 'Oedipus and Illusions Vol. III, Antigone,' Grada Kilomba uses Greek myths to explore systems of oppression and power as they relate to (post) colonialism. What if history has not been told properly? What if only some of its characters have been revealed as part of the narrative? And what if our history is haunted by cyclical violence precisely because it has not been buried properly? Kilomba asks.

 

“I wanted to capture the women characters [in these performances] negotiating this complex history of cyclical violence and oppression… they embody the heroines, the birds and the monsters. The sculptural moments reveal the intensity of this negotiation,” says Kilomba.

 

This photograph is taken from the second film in the trilogy, Illusions Vol.II, Oedipus and depicts the moment that, in the Greek myth of Oedipus, the protagonist encounters the Sphinx. The Sphinx was placed by the gods at the gates of the city, because something very terrible had happened in the past. She would pose a riddle to anyone who would enter or leave the city, and would devour everyone who could not give the correct answer to her question - after all, one cannot escape from its own history.

 

Koloane artwork

 

David Koloane

Birds Landing

2017

Mixed media on canvas

160 x 120 x 2.5 cm (63 x 47.2 x 1 in.)

 

For the greater part of Davd Koloane’s aesthetic and artistic oeuvre, he explored the conditions of the urban South African vernacular, developing a powerful and poignant social commentary on African life and individual experiences within the cityscape of Johannesburg. In this work, Koloane represented the city using layers of mixed media and exaggerated brushwork to communicate the emotional workings of the artist in response to the anxieties faced within the metropolis. He drew on the dynamic energies and individual sensibilities faced when encountering hybrid residents and different environments. Koloane’s figuration demonstrates the artistic sensibilities and traditions of South African modernist expressionism whilst complementing these techniques with subject matter that maintains pertinence within South African urban culture and adds to the dialogue surrounding the representation of cosmopolitan experience within contemporary visual culture.

Misheck artwork

Misheck Masamvu

Warmth on Empty Bodies

2019

Oil on canvas

200 x 179 cm (78.7 x 70.5 in.)

 

Misheck Masamvu uses painting and drawing as a way in which to investigate human existence and our relationship to the natural world. Central to his practice is abstraction, which the artist employs to explore “the language and politics of space”. While abstraction forms an integral part of Masamvu’s practice he does not let go of figuration completely. Rather, his figures appear within the abstracted space he creates, attesting to his continued belief in the narrative potential of painting. For the artist, his paintings are understood as marks of existence, pointing not only to the realities of his lived experience but also to mental and psychological space, where each layer of paint, or brushstroke on the canvas proposes a search to resolve conflicted experiences or decisions.

"I use both figuration and abstraction in my work because I am looking for a new alternative space – one that is against the forced ideology of government and the breakdown of the pursuit of humanity. For this, the symbolism of the landscape and the figure in constant states of entangled metamorphosis are important. I am aware of the communion of the body, the soil and spirit and am interested in how transfiguration and memoirs of body and soul can evoke a real sense of vulnerability", says Masamvu.

With a technique that is immediate and direct, Masamvu's works consist of layered painted surfaces, abstracted forms and brushstrokes which are almost visceral and exist as remnants of the physical action of painting. In establishing a distinct abstract visual language, one gets the sense that multiple temporalities have been included in one picture plane and that beneath the surface of one painted image, an infinity of others exist. The outcome of which is a porous pictorial space, one that moves between representational clarity and rich, abstract abundance.

 

Cassi artwork

Cassi Namoda

“A Spiritual Declaration, Under the weight of it all” 

2021

Acrylic and Gak on Cotton Poly

91,4 x 121.9 cm (36 x 48 in.)

 

Namoda’s paintings explore the intricacies of social dynamics and mixed cultural and racial identity. In this new painting, shown for the first time at Frieze New York, Namoda extends her pallet and composition used in more recent works such as We have become strangers (Fight with a javelin and boron). An ode to Goya (2020), which was shown at her recent solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. Whereas in that painting two figures appear to be in a duel, in this work the figure appears isolated, adopting a submissive position akin to surrender. As for who the figure represents, in Namoda’s words, “[he’s] a warrior on the front lines of love”. 


 

Neshat artwork

Shirin Neshat

Untitled, from Women of Allah series

1995

LE silver gelatin print

Work: 152.4 x 101.6 cm (60 x 40 in.)

Frame: 166.4 x 107.9 cm (65.5 x 42.5 in.)

 

Shirin Neshat’s photographic series ‘Women of Allah’ examine the complexities of women’s identities, both through their personal and public lives. The series also explores notions of femininity in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy in her home country of Iran. This is done both through the lens of Western representations of Muslim women and through the more intimate subject of personal and religious conviction. This particular image was one of only a few taken by Neshat in Iran during one of her last trips. She was inspired by photographs from the Qajar period, which tended to have similar backdrops.

Pamela artwork

 

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Magnanimus

2009

Graphite on paper

127 x 96 cm (50 x 37.8 in.)

 

 

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s multidisciplinary work encompasses drawing and animation, and alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Her drawings – narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient – shift between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes.

Pamela artwork

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Dulcifera

2009

Graphite on paper

127 x 96 cm (50 x 37.8 in.)

 

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s multidisciplinary work encompasses drawing and animation, and alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Her drawings – narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient – shift between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes.

HWT artwork

Hank Willis Thomas

The only thing that one can do after having seen a canvas like ours is total revolution

2019

Quilt made out of decommissioned prison uniforms

226.1 x 226.1 cm (89 x 89 in.)

 

“All of my work is about framing and context. Where you stand affects what you see. Your notion of reality is completely shaped by your perspective and what you bring to what you’re looking at. 

I’ve always loved modern art, especially Minimalism and Conceptual art. However, I’ve often struggled with interpreting its meaning and even interpreting its value, and at some point I thought that I could engage with it more closely by working with optical ideas that artists such as Frank Stella, Daniel Buren, and Ellsworth Kelly were wrestling with. I was really interested in Buren’s stripes because they are seen as so mundane and apolitical, and I realized that in the United States stripes play a critical role in our iconography as a country (the stars and stripes) but, of course, that we also imprison more people in the land of the free than anywhere else in the world and that prison stripes also have a meaning, a potency. There’s the idea of bars that are meant to represent liberty but are also meant to represent people being confined.

I thought by using stripes, for instance in Every Act Is Political… (Buren)—and they’re the signature medium in Buren’s work—that I could add something into that meaning, so I started to use old prison quilts that have stripes in them. And I thought by remaking popular works by canonized artists I could possibly complicate the conversation about what I believe, which is that all art is political. Finding Buren's quote that every act is political after I made the work really solidified my idea that it doesn’t have to look political to be political, and maybe if it doesn’t look political we need to reshape our notion of what the political is.” - Hank Willis Thomas 





 

HWT - Quilt Hemp Trees - CAPTION

Hank Willis Thomas

Hemp Leaves, 2020

Multimedia quilt including sports (baseball) jerseys

Unframed Dimensions: 182.88 x 244 cm (72 x 96 in.)

Thumb-Show

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Sam 2

Sam Nhlengethwa
The fireplace
2020
Mixed media on canvas
130 x 110 cm (51.1 x 43.3 in.)

Sam 1

Sam Nhlengethwa
The Grey Wall II
2020
Mixed media on canvas
90.5 x 100.5 cm (35.6.1 x 39.6 in.)

Sam 3

Sam Nhlengethwa
The red couch
2020
Mixed media on canvas
130 x 110 cm (51.1 x 43.3 in.)

Sam 2

Sam Nhlengethwa
The fireplace
2020
Mixed media on canvas
130 x 110 cm (51.1 x 43.3 in.)

Sam 1

Sam Nhlengethwa
The Grey Wall II
2020
Mixed media on canvas
90.5 x 100.5 cm (35.6.1 x 39.6 in.)

Sam 3

Sam Nhlengethwa
The red couch
2020
Mixed media on canvas
130 x 110 cm (51.1 x 43.3 in.)

Over the course of his career, Sam Nhlengethwa’s ongoing Interiors series has become an important space for the artist to pay various tributes, bringing cultural icons into conversation with his practice and each other. The painting-collage works comprise an eclectic constellation of references and are presented together as their own contained interior space.

The suite of  painting-collages that make up this recent series, Interiors continued were made under the unique circumstances of a nationwide lockdown, confining the artist to his home studio but with his family surrounding him. Work such as these above carry direct references to Nhlengethwa’s personal domestic space in this unique time.

Jaar Other People Think

Alfredo Jaar

Other People Think

2012

Lightbox with black and white transparency

50 x 50 x 10 cm (19.7 x 19.7 x 3.9 in)

Edition of 10

 

Alfredo Jaar's multidisciplinary artistic practice explores unequal power relations and sociopolitical divisions, as well as issues of migration and discrimination. Through his work, Jaar makes far-reaching connections in his works between the levels of ethics and aesthetics, and has become known as one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today. Okwui Enwezor once said of Jaar that “his work represents one of the most developed commitments by a contemporary artist in the blatant embrace of the structural link between ethics and aesthetics, art and politics”. Enwezor placed Jaar in the same alignment as Hans Haacke, Christian Boltanski, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Adrian Piper. 

 

Written in 1927, Other People Think was delivered by Cage at the Hollywood Bowl where, then a student at Los Angeles High School, he won the Southern California Oratorical Contest. Although Cage was only 15 years old at the time, his essay frames a bold critique and portentous analysis of North and South American relations, and continues to have incredible resonance and relevance to contemporary culture and politics. As a Chilean artist living in the United States 85 years later, Jaar still works with the imbalances of this historically stagnant relationship. Reintroducing this acute text to today’s audience hopes to bring Cage’s teachings, which have yet to be followed, back to light.

DG - Diptych = LARGE IMAGE
DG - Diptych

David Goldblatt

Portrait photographer and client, Braamfontein (3_1538, 3_1539)

1955

Silver gelatin print on fibre-based paper (diptych)

Image (each): 26.7 x 40.3 cm

Edition of 10

 

David Goldblatt chronicled the structures, people and landscapes of his country from 1948 – through the rise of Afrikaner Nationalism, the apartheid regime and into the democratic era – until his death in June 2018. Goldblatt’s photography examines how South Africans have expressed their values through the structures, physical and ideological, that they have built. In 1989, Goldblatt founded the Market Photography Workshop in Johannesburg. In 1998 he was the first South African to have a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2001, a retrospective of his work, David Goldblatt Fifty-One Years began a tour of major international galleries and museums. He was one of the few South African artists to exhibit at both Documenta 11 (2002) and Documenta 12 (2007) in Kassel, Germany. He has held solo exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the New Museum, both in New York.

 

“In a self-reflexive gesture, a pair of images from 1955 documents an itinerant photographer and his client. Visible in the images are an old-fashioned camera and tripod with cloth cover, and a man in a baggy suit who laughs and sways charismatically, as though dancing to music before the lens.” - Rachel Kent, chief curator MCA

 

HWT - To life abundant details and artwork

Hank Willis Thomas

To life abundant (blue and gold on white)

2018

Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl.

Source image DRUM Magazine. Copyright BAHA

86.4 x 133.3 cm ( 34 x 52.5 in)

 

 

Hank Willis Thomas has often explored similar ideas by incorporating a wide range of historical sources that he transforms in order to create an experimental approach to image making that reflects his broader investigation of the historical and cultural apparatuses surrounding issues of race, gender, and identity today.

 

In his retroreflectives series, Thomas frequently utilises photographs that document civil rights struggles as the foundation of his work – transforming the raw material of past social struggles, from the civil rights movement to anti-apartheid demonstrations, into his own primary sources for current cultural conflicts. As he explains, "I’m fascinated with how our history and our understanding of the world actually shifts, so I think of history as a moving target". In so doing, he not only helps reframe the past as ever relevant, but also offers moments of contemporary agency and resistance.

HWT Sophiatown

Hank Willis Thomas

Sophiatown (white and black on black)

2018 

Screenprint on retroreflective vinyl. 

Source image DRUM Magazine / Bob Gosani. Copyright BAHA

61 x 79.7 cm (24 x 31.4 in)

 

In this series Hank Willis Thomas explores the act of making and viewing images, bringing to light the way in which they function in society. The works are made using a technique in which an image is printed on retroreflective vinyl so that it is only revealed through a flash of bright light – referencing a camera flash. Viewers are invited to photograph the retroreflective prints using a flash. The effect is a series of images that appear to change and invert depending on the viewer’s angle or view, creating an instability that brings attention to the important role that a viewer plays in the life cycle of an image.

 

Recalling the silkscreen prints of Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, Thomas stresses the repetition of images in popular culture as a vehicle for creating value in society. The photographs Thomas has chosen to work with often document acts of protest against repressive regimes. In the series of retroreflective prints made for South Africa, Thomas focuses on apartheid era photographs. These images record South Africa’s violent and brutal past and although they are often difficult to view, Thomas’ works focus on the importance of remembering the past in order to understand where we are now and where we might be going. 

 

Misheck Missing Parts in a Dream - details

Misheck Masamvu

Missing Parts in a Dream

2020

Oil on canvas

160 x 135 cm (63 x 53.1 in)

 

In Misheck Masamvu’s painting Missing Parts in a Dream the artist uses painting and mark making as a way in which to track his thoughts and emotions. Using abstraction, Masamvu creates an imagined landscape which acts as a physical manifestation of his state of mind and his subconscious. For Masamvu, the painting allows him to “occupy a space without defining what it is”. As the title suggests, the painting is by no means a comprehensive and organised mapping, rather it exists as a struggle to remember the ephemeral realm of dreams and memories.

 

Misheck Masamvu uses painting as a way to explore structures of power and how history comes to bear on the contemporary moment. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, Masamvu’s works allow him to address the past while searching for a way of being in the world. His layered painted surfaces and brush strokes, which are almost visceral, exist as remnants of the physical act of painting and give the sense that multiple temporalities have been included in one picture plane. Beneath the surface of one painted image, an infinity of others exist. Masamvu’s work often depicts figures in nature. Through abstraction, Masamvu’s figures appear in the midst of metamorphosis, absorbed by teeming landscapes which become metaphors for how we might throw off the shackles of history and adapt to a new way of interacting with the world.

On View at Adler Beatty 

 

34 East 69th Street
New York, NY 10021
info@adlerbeatty.com
+1-212-628-0470

Hours: Tuesday through Friday 11-5

Kudzi Drw text

Kudzanai Chiurai
Untitled XII (Must have political content)
2019
Mixed media on Saunders archival cotton rag paper
Work: 76 x 57 cm (29.9 x 22.4 in.)
Frame: 90 x 70 x 3 cm (35.4 x 27.6 x 1.2 in.)

Kudzanai Chiurai’s Paintings from the Radical Archive are a pastiche and homage to posters generated for the purpose of inciting publics into political action in what is now remembered as a turbulent 1970’s Zimbabwe. By excavating these press-to public posters and rendering them as paintings, Chiurai calls to attention the meditative processes required of both the painter and poster designer.

The timelessness of the slogans and anthems appearing in the original posters is reiterated within Chiurai’s collage as a painful echo of their continued relevance in present-day protest actions.

Nolan

Nolan Oswald Dennis
prop.10 [prou(k)n]
2018
Two graphite drawings, washi tape, marker on butter board
Work (each): 61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.)
Frame (each): 68.5 x 53.2 cm (27 x 20.9 in.)

“prou(k)n is a false acronym for: Project For the Affirmation of the (K)new - a series of drawings echoing El LIssitzky’s Proun series of paintings. 

 

The prou(k)n series is an effort to find a sketched language that registers the tension between the new, as a move toward the unknown, and the knew, as a move toward recovery of what was lost. In our ongoing project of post-colonial transformation and anti-colonial liberation we are looking for both the return of what we know was taken (dignity, memory, possibility) and simultaneously to transcend the boundaries of all that we know and all that is knowable. This is the double agency of decoloniality. 

 

The prou(k)n series builds a soft language of ganglia and quantum entanglements for thinking with our collective nervous body. These drawings form a gestural vocabulary for an other-worldly protest drawn over analytic diagrams of the post-colonial condition. prou(k)n drawings are knotted signals in the noise of a collective dream (sometimes nightmare) of another world.” - Nolan Oswald Dennis

 

Marx 1

Gerhard Marx
Four Intersecting Excavations (A Cartography of Cavities)
2020
Reconfigured map fragments on canvasWork: 100 x 120 cm (39.4 x 47.2 in.)
Frame: 101.5 x 123 x 7.5 cm (40 x 48.4 in.)

Gerhard Marx’s ‘drawings’ are constructed entirely from the fragments of decommissioned and discarded terrestrial maps. His works focus on looking at the act of taking the flat, two-dimensional depictions of landmass and territory – which maps are intended to be – and reconfiguring them into different geometric constructions which, with their folds, facets and overlays, give way to an ongoing investigation into the formal and fictive possibilities of perspective within the flatness of the map.

In exploring the depth, interiority and perspectival illusion of geographical terrain, Marx reconsiders the flat surface of the map through an act of ‘cartographic mining’ – rupturing the solidity of the earth’s surface into a transparent palimpsest of geography and historical time that undermines the authority and singular viewpoint of the two-dimensional map.

Marx 2

Gerhard Marx
The same place excavated three times (A Cartography of Cavities)
2020
Reconfigured map fragments on canvas
Work: 100 x 120 cm (39.4 x 47.2 in.)
Frame: 101.5 x 123 x 7.5 cm (40 x 48.4 in.)

DG - Patience

Patience Poni visiting her parents, Ruth and Jackson Poni, 1510A Emdeni
South, Soweto (2_11376)
1972
Silver gelatin print on fibre-based paper
Image: 39.9 x 39.9 cm
AP 2/3

"Johannesburg - Joburg - is not an easy city to love. From its beginnings as a mining camp in 1886, whites did not want brown and black people living among or near them and over the years pushed them further and further from the city and its white suburbs. Eventually, under Apartheid, particular areas were prescriptively defined by race : laws required that only a certain race - black, white, colored, Asian - could occupy a given piece of land. Soweto and Alexandra were for blacks, Hillbrow, Houghton. Pageview for whites. Lenasia for Asians, Protea for coloureds and so on. Changes were brutally made and people mercilessly moved, invariably to suit white wishes. With the abolition of Apartheid in the early 1990s, the racial laws have gone. People are now free to live and work where they choose and the sharpness of the racial divides is softening in many areas. A huge influx of people from all over Africa has changed the demographics. But essentially we have a city of fragments widely scattered over one of the largest municipal areas in the world. It is difficult to imagine Joburg as a coherent whole.” - David Goldblatt

KG 1

Kendell Geers
Petals of Blood 204
2019
Acrylic on canvas
100 x 70 cm (39.3 x 27.5 in.)

The title of these paintings by Kendell Geers quotes a book by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, a landmark writer of postcolonial African literature. Thiong'o’s writing calls into question the ability to decolonise our minds if we are speaking (and thinking) with the tongue of the coloniser. For Geers, art should be rooted in personal experience that gives the language an accent that liberates the work from the imposition of power relations that are not in favour of the subject.

The paintings in the “Petals of Blood'' series are coupled with another series called “Les Fleurs du Mal” which quotes the banned book of poems by Baudelaire that launched the Modernist era in Paris. The still life paintings are inspired by the photographic series “Garden of Earthly Delights.” The blossoms look like scars, wounds, bullet holes or the Corona virus and appear to be bleeding, reflecting humanity’s tenuous connection to nature and our ecology, replacing historic respect given to our environment with violence.

 

 

KG 2

Kendell Geers
Petals of Blood 523
2019
Acrylic on canvas
100 x 70 cm (39.3 x 27.5 in.)

WK Sculp

William Kentridge
Sister Fan
2016
Bronze, oil paint
33 x 51 x 31 cm
STD 5/9
Edition of 9