Goodman Gallery is pleased to present 'conditions', Nolan Oswald Dennis’ third solo exhibition with Goodman Gallery.
The exhibition presents a new series of works centred around the spherical globe, an idealised figure of the planet in Western cosmology : seamless, smooth, unitary and knowable. Counter to this image of the world, Dennis proposes a series of transformations of the sphere, stretching and distorting the model in order to find space for other worlds, other world possibilities.
Four diagrams attempting, in their own way, to simplify the complexity of a difficult world made more difficult by our desire to simplify it. A paradoxical impulse, to unburden ourselves of the weight of being in the world and simultaneously to burden the world with the weight of our being in it, if not of it. This paradoxical push to be a part of this world and to pull apart from it, to pull the world apart in order to partake of it, to take part in that which takes so much of us. For us, hesitancy and ambivalence is a condition of transformatio
A set of globes are subtended by two hidden bars to form a conjoined model. The distance between these two globes is populated by black spheres, a cycliverse model, describing the bounce from one world to another, each trying their best to persist.
A materialist account of change considers the interaction between two forces, a dialectic between objective conditions, which is the situation of world as we find it. Lets say the structures of alienation, exploitation, distribution of resources and violence. So, there's a dialectic between these objective conditions and subjective conditions, which are the conscious organisations of history, technology, material and metaphysics, in order to either maintain or transform those objective conditions on the planet.
Three drawings trace a short century of South African parliaments as stratigraphic features within the land. I borrow a representational language from geology, as well as the geologic principle of lateral continuity to think about this, our democratic representational form, this parliamentary structure of the state and its, maybe necessary, maybe tragic, principle of continuity. Familiar shapes in silver anticipate the symbolic geometry of the long transition from South Africa as a settler colonial object into something altogether different. And yet a certain legal continuity still connects the parliamentary system of the Apartheid state and our current state. Opposite this set of drawings is an isiZulu copy of the South African constitution pinned open to the page that describes the South African flag.
'a model for an endless column' is an array of plastic globes that are suspended from the ceiling. Each globe enacts a geographic logic of placement, a particular kind of colonial violence is repeated. At a certain point a black globe interrupts this chain. This column touches neither the ground nor the ceiling. It suggests maybe a unresolved relation to the pull of gravity.
'a garden for fanon’ - a set of stands, glass globes, izinkhamba pots, machine and human protocols for caring for a community of earthworms. The installation is assembled to provide an ideal environment for the community of earthworms to work through the body of the Pan-African philosopher and psychologist Frantz Fanon’s final book, 'The Wretched of the Earth'. This garden is an ideal environment in the sense of a utopia. It sits apart from the world. A fabricated island as a model for a kind of landlessness that writhes and recreates the land, let’s say the world, on its own terms.
Our role here is not to observe or contemplate the garden as a work of art but to tend to the conditions that make the garden possible. Simply, one must feed the worms, one must maintain a conducive temperature, humidity and illumination. What comes at the end is a result of what we put in, and what we dont. Some soil and leachate and more worms and some time spent together caring.