Unseen Amsterdam 2019

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents work by Mohau Modisakeng (b.1986, Soweto, South-Africa), Neo Matloga (b.1993, South-Africa), and Marwan Bassiouni (b.1985, Morges, Switzerland).

Mohau Modisakeng

In his practice, Mohau Modisakeng confronts collective trauma, geographical displacement and the socio-political and cultural implications of Africa’s violent colonial history. In his newest works from the Land of Zanj series, Modisakeng inquires the history of slavery between East Africa and the Gulf area. The artist’s exploration into this history is a response to his personal background; an attempt to further understand the intricacies of South Africa’s post-Apartheid and post-colonial present.

In the context of the South African liberation struggle, the idea of a promised land has been expressed through the notion of Azania; or the idea of a nation that was meant to rise from the ashes of colonialism and Apartheid. The term Azania, meaning the land of blacks or the land of Zanj, thus encapsulates the desires of the African diaspora to return from exile and rebuild their home on African soil. The powerful portraits of Baheberu (‘Hebrew’) refer to a people that will someday, after the exodus, establish a new kingdom.

Mohau Modisakeng (SA, 1986) is based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where he received his education at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. He won the SASLO New Signatures Award and the Standard Bank Young Artists Award and represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 2017. He has presented work at Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town; Saatchi Gallery, London; Dak’Art Biennale; Sharjah Biennial; PERFORMA17, New York and many more signi cant international institutions. He recently was commissioned to create a memorial for Nelson Mandela, which will be revealed in Amsterdam Zuidoost’s Nelson Mandelapark in 2020.

Marwan Bassiouni
For his photographic series New Dutch Views, Marwan Bassiouni traveled across the Netherlands through polder landscapes and industrial areas; from small villages to densely populated inner cities. There he captured typical Dutch landscapes through the windows of more than seventy different mosques. Bassiouni’s razor-sharp photos suggest a different way of looking at Islam in the West. At the same time, he shows a society in which different cultures clash and co-exist, symbolizing the artist’s bicultural identity and the emergence of a new Western-Islamic identity.

Marwan Bassiouni (CH, 1985) is a Swiss-Egyptian-American photographer with an interest in contributing to ongoing dialogues on Islam in Western society. Bassiouni is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and a recipient of the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Student Grantthe Harry Pennings Prize and several other awards. In May 2019, Bassiouni published his first book New Dutch Views and had his first solo exhibition at The Hague Museum of Photography with this series.

Neo Matloga
Although the subject matter of Neo Matloga’s canvases is domestic – daily life in black households in the artist’s native South Africa – they often have the epic scale of 19th century history paintings. Like his use of primarily black, white and grey palette, or the way he titles most of his works in his mother tongue, Sepedi, this decision is not without its political connotations, or its ambiguities. On the vast, charcoal and ink wash stages, Matloga’s cast of characters play out every-day dramas, experiencing the struggles and consolations of desire and intimacy. Above all, the people in his canvases are as he says, ‘moral agents’, however much socio-economic and political conditions shape life outside (and, indeed, inside) the four walls of their homes.

Neo Matloga (ZA, 1993) is an upcoming South African artist, who lives and works in Amsterdam. There he completed a two-years residency program at De Ateliers. In 2018, Matloga won the Koninklijke Prijs voor Schilderkunst. The jury for the Royal Award called him a “storyteller with guts.” Earlier this year, Matloga was also nominated for the Volkskrant Beeldende Kunst Prijs 2019. Matloga’s work is included in several renowned collections, including those of Zeitz MOCAA, KRC Collection, and the Fries Museum, where he currently has a large solo exhibition called Neo to Love.

ABOUT Anthony Goicolea

Born in 1971 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Lives and works in New York

Anthony Goicolea (USA, 1971) is a first-generation Cuban American artist. He grew up in the Deep South of the United States of America, in the midst of the Cuban refugee crises, coupled with the advent of the AIDS crises, and the rise of the religious right. Goicolea was socially stigmatised for being Cuban, gay, and Catholic. These circumstances brought about a heightened awareness of social constructs, and the changing nature of identity in politics – a theme that continually influences his work. Goicolea explores themes ranging from personal history and identity, cultural tradition and heritage, to alienation and displacement.

His diverse oeuvre encompasses digitally manipulated self-portraits, landscapes, and narrative tableaux executed in a variety of media, including black-and-white and color photography, sculpture and video installations, and multi-layered drawings on Mylar. Best known for his powerful, and often unsettling, staged photographic and video works, Goicolea made his artistic debut in the late 1990s with a series of provocative multiple self-portrait images. These early works featured groups of young boys on the threshold of adolescence, acting out childhood fantasies and bizarre rituals of revelry and social taboo in highly staged domestic or institutional settings or dense, fairy-tale forests. Revealing a playful self-consciousness, they often consisted of complex composites of the artist himself, in all manner of poses and guises. Soon thereafter, Goicolea garnered international attention with his ambiguous, yet strangely compelling, landscapes, ranging from dream-like woodland environments to vast, unforgiving urban and industrial wastelands. The artist has created several series of digitally composited, and heretofore uncharted, topographies, often populated by bands of masked and uniformed figures.

In recent series, many of the images are devoid of humans, although the landscape reflects an anonymous and increasingly tenuous human presence. In these works, primitive lean-tos and crudely constructed shanties coexist in an uneasy union with the technological vestiges of an industrialized society. Suggesting a world on the brink of obsolescence, these chilling images further cement the pervasive undercurrent of human alienation—from one another as well as the natural environment—that can be traced throughout the artist’s work.

Anthony Goicolea has exhibited widely, notably at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois; the International Center of Photography, New York and Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid. Goicolea’s art is held in many public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Guggenheim Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Yale University Art Collection, Photography, CT; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Castile and Leon, Spain;  21c Museum, Louisville, KY, the Akzo Nobel Art Foundation, Amsterdam, and Cobra to Contemporary/The Brown Family Collection, among others.


ABOUT Arthur Kleinjan

Arthur Kleinjan studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and later also at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2001 until 2002.

He is particularly drawn to the media of photography and video. His work attempts to explore human experience in relation to the metaphysical experience of time, place and identity. Kleinjan integrates the viewer by playing with these concepts. He does this for example by transforming seemingly ordinary and simple moments into something unique. In his photo series ‘Paris Looks’ he photographs the uncomfortable poses and gestures that accompany the ‘holiday photo’. Whilst each individual tourist takes position for his or her travel companion, Kleinjan as a second photographer captures the scene from an elevated viewpoint. Despite this distanced perspective, these images have a certain intimacy and fragility, via which the viewer identifies him or herself with the piece. Kleinjan is able to register these scenes at such an exact point as to bring out the spectacle in them, as if the tourists are actors on a stage. He demonstrates how they allow themselves to be immortalised in an attempt to resist the passing of time, attempting to obtain something meaningful at a later point in the form of memory.

Video works by the artist also show his keen interest for the themes of time and place. His work ‘Traverse’ has a cinematographic, narrative nature. It is a complex story that traverses narrated childhood memories, recent experience and dream. It is not clear whether the central figure of the piece is dreaming what he had experienced or that he is experiencing that what he had dreamed. His work is located in the space where reality, memory and dream meet.

‘Moments of Considered Time’ was shown at ‘ROAM’, the first time this most recent work had been seen in the Netherlands. It interweaves images of modern Cairo with the history of film, photography and Egypt itself. This together with personal observations and memories creates a complex work of undeniable interest.