Biography

Material, metaphor and the black body are the tools that Mohau Modisakeng uses to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history that has been ignored in today’s society, on how we understand our cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa.
Represented through film, large-scale photographic prints, installations and performances, his “work doesn’t start off with an attempt to portray violence but it becomes mesmerising because although we might recognise history as our past, the body is indifferent to social changes, so it remembers.”

Born in Soweto, an epicentre of black urbanity and cosmopolitan culture, the multi-award winning Mohau Modisakeng is a product of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. Mentored by Jane Alexander and predominantly working and training in sculpture, he completed his undergraduate degree in 2009 then completed his Masters degree at the same institution. He was awarded the SASOL New Signatures Award for 2011 and has exhibited at Armory Show, New York (2016); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012); Focus 11 and Basel (2011). In 2013 Modisakeng produced an ambitious new video work in association with Samsung as a special project for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair. His work is included in public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town and SAATCHI Gallery, London as well as significant private collections such as Zeitz MOCAA. He currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

www.mohaumodisakeng.com

CV

Education

  • 2015 Master of Art in Fine Art, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town
  • 2009 Bachelor of Art in Fine Art, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town

Awards & Residencies

  • 2016 The Standart Bank Young Artist Award, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2015 Nirox Foundation Residency, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Segera Retreat and the Zeitz Foundation Residency, Segera, Kenya
  • 2011 Winner, SASOL New Signatures Art Competition, Pretoria
    IAAB – International Artists Exchange Program, Basel
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  • 2010 Finalist, MTN New Contemporaries Awards, Durban
    Spier Residency Award, Gyeonggi Creation Center, South Korea
  • 2009 Merrill Lynch Scholarship, University of Cape Town, Cape Town

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2019 Land of Zanj, Leaving the Echo Chamber, Sharjah Biennial 14, UAE
    Passage, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Oregon, USA
    Passage, Tai Kwun Centre for Arts, Hong Kong
    Passage, The Rooms, Provincial Art Gallery NewFoundLand, Canada
    Gabose gangwe, Video Brasil, Sao Paolo, Brazil
  • 2018 Zion, The Armory Show, Galerie Ron Mandos, New York City, USA
    KIN, Sabrina Amrani, Madrid, Spain
    Passage, Art Capital, Szentendre, Hungary
    Passage, Spencer Museum, Kansas, USA
  • 2017 The South African Pavilion, the 57th Venice Biennale, Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, Venice, Italy
    Zeitz Mocaa – Inaugural exhibition, Cape Town, South Africa
    Zion, PERFORMA17, New York, USA
    Passage, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town, South Africa
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  • 2016 Lefa la Ntate, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa
    Lefa la Ntate, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
    Lefa la Ntate, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
    Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, USA
    BOPHIRIMA, solo exhibition, Tyburn Gallery, London, United Kingdom
    ENDABENI, solo exhibition, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • 2015 Mohau Modisakeng, Chavonnes Battery Museum (in partnership with Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town, South Africa
    KE KGOMO YA MOSHATE, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
    Mohau Modisakeng, Big Pond Artworks, Munich, Germany
  • 2014 Ditaola, BRUNDYN+, Cape Town, South Africa
    VOLTA NY, BRUNDYN+, New York, USA
    Inzilo, LOOP 2014, Barcelona, Spain
    Loop Barcelona, Hotel Catalonia Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain
    Mohau Modisakeng, Chavonnes Battery Museum, Cape Town, South Africa (in partnership with Zeitz MOCAA)
  • 2013 Inzilo, Video Art Powered by Samsung Special Project, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2012 Sera, Master of Fine Art Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
    Untitled: Sasol New Signatures award for 2011, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
  • 2010 Ibutho, Side Gallery, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2009 Ugufa Unezindaba, Graduate Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
    Passage, LOOP Video Art Fair, Galerie Ron Mandos, Barcelona, Spain
    Solo presentation, Amsterdam Art Fair, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Passage, Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
    Solo presentation, Art Brussels, Galerie Ron Mandos, Brussels, Belgium
    Lefa la Ntate, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, University of the Free State, South Africa
    Lefa la Ntate, Tatham Art Gallery Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
    Lefa la Ntate, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Group Exhibitions

  • 2019 O Rio dos Navegantes, Museu de Arte do Rio – MAR,  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Embodiment (African Art as Philosophy), BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium
    Death Worlds, Click Festival, Denmark
    What Remains, Apartheid Museum South Africa, South Africa
    21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil | Imagined Communities, Sesc 24 de Maio, São Paulo, Brazil
    From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Canada 
  • 2018 Waterworld, curated by Holly + Zachary Cahill, Glass Curtain Gallery, Chicago, USA
    In Their Own Form; Contemporary Photography and Afro Futurism, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, USA
    In Pursuit of Eden, Ferenczy Museum Center, Hungary
    Ex Africa, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
    More Aphrike, M Bassy, Hamburg, Germany
    Hohenrausch (Thrill of Heights) – The Other Shore, Ok Centre for Contemporary Art, Lintz, Austria
    Continental Drift from Blak to Blac, Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland, Australia
  • 2017 EX AFRICA, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, São Paulo Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    The Film Will Always Be You, Latrobe Regional Gallery, Australia
    Le jour qui vient, curated by Marie-Ann Yemsi, Galerie des Galeries, Galeries Lafayette, Paris, France
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  • 2016 Lagos Photo Festival, Lagos, Nigeria
    Re(as)sisting Narratieves, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    62nd International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, Germany
    Prefer Life, Reydan Weiss Collection, The Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
    Once in a Lifetime, film program, Oude Kerk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    After The Thrill Is Gone: Fashion, Politics and Culture in Contemporary South-African Art, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigin, USA
    When Tomorrow Comes, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg / Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2015 What remains is tomorrow, the South African Pavilion, the 57th Venice Biennale, Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, Venice, Italy
    Joburg Art Fair, Whatiftheworld, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
    NIROX Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox Foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Dis Place, MoCADA, New York, USA
    Broken English, Tyburn Gallery, Londen, UK
    Unseen photofair, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    NIROXSCULPTURE: Winter 2015, Nirox foundation, Johannesburg, South Africa
    AFIRIperFOMA, Lagos, Nigeria
    I am not a man and a brother? I am not a woman and a sister, Archer Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2014 Anyway the Wind Blows, Brundyn+, Cape Town, South Africa
    Here Today, The Old Sorting Office, London, UK
    Performing Portraiture, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, USA
    Fearless Renewal, MC Theater, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Ukukhumula, GIPCA Live Art Festival, City Hall, Cape Town, South Africa
    Barongwa: Blindspot, Grahamstown Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa
    Personal/Political, 21C Museum, Louisville, USA
    Art Against the Wall: An Artist Response to Civil Wars, curated by Radcliffe Bailey, Gallery 72, Atlanta, USA
    Loop Art Fair, Silencio Club, Paris, France
    Brave New World…20 Years of Democracy, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
    START Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
    !Kauru 2014: Rerouting Dialogue 1994-2014, UNISA Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa
    VOLTA NY, Brundyn+Gonsalves, New York, USA
  • 2013 Ceci n’est pas une Summer Show, BRUNDYN+, Cape Town, South Africa
    Biennale Internationa d’Art Contemporain (BIAC), Fort de France, Martinique
    Am I not a Man and a Brother? Am I not a Woman and a Sister, James Harris Gallery, Seattle, USA
    Inzilo, Video Art Powered by Samsung special project, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
    FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN +, Johannesburg, South Africa
    VOLTA NY, BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, New York, USA
    Personal and Political, 21c Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, USA 
  • 2012 Sera, Master of Fine Art exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
    NEWSFEED: Anonymity & Social Media in African Revolutions and Beyond, MoCADA, New York, USA
    Material Representation, BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Cape Town, South Africa
    FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN + GONSALVES, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar, Senegal
    Uneveness Exhibition, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
    Out of Focus: Photography, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK
    Exuberance Project Exhibition, Mandela Rhodes Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2011 Implemented Environments, Brundyn + Gonsalves, Cape Town, South Africa
    Business Day, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Focus 11, Basel, Switzerland
  • 2010
    A RE FANON, with Lerato Bereng, Blank Projects, Cape Town, South Africa
    This is our time, Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Greatest Hits, AVA, Cape Town, South Africa
    MTN New Co3ntemporarie, Durban, South Africa
    Spier Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2009 Ugufa Unezindaba, Graduate exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa