ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Anthony Goicolea // Anonymous
September 9 – October 28, 2017

Galerie Ron Mandos proudly presents a new exhibition by Anthony Goicolea (USA, 1971), 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.

The backbone of Goicolea’s practice is painting and photography. The key process of painting is a combination of inks, paints, graphite, and enamel applied directly on layers of Mylar. By painting front and back layers of semi-translucent frosted Mylar film, he adds and subtracts areas of varying opaqueness.

In the series “Anonymous Self-Portraits” displayed at Galerie Ron Mandos, Goicolea paints sexually ambiguous figures caught between various states of dress. Many of the faces are obscured by large fields of white oil paint, roughly corresponding to shifting shapes of clothing. These architectural shapes abruptly divide the body and simultaneously conceal and unveil key components of traditional portraiture. The identity of each sitter lies in the body language and gesture rather than on facial recognition. The feature of a gnarled hand, a twisted arm, or a hunched shoulder are the identifying factors that characterises each (seemingly) anonymous portrait as that of an individual sitter with his own unique, personal identity.

The artist has exhibited widely throughout the world, notably at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Illinois; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the International Center of Photography, New York; the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina So a, Madrid, Spain. Goicolea’s art is held in many public collections, includ- ing the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York; as well as the Yale University Art Collection, New Haven, Connecticut; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; and Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia.

 

Mohau Modisakeng // Passage
September 9 – October 28, 2017

Galerie Ron Mandos is proud to present an exhibition of Mohau Modisakeng’s (SA, 1986) latest work, Passage, which recently premiered during the Venice Biennale 2017, at the South-African pavilion.

The title Passage refers to life as a voyage, an important concept in the Setswana language, where the experience of life is referred to as a ‘passage’. The Setswana word for life, ‘botshelo’, means to cross over, as such all human beings are referred to as ‘bafeti’ (passengers), a word that highlights the fact that life is fleeting.

The theme of life as a journey is visualised in a three-screen installation, where we are confronted with a young man and two woman travelling by boat. Filmed from above, the boat forms an oppressive framework, in which the figures are captured. While traveling over sea, the boat fills with water and ultimately sinks.

The three-channel installation forms a triptych on slavery and its effect on contemporary African culture. Born in Soweto, an epicentre of black urbanity and cosmopolitan culture, Mohau Modisakeng explores the influence of South Africa’s violent history that has been ignored in today’s society. Modisakeng focuses on how to understand the cultural, political, and social roles as human beings in post-colonial Africa and in particular post-apartheid South Africa.

Passage is commissioned by the South African department of Arts and Culture on the occasion of the 57th Venice Biennale and has been described by art critic Alexxa Gotthardt as ‘one of the most powerful installations to address forced migration.’ (Artsy, The Venice Biennale’s 11 Best Pavilions, 2017)

Modisakeng lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2009 and worked towards his Masters degree at the same institution. Modisakeng has been chosen to represent South Africa during the Venice Biennale 2015 as well as 2017. His work is included in many public collections such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the IZIKO South African National Gallery in Cape Town, and SAATCHI Gallery in London as well as significant collections such as Zeitz MOCAA. His work has also been exhibited at Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar; and Focus 11, Basel. In 2011 Modisakeng was awarded the 2011 SASOL New Signatures Award, and in 2016 he won the Standard Bank Young Artists Award.

ARTWORKS

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.

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE

ABOUT Mohau Modisakeng

Born in 1986 in Soweto, South Africa
Lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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.

GO TO THE ARTIST PAGE