27.02.2016 - 02.04.2016

ENDABENI by MOHAU MODISAKENG

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  • OPENING We hereby invite you to the festive opening of this exhibition on Saturday February 27, 2016 from 5 to 7 pm. The artists will be present. 
  • 5:30 pm Opening words by Edwin Jacobs (Centraal Museum, Utrecht) in honor of Stringendo by Silvia B. 
  • 6:00 pm Special perfomance Ke Kgomo ya moshate, directed by Mohau Modisakeng; performed by Randy Boadi and Mandela Wee Wee

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Modisakeng (SA, 1986) is one of the most promising young South-African artists today. His practice is highly influenced by his own cultural heritage. Growing up as a black man in Post-Apartheid South-Africa, he has a special interest in reframing history and postcolonial theories. Modisakeng has a background in sculpture, but constantly seeks out to other mediums like photography, performance and video.

Heritage is always present in Modisakeng’s body of work, but he is very much aware of how the audience perceives his work as being autobiographical. He likes to use and manipulate his own history and that of his homeland by telling a story that is relatable to everyone. Combining different relics from both African and Western tradition, he creates a critical dialogue in powerful and clean, images, installations and sculptures. The exhibition ENDABENI will be his first solo presentation in The Netherlands.

Special performance during the opening 27 February 2016 at 6 pm
Ke Kgomo ya moshate reflects on the legacy of colonialism and its effects on post independence African society. The decolonization of African states between 1950 - 1960 saw new flags climbing flagpoles; new anthems being sung for the first time; new governments replacing colonial administration and a general sense of euphoria. In the preceding decade, the inherited social, political and economical systems of colonial rule remained entrenched in the governments of newly independent nations.  Consequently, the lives of former colonial subjects, although free from the grip of European imperialism, remained relatively unchanged, except for the newly installed middle and elite classes. The economy remained under the control of a select few. Access to natural resources and various other commodities remained reserved for enterprising sectors of the population; whilst the struggling masses were left to fend for themselves in crumbling labour markets and increasingly hostile socio-economic climate. In South Africa, the legacy of the political corruption of the Apartheid system continued to hinder the processes of addressing historical imbalances. The issue of economic inequality was further exacerbated by worsening poverty and growing unemployment. These sorts of contrasts and contradictions in the 'post-colonial' era engender instability and thus produce an atmosphere of anxiety, unrest and conflict. In such volatile environments ethnic, political and social tensions engineered by centuries of colonial rule are easily exploited to escalate violent conflict. When civil war and disorder breaks out opportunistic political forces will compete for power in order to gain or maintain access to Illicit profits from the growing global appetite for African commodities.  

Modisakeng 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. He was awarded the SASOL New Signatures Award for 2011 and has exhibited at the South African Paviljon at the Venice Biennalle (2015); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012) and Stevenson, Cape Town (2010). 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.

ABOUT Mohau Modisakeng

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.

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