AFTER THE THRILL IS GONE: FASHION, POLITICS AND CULTURE IN CONTEMPORARY SOUTH AFRICAN ART
September 8 – October 28, 2016
Western Michigan University, Michigan, USA
Andrew Hennlich, Ph.D, Curator
‘After the Thrill is Gone’ takes its name from a special edition of South Atlantic Quarterly edited by scholars Rita Barnard and Grant Farred. Farred’s article in this issue, ‘The Not-Yet Counterpartisan’, diagnoses post-apartheid South Africa by arguing that, especially for the poor, “the new South African nomos is not sufficiently distinct from its predecessor.” Acknowledging that present-day South Africa continues to be haunted by the violence and inequities of apartheid’s past, Farred investigates the unchanged landscape for most of South Africa’s poor residents, calling for a counterpartisan politics capable of opposing the present neo-liberal political formations.
Artists in the exhibition include Kudzanai Chiurai, Julia Rosa Clark, Hasan & Husain Essop, Pierre Fouché, Gabrielle Goliath, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Daniel Halter, Nicholas Hlobo, Gerald Machona, Mohau Modisakeng, Athi-Patra Ruga, Jody Paulsen, and Mary Sibande.
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.