Lucy MacGarry and Musha Neluheni, commissioned by the South African Department of Arts and Culture
Sale d’Armi, Arsenale
Candice Breitz – Mohau Modisakeng at the South African pavilion
Two contemporary artists, Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisaking, will represent South Africa at the Art Biennale in Venice. Even though both artists regularly exhibit at international events, this is their first large exhibition together. The main theme will be the notion of selfhood within a context of global marginalisation. The exhibition will reflect on experiences of exclusion, displacement, transience, migration and xenophobia, exploring the complex socio-political forces that shape the selfhood. To bring this message, the artists will work exclusively with moving image art and film. If you are interested to know how curator Lucy MacGarry has built this exhibition around you as a visitor, you can read about it in my post ‘The balancing act of the curators of the Art Biennale 2017’.
Mohau Modisakeng uses his own experience as a black male within a post-apartheid context as his main source of inspiration. He presents critical responses to the ideas of nationhood, leadership, inequality and migrant labour.
Candice Breitz explores the dynamics which turn a person into a unique individual in relation to a larger community. This process starts from the relationship with family and friends, but is also influenced by media such as television, cinema and popular culture and the identification with fictional characters and celebrity figures.
“Breitz’s photographs and multi-channel video installations offer nuanced studies of the structure of identity under global capitalism, while Modisakeng employs a highly personal language to express ideas about his own identity and the body.”
Lucy MacGarry, curator
Candice Breitz is an internationally acclaimed artist best known for her moving image installations. She was born in Johannesburg in 1972. She is currently based in Berlin. Breitz holds degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Chicago and Columbia University. She has been a tenured professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig since 2007. Breitz has participated in several biennales, such as in Venice in 2005. She also held many solo exhibitions across the world and her work has been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Mohau Modisakeng is based in South Africa. His award-winning and internationally exhibited photography, film, performance and installation work forms a personal and idiosyncratic exploration of a local narrative. He was born in Johannesburg in 1986 and grew up in Soweto. He currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Modisakeng completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2009. His work has also been exhibited worldwide, such as at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, and has been placed in numerous private collections both locally and internationally.
The South African pavilion is located on the first floor of the Sale d’Armi at the Arsenale. This building opened in 2015 after a thorough restoration which lasted 4 years.
Viva Arte Viva
Mohau Modisakeng has also created a video for the ‘Artists Practices Project’.
Review by The Venice Insider
The South African pavilion on the first floor of the Sale d’Armi is split into 2 areas with totally different video projections. The first area shows 3 screens, each with one person (of which one is Mohau Modisakeng himself) floating in a small boat. The black and white video in slow motion is almost hypnotizing as you want to know if and what will happen next. The second area shows the video of Candice Breitz, in which famous actors tell the stories of refugees. It lasts 73 minutes so you will have to take your time if you want to listen to all the stories.
Katia – The Venice Insider
If you want to know more about the Art Biennale 2017 and the other national participations, this overview page is a good starting point or you can read my post ‘What to expect from the Art Biennale 2017’. If you want to be informed about new pavilions being added to the site, you can subscribe to The Venice Insider biweekly newsletter.
(Picture in banner: Mohau Modisakeng – Endabeni 1, 2015 Ink-jet print on Epson Ultrasmooth, 150 x 200cm, ED of 6 + 2 APS – © Mohau Modisakeng)
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