When Zimbabwean artist Admire Kamudzengerere’s father passed away, he started making monotype self-portraits while looking in the mirror, searching for his father’s image in his own features. His hand moved, almost of its own accord, compulsively drawing on paper placed upon an ink stone to create the visage simultaneously as its reversed image on the other side of the sheet.
The result is a series of dark portraits, sometimes made by a single line. They are the pieces of a universal puzzle invoking a unifying human thread, the fil rouge of community and ancestry. With time, the sought after face becomes less familiar, leaving space for strangers to appear. What is most extraordinary is that, without knowing who these strangers are or could be, Kamudzengerere continues to see himself in them. The reversed image on the other side of the page–or should we say on the other face–fuels his nonlinear narrative about alterity.
In I am gonna… you. Till you run, his first solo exhibition, opening in New York City on February 24, 2017 at Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, the 35-year-old artist presents a myriad of new portraits on paper particles ranging from Post-Its to pages from Harare’s phone books. He tackles issues of identity, migration and family – the three inseparable forces that control his ability and choice to move about the world. This new work, consumed with the idea of self-confrontation with the multiple, is faithful to an older governing principle of his practice where he uses numbers. For example in a phone book, numbers are a metaphor for the tiny transformations and differences between the things that identify and designate us.
The title of the show plays with the untold fears and fantasies of otherness. What they know about us; what they share with us; what they can with or to us.
Admire Kamudzengerere was the first Zimbabwean to be invited to the prestigious Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2012). His work has been exhibited internationally and in 2017, he will mount his first solo exhibition (Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, New York), will complete the Triangle Residency in Brooklyn, and will represent Zimbabwe at the 57th Venice Biennial.
Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 24, 2017 | 6-8PM