Asha Zero: set user

SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
01 Mar 2018 - 14 Apr 2018

Asha Zero, indice duplicate (2018), Acrylic on Board, 42 x 36 cm; Courtesy of SMAC Gallery

Asha Zero, indice duplicate (2018), Acrylic on Board, 42 x 36 cm; Courtesy of SMAC Gallery

SMAC Gallery present set user, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Asha Zero.

Known for deconstructing traditional notions of identity and representation, dominated today by contemporary media, branding, marketing, and advertising, Asha Zero’s hyper-realistic paintings speak into the various traditions and languages within the history of Modernism and Postmodernism alike.

The title of this, Zero’s third solo exhibition with SMAC gallery, implies a concern with reality and appearance in terms of a personal identity in an online world; set user is a term associated with gaming avatars. Since user identity can readily be changed, it denotes the ability to interact with reality as one identity amongst many, hence the requirement to set the user for the activity to commence. Zero compels himself as well as the viewer to question ‘who’ is looking. In an age of identity prescribed by user interfaces, where multiple login identities can exist for a single person, Asha Zero is a name, a tag, a user identity, born in the pre-digital age when the streets were considered the first truly egalitarian space to create an identity that could compete with a media-saturated world.

As Zero’s works evolve, one can sense a growing concern with the formal qualities of composition, of paring down elements to foreground the objective craft of image making. His is a social bricolage that attests to reality as augmented by looking at images, and all the ways that we see them.





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