Gabrielle Goliath : Elegy

Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
15 Oct 2015 - 24 Oct 2015

Gabrielle Goliath : Elegy


The performance piece that is Elegy epitomizes the deeply poetic work of Gabrielle Goliath, whose practice has over a number of years addressed situations of violence perpetrated against women. The South African-born artist is becoming known for her evocative political installations and performances.

Originating in lengthy research processes, Goliath’s photographs, installations, and performances critically negotiate the complexities of gender-based violence in South Africa. Her style has a poetic quality, punctuated by unsettling visceral elements. Rather than sensationalising the violence itself, her concern is primarily with memorializing the individuals victimised by acts of brutal and sexualised violence. This she accomplishes with powerful metaphors for essentially inexpressible experiences, evoking in a confluence of forms a sense of loss and horror.

A commemorative gesture, Elegy calls together a group of female vocal performers, who collectively enact a ritual of mourning. Durational and physically taxing, the performance sustains a kind of sung cry – evoking, in a symbolic sense, the ‘presence’ of an absent individual. Responding to situations of extreme violence perpetrated against women in South Africa, Elegy recalls the identity of individuals whose subjectivities have been fundamentally violated – and who, as such, are all too easily consigned to a generic, all-encompassing victimhood.

Nineteen years old and studying toward a degree in journalism at the Midrand Graduate Institute, Ipeleng Christine Moholane was first reported missing on May 16th, 2015. On May 25th she was found murdered, lying in an open veld in Tembisa. Identifying the body, her father Isaac Moholane recalls: “I can’t tell you the pain and grief it brought me to see her lifeless body in that manner. She was naked, raped, legs bound… Someone had strangled her so brutally with the intention to make sure she died”.

Enacted in commemoration of Ipeleng, Elegy performances will be scheduled throughout the week of the 15th – 24th October 2015, at Goodman Gallery Cape Town. Between performances the space will function as an installation, with an accompanying video projection. Intended as an ongoing performance project, future iterations of Elegy will be staged in various locations and contexts – with each realised in memory of a specific individual.

Performance Schedule:
Thursday 15 October, 18h00
Saturday 17 October, 11h00
Saturday 24 October, 11h00


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