Kemang Wa Lehulere – Solo Show

Pasquart Art Centre, Biel, Switzerland
28 Jan 2018 - 01 Apr 2018

Kemang Wa Lehulere, Every Song, 2017, Wall carving, 260 x 360 cm; Courtesy Kemang Wa Lehulere, Deutsche Bank’s «Artist of the Year» 2017; Photo: Mathias Schormann

Kemang Wa Lehulere, Every Song, 2017, Wall carving, 260 x 360 cm; Courtesy Kemang Wa Lehulere, Deutsche Bank’s «Artist of the Year» 2017; Photo: Mathias Schormann

Kunsthaus Pasquart presents a solo show by South Arfican artist Kemang Wa Lehulere. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Deutsche Bank, which distinguished Kemang Wa Lehulere with the title «Artist of the Year» 2017. The exhibition includes works from the presentation Bird Song, which on the occasion of the distinction were shown in the Deutsche Bank Kunst Halle in Berlin and at MAXXI in Rome.

Hand signals engraved in stone, Bibles clamped between false teeth, blurred chalk marks on blackboards, school benches turned into birdhouses. Kemang Wa Lehulere’s (*1984, SA) many-sided work produces haunting, suggestive images, founded in the past of his native country South Africa.

Located between an autobiographical search for clues and historical events, the exhibition creates a place of reflection on ideologies in the education system, the instrumentalisation of religion or the erasure of collective memory. He submits his visual narratives to an on-going process of overwriting and reconstruction. Beyond the examination of South African history his drawings, performances, installations and videos also have an impact that extends to the questions of our time. The force of an associative visual language provokes an awareness of a present that its history has caught up with and which demands the disclosure of differences and prejudices. Like a film script waiting to be implemented, a narrative space opens up in which muted voices have their say again and unfulfilled ways of living become reality.

Kemang Wa Lehulere’s work is articulated through its openness. It stems from the idea that all artistic manifestations develop in collective processes and stand in relation to the historical and social context from which they arise.

In his first comprehensive institutional solo exhibition in Switzerland Kemang Wa Lehulere refers to far-reaching consequences of repressive systems. He shows how history can’t be re-writen, but through artistic and social intervention can be enlarged to contain more complexity and points of view. Formulated in sign language, the hand symbols engraved in a piece of wall from the work Every Song (2017) read: «Mother said every song knows its home».

Curator of the exhibition: Damian Jurt, scientific collaborator Kunsthaus Pasquart


Opening Saturday, 27 January 2018, 5pm

Artist’s talk: Sun 28 January 2018, 2pm (eng) Kemang Wa Lehulere in conversation with Damian Jurt

Guided tours
Thurs 8 March 2018, 6pm (fr) Valentine Yerly, historienne de l’art
Thurs 22 March 2018, 6pm (dt) Damian Jurt, Kurator der Ausstellung

Children’s preview Saturday, 27 January 2018, 5-6:30pm




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