Bag Factory Artists' Studios, Johannesburg, South Africa 29 Mar 2018 - 30 Apr 2018
Image from Bag Factory work shop MOTHERS TONGUE. Photo: Lungile Hlatshwayo
Visiting artists Libita Clayton and Celina Portella present a joint exhibition, culminating the end of their respective residencies at Bag Factory Artists’ Studios opening on March 29.
[WE.ARE.LIVING.ARCHIVES: how do we transmit and
communicate real time to our future ancestors?]
Mothers Tongue follows on from previous projects Libita Clayton has produced with radio, performance and broadcasting in the U.K. Mothers Tongue is a constitutively collaborative project built through language, sound, communication, memory and interdimensional traversal.
In What Knot Not, Clayton works with Mothers Tongue, an interchanging assembly of participants from a recently held sound workshop, she will be producing a performance in collaboration with artist and composer João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga.
Libita Clayton graduated from the University of the Arts London, with a BA ( Hons ) in Print & Digital Media in 2006-2009. Clayton is a Namibian British artist, based in the U.K. She works with gro ups and gatherings, between activism, subculture, dance culture and theatre. Unpacking sites of trauma and resistance, to heal and provoke questions of erasure and collective memory – to reconfigure dominant narratives and power structures. She has co-produced, performed and workshopped with the Victoria & Albert Museum, Arnolfini, Spike Island, NTS radio, NYNN, Book Works, Sonic Soundings, and South London Gallery – UK, 2016-18. Collective partners have included; Bristol Experimental Expanded Film, Speakeasy Southwest Forum, Gal-Dem, Howling Owl Record Label, Universal Magnetic, Something Human, 2017.Clayton recently exhibited in the Diaspora Pavilion, during the 57th Venice Biennale, Italy, she is also the recipient of the Freelands Foundation Award ( in association with Gasworks ), 2018-2019.
Celina Portella is a Brazilian artist with a dance background. She keeps a direct connection with the choreographic universe, from where her interest in the body and the issues of its representation arises.
Performance art is described as an artistic action performed live and of provisory nature, whose duration can only be extended and perpetuated through records of photographs, films and videos. Many of these records have been incorporated into the art circuit as works of art, although they hadn’t had, a priori, another function other than documentary. Celina Portella, on the contrary, proposes the simple interaction between body expression and media, making photography and video structural parts of the work itself.
During her trajectory, the artist has been seeking the perfect synchrony between real and virtual actions, making the body dialogue intrinsically with various media, which may transit from dance to video and cinema, or even allude to a particular genre, such as sculpture. In this way, she intertwines languages which were previously dissociated, in communion between the statements and their instruments.
The central focus of the work, therefore, converges towards the limit between virtual reality and corporal actions, in an attempt to scramble their frontiers and confuse the real with the universe of fiction. With the artifice of trompe-l’oeil and the radical integration of media, Celina Portella locates the work in the ambiguous terrain between the material and the immaterial, between the world’s objectivity and illusion.
During her residency at Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Portella has been researching the understandings of Identity and Access through a workshop experimenting in video and photographic concepts and exploration around the city. In What Knot Not, Portella presents her constantly developing and changing findings through photography, video and installation.