Meleko Mokgosi: Comrades

Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa
21 Jan 2016 - 27 Feb 2016

Meleko Mokgosi: Comrades

(FR) Fully Belly, 2014 Courtesy: Artist

Comrades is the second chapter in Democratic Intuition, Meleko Mokgosi’s current project following his eight-chapter painting installation project Pax Kaffraria (2010-2014). The exhibition, consisting of new figurative and text-based paintings, will be Mokgosi’s first show with Stevenson, and his first in southern Africa in over a decade.

In 2014 Stevenson showed text-based works by Mokgosi as part of Kings County, a group show of four artists working in Brooklyn. In the catalogue of that show, writer and photographer Teju Cole observed:

Bringing contemporary urgency to the vexations of history painting, he gives us new ways to think about 19th and 20th century southern African politics … Mokgosi has technical ability in abundance (and in his case, an especially exhilarating deployment of white space); and like them, he pins that facility to a vision of narrating in colour.

In Comrades, Mokgosi examines the historical, aesthetic and conceptual links between southern African liberation movements and communism. With close attention to the ways in which language is used, Mokgosi asks how the idea of democracy, articulated during the struggle, has shaped and continues to shape the current state of citizens’ experience and reciprocation of democracy.

Mokgosi primarily works within an interdisciplinary framework to create large-scale, project-based installations. His multiple-panel narrative painting installations and conceptual approach were developed through working closely with US artist Mary Kelly, well known for her contribution over the past four decades to conversations around feminism and psychoanalysis in contemporary art. Mokgosi studied with Kelly at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Whitney Independent Study Programme in New York.

Mokgosi was the recipient of the Mohn Award during the 2012 Made in LA biennale at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The award included funds for a monograph, titled Pax Kaffraria, which was published last year and is available from Stevenson.




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