Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom 13 Feb 2013 - 21 Apr 2013
Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito is one of the most energetic and versatile artists of his generation. He uses music, photography, film and performance poetry as the means by which his persona, at once charismatic and transgressive, pronounces on the nature of our globalised world. His videos, dwelling particularly on contemporary art and society, could not be smarter or funnier, more knowingly politically incorrect with respect to post-colonialist clichés.
In Nástia Answers Gabi (2010), visitors encounter the artist in a derelict building after listening to his haunting a capella version of Time is on My Side, talking to the camera as ‘Nástia’ (the female equivalent of Nástio) and in a joke-Russian accent. There follow nine short scenes in which he answers questions posed by Gabi Ngcobo, an independent curator, writer and artist, sometimes with passion, in musing diatribes, sometimes dismissively. He plays with a language that is very familiar in our art world – political-activist and very theoretical – in order to convey his philosophical scepticism, especially with respect to representations of anything related to the African continent. Easily misread as a kind of world weariness, it is the extraordinary expression of an urgent desire to engage with reality at all levels.