Neville Starling: Worlds are Made and Unmade; I Hear the Music of Spheres
The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa 21 Nov 2020 - 15 Dec 2020
By Neville Starling
The Bag Factory presents the first SA solo exhibition by Zimbabwean artist Neville Starling, Worlds are Made and Unmade; I Hear the Music of Spheres as part of his ongoing body of kinetic, sound-based sculptural “plays” entitled Within the Belly of an Echo.
Essentially a look into the composition of a reaction within constrictions as of an authentic means of becoming, the work asks: how does rage, fear and hunger manifest through love, pride, self-reclamation, self-affirmation and hope in a situation where one may not react openly for whatever reason? This temporally and structurally distinct, two-part installation first performs this through a structured mnemonic metronome and then through various untimely acts of metamorphoses connected to Southern Africa’s historical entanglement of revolution and music.
Motivated by his father’s windows of changed personality due to Alzheimer’s disease, Starling’s work, in general, deconstructs time’s relationship with memory. He examines courses of normalisation and change, the processes of forced and chosen memories, modes of individuation and collectivism, as well as the connection between future being and the cultural archive. These are examined within the interplay of reality and perception with memory, and how these are interwoven within the continuum of identity.
Neville Starling is a self-taught, interdisciplinary artist, born 1988 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. He is currently a resident artists at The Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa. Starling represented Zimbabwe at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019 and was selected to participate in the postponed 14th Dak’Art Biennial Ĩ ‘Ndaffa / Forging / Out of the Fire, 2020/1. The artist’s early solo exhibition, Rest Until, travelled to The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2016. Notable group exhibitions include: I had a dream, 2019, conducted by Simon Njami and Andrew Tshabangu, held at the Africa Center, New York City, U.S.A.; Lost and Found: Expectations, Uncertainty, Excitement and Hope, 2018 curated by Raphael Chikukwa at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Starling finished runner-up in the first Zimbabwean PPC Imaginarium Awards in 2018. The work Worlds are Made and Unmade; I Hear the Music of Spheres showing at the Bag Factory forms part of an online residency with Njelele Art Station in Harare, Zimbabwe titled Within the Belly of an Echo. Starling has also been selected to participate in a collaborative residency at SCAC Marestaing in the south of France in 2021.