Raèl Jero Salley: Present

Gallery MOMO, Johannesbrug, South Africa
09 Jul 2015 - 03 Aug 2015

Raèl Jero Salley: Present

Raèl Jero Salley, Woman-Smoking-Ritual (detail) 2013, Acrylic-on-Canvas, 150x180cm-1110x1500

In Present, artist Raél Jero Salley’s first solo exhibition at Gallery MOMO, he examines the dynamics between art and freedom. Present considers the visual representation of Black and Africana people in relation to “western” society and the pictorial tradition associated with it.

The programmatic title points to the exhibition’s linking of the ideas and goals of autonomy, liberation and freedom and centuries long traditions of art making in South Africa and beyond.

Salley’s pictures and objects are characterized by the way they combine an exploration of traditions in histories of art, culture and society with issues and themes related to Africana life, visual perception, and connections in art.

The works seek to “initiate something utterly new for which no patterns exist, because these works connect the past to the future and the future to the past.”

In terms of form, content and meaning, Salley’s Present sets out to consider a set of “possibles,” which are tools and methods for resolving gaps between past and future. Instead of working in one artistic medium, Salley works across several media. Ideas, issues and themes are not restricted to within South African borders, but address the United States, Europe, and elsewhere across the globe.

Salley’s work is multifaceted. Its productive aspects are drawing, painting and object-making. They are interlinked by systematic study of, as well as engagement with, works of art from the past: their assessment, selection from them for the artist’s own vocabulary and the use of those parts in his own production. Salley’s critical awareness is expressed in the above activities and is developed through these activities. Throughout the entire exhibition, a consciousness of lived experience—specifically worldviews in Africana and Black lives—fluctuates between overt and subtextual manifestations.

“I think of myself as working in modes,” Salley says: “Each modality is selected because of how it engages the narrative of history, art history in particular, and it presents and opportunity to address the absence, but ubiquitous visibility and ever-present fact of so-called ‘African’ and ‘Black’ people since before art or history even became things in the world.”

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication in English and Xhosa.

Opening: July 9th, 6pm

There will be an Artist Walkabout on Saturday, July 11th, 11am.




All content © 2024 Contemporary And. All Rights Reserved. Website by SHIFT