STEVENSON presents a new exhibition by Serge Alain Nitegeka. Into the BLACK is the artist’s third solo show with the gallery.
In his exploration of formal and philosophical ‘blackness’, Nitegeka follows a lineage of art movements that have placed the colour at the centre of their rationales, including Russian Constructivism, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism: from Malevich’s ‘generative’ black and Rothko’s ‘pulsating’ black, to Reinhardt’s ‘degrees’ of Black.
In Nitegeka’s latest self-portraits the colour acts as both body and gesture, translating past experience of trauma into formal qualities of texture and surface abrasion.
New panels on show also draw on Nitegeka’s 2012 video Black Subjects, in which a group of performers negotiate their way through sculptures which function as obstacles to movement. In these works blackness speaks of the inextricability of relationship between figure and obstacle, and between movement and stasis.
The colour black is notoriously unrevealing and uncompromising. Into the BLACK ventures into both the known and unknown potentials of the colour in my work.
“Black is the colour of the origin of painting – and our own origin. In French, we say the baby ‘sees the day,’ to mean he was born. Before that, of course, we were in the dark”. This is to suggest that we come from the dark; we don’t know where we come from and we don’t know where we are headed. The black and its darkness are the known constants; sort of like ashes to ashes – dust to dust. From the black into the black.
Opening: Thursday 7 August, from 6 to 8pm.
Serge Alain Nitegeka was born in Burundi in 1983 and lives and works in Johannesburg. He was awarded The Tollman Award for the Visual Arts in 2010. In the same year he was selected for the Dakar Biennale, where he won a Fondation Jean Paul Blachère prize. He has held solo exhibitions at Stevenson Johannesburg and Cape Town (2009; 2012; 2013) as well as the Le Manège gallery, French Institute, Dakar, Senegal (2012). Recent group exhibitions include This House, part of Nouvelles vagues at Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2013); My Joburg at La Maison Rouge, Paris and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (2013) and The Space Between Us at ifa Galleries, Berlin (2013). In late 2014 Nitegeka will have his first US solo show at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and will be participating in the group exhibition Venturing Out of the Heart of Darkness, at The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture in early 2015.