The Beautyful Ones

Nolan Judin, Berlin, Germany
20 Apr 2013 - 06 Jul 2013

In 1968 the Ghana­ian author Ayi Kwei Armah pub­lished a brutal and vis­ceral novel of (then) con­tem­po­rary, post-Inde­pen­dent Ghana, titled “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born”. Armah recounts an unnamed man’s strug­gle in a soci­ety rotten to the core, a result of the after­math of colo­nial­ism, and the fail­ures of the new regime. A dream deferred…

The exhi­bi­tion The Beautyful Ones takes as its start­ing point Armah’s utopian lament for a better Africa, and the ongo­ing prob­lem­at­ics of the rep­re­senta­tion of the con­ti­nent, espe­cially in the pop­u­lar Euro­pean imag­ina­tion. Africa is often per­ceived as a mono­lithic entity, whilst the complexity of its mul­ti­ple real­i­ties, histo­ries, narra­tives and voices are often lost.

For The Beautyful Ones, South African curator Storm Janse van Rensburg has brought together nine young interna­tional artists: Dineo Seshee Bopape, Kudzanai Chiu­rai, Georgina Gra­trix, Andrew Gilbert, Kilu­anji Kia Henda, Ger­ald Machona, Ger­hard Marx, Meleko Mokgosi and Athi-Patra Ruga. Orig­inat­ing from Angola, Botswana, Scot­land, South Africa and Zimbabwe, they are now oper­at­ing, working and liv­ing between many places, but with a common thread link­ing them and aspects of their practice to South­ern Africa. Exemplary of a gen­er­a­tion of con­tem­po­rary artists that are mobile, and whose practices resists easy clas­sifica­tion, the exhi­bi­tion includes a selec­tion of works that connects to the artists’ social and polit­ical real­i­ties, entan­gled with their per­sonal lived expe­r­i­ences.


Image: Detail of Athi-Patra Ruga, ‘The Future White Woman of Azania #1’,  2012, Lightjet print, 90 × 120 cm, Edition of 5, 2 AP


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