The Zeitz MOCAA Collection houses a unique and extensive body of works by some of the continent and its diaspora’s most exciting established and emerging artists. The exhibition, which includes a selection of these works, will open on 7 November 2019, taking up all gallery spaces on Level 4. This forms part of a recent reimagining of the museum’s galleries and spatial organisation, with exhibitions in this space changing annually.
Titled Two Together, the show is built around major themes explored by artists from Africa and its diaspora represented in the collection, and each gallery contains a pair: either two objects, or multiple works by two artists, or two major themes – either in dialogue, as counterpoints or in complementary ways. As couples do, in comedic duos or in romance, the exhibition embrace a rigorous engagement between objects and ideas.
“We wanted to explore what happens when two things come together,” explained Senior Curator, Storm Janse van Rensburg. “Two photographers can subvert a gaze while probing issues around representation, presence, omission, authorship and voyeurism. Speaking from contrasting geopolitical vantage points, two can highlight the perpetual and impeding undertone of violence still manifesting in present-day psyche. The numerous lines between collective memory, imagination and folklore are blurred when two artists use material to make visible intangible heritage.”
The exhibition includes a diptych by Isaac Julien, as well as pairings of and conversations between works by Zanele Muholi and Mouna Karray; Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Joël Andrianomearisoa; Nicholas Hlobo and Taiye Idahor; Sethembile Msezane and Glenn Ligon; Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou and Athi-Patra Ruga; as well as Mishack Masamvu and Lungiswa Gqunta.
“This exhibition presents works from the Zeitz MOCAA Collection in a new way. Whilst some works will be familiar to regular visitors to the museum, the curation of the exhibition allows them all to be experienced anew,” explains Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator at Zeitz MOCAA.
“It feels like a fresh and exciting way to relook at our permanent collection. The goal of the museum has always been to build a cohesive collection that is as representative as possible of Africa and the diaspora, with strong political, social, environmental and personal messaging. This is demonstrated in this exhibition,” she adds.