Goodman Gallery Johannesburg is pleased to present new and recent work by Moshekwa Langa, an artist and visual anthropologist who works with installation, drawing, video and sculpture.
Having grown up in Bakenberg, which he left in 1989 to attend the Waldorf School near Pretoria, Moshekwa was particularly interested in visual expression, recording his passing days and conveying his experiences. At first he made drawings and wrote texts, which expanded into sculptures made with corrugated iron and cement bags. This exploration transformed his medium from drawing into other dimensions, one of which resulted in a work titled Skins. Moshekwa moved to Johannesburg where he was an associate with the SABC as a contributing producer and he eventually left for the Netherlands to attend the prestigious Rijksakademie in 1997.
Drawing has been an extended practice for Moshekwa, integrating elements of graffitti, thread, yarn and other material into his work. After living in Amsterdam and finding his footing, he decided to return home and spend time with his family, but also to confront certain aspects of his youth and the unfamiliar present state of his home town. In that time he encountered three dramatic incidents that made him stay in South Africa. The works on show are a series of indirect responses to these traumatic events, the last of which was the passing of his grandmother – Mrs Elizabeth Ramokone Konyana Langa – to whom the exhibition has been dedicated.
Moshekwa cites as among his influences and inspirations daily life, routine, boredom, indifference, passion. He cultivates many friendly relationships with people and travels around the country, as well as spending time in a solitary set up in order to examine what he has experienced – good and bad. This has meant covering rituals of sangomas, grieving, gossip, love and at times being in insalubrious locations. He makes maps of his experiences, encounters, people, places. He pays attention to particular details that are pertinent to him and also uses words as slogans or poetic epigrams, bringing together scraps and residues of history.
Langa’s work has been included in several major exhibitions including travelling shows The Short Century and Africa Remix, the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003, the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and the 29th São Paulo Biennale 2010. He has held numerous solo shows, in his home country, as well as abroad at institutions such as the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center (2003) and MAXXI – Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo – in Rome (2005). He recently held a solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Bern, titled Marhumbini: In An Other Time (2011).This is his fourth show in the Goodman Gallery. His work is held in collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunstin Antwerp.
Moshekwa is currently based in Johannesburg, his principal home is in Amsterdam.