La pesadilla Ucraniana (Prefabricado) / Ukrainian Nightmare (Precast concrete building)
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
Los Carpinteros • Flávio Cerqueira • Elizabet Cerviño • Ângela Ferreira • Carlos Garaicoa • Kendell Geers • Haroon Gunn-Salie • Kiluanji Kia Henda • Grada Kilomba • KutalaChopeto • Paulo Nazareth • Sisipho Ngodwana • Antônio Obá • Rosana Paulino • Wilfredo Prieto • Tracey Rose • Gustavo Speridião
IN THE VIDEO ROOM Maria Thereza Alves • Coco Fusco • Binelde Hyrcan • Thiago Martins de Melo • Susana Pilar Delahante Matienzo
FEATURED PERFORMANCES iQhiya • Elizabet Cerviño • Ângela Ferreira’s Wattle and Daub with vocals by Lizette Chirrime*
Curated by Renato Silva and Lara Koseff
In the second edition of our South-South series, Goodman Gallery presents Let me begin again, an exhibition drawing parallels between artists from the Global South, whose work is situated within and beyond the afterlife of political revolution. The show looks at cross- cultural influence and divergence – both historical and recent – between countries such as Cuba, Brazil, South Africa and Angola, as well as other regions such as Mozambique, and Namibia; featured artists born in or living between these countries or in the diaspora.
Let me begin again considers a paradisal vision of race and class equality, and autonomy from Western domination, championed in the mid- to late 20th century. It is rooted in an intersection and unravelling of ideologies that emerged after revolution in Cuba, the end of military dictatorships in other parts of Latin American and independence in Africa, building up to the end of apartheid in the 1990s. The exhibition explores notions of freedom and control; artists revising and recalling historical moments, and challenging instability, yet sometimes embracing flux, in ways that are divergent from, but still linked to, political movements.
In July 1991, Nelson Mandela, president of the African National Congress (ANC) at the time, and Fidel Castro, then president of Cuba, spoke together on the same platform in Havana. Mandela was on a tour of Latin America, but his visit to Cuba marked an important moment for both world leaders. This interaction reflected Cuba’s mission of internationalism in the Global South; its support of African independence and involvement in the Angolan Civil War, which Mandela attributed as directly leading to the unbanning of the ANC. “The decisive defeat of the aggressive apartheid forces [in Angola] destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor,” Mandela said. Both Mandela and Castro spoke of the emancipation of the poor and the rightless. Castro exclaimed persistently, “How far we slaves have come!” On reflection, these were distinct leaders from regions emerging from and moving towards different socio-political realities. But they were also converging on a conviction of equality; finding common ground in evoking the power of what Ernesto Che Guevara called – in reference to the strength of the masses – the human tide. Yet at the time, while victories such as free and quality health care and education were celebrated, the disappointments of transition where becoming palpable in Cuba – which in the early 1990s was deep in economic crisis due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And in Brazil, profound yet often concealed wounds were still only very slowly being revealed. Following Cuba, Mandela visited Brazil in August 1991, in efforts to seek continued sanctions in support for the end of apartheid. While there Mandela stated, “I have the feeling of being at home,” but was taken aback by the nuances of racial politics, and the latent and often clouded racial discrimination that lingered despite the transition into democracy.
Rereading this meeting of minds now – 25 years later, with dreams further deferred, tenuous diplomatic breakthroughs between enemy states, dissident voices, state control, unfinished projects, presidents on trial, lingering mass inequality and institutional racism, as well as looming neo-colonialism, is revealing and disheartening. While the world seemed to stop after the death of Mandela – his critics emerging mainly from South African – it was at odds over Castro’s more recent obituary, and his very polarising legacy. In a time when the Western world is again seeing the rise of the extreme right, the Global South appears to be grappling with the ideals, victories, as well as conflicting narratives and setbacks of the revolutionary left. Within this context of emerging economies and racially diverse societies, seems to be a need not only to move forward, but to revise and reconsider where we came from, to recover what has been lost.
This show comes 20 years after pivotal exhibitions such as Memorias Intimas Marcas – initiated by Fernando Alvim, in collaboration with Gavin Younge and Carlos Garaicoa, which looked at the residue of trauma caused by the Angolan Civil War – and the 2nd and last Johannesburg Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor, which unusually for the international art world at the time included many artists from the Global South. Now, this edition of South-South reflects on how the ideologies that were being embraced in the 1990s have unfolded or collapsed in quieter, contemplative moments, but are also being reignited or challenged in new instances of heated rupture.
Let me begin again offers a deferential plea to unearth the forgotten; rethink the misrepresented or misunderstood; confront the seemingly irreversible; tackle unfinished projects and traverse unending beginnings. Featured artists embody a variety of divergent socio-political stances and, in some cases, markedly or seemingly apolitical ones. But in each instance is the sensation of – or a call for – reinvention, renewal or adaptation, from historiography to processes of working.
Let me begin again follows The Poetry in Between: South-South, the first edition in the series in 2015, which focused on Brazil and South Africa in particular.
South African-born, Belgian artist Kendell Geers changed his date of birth to May 1968 in order to give birth to himself as a work of art. Describing himself as an ‘AniMystikAKtivist’, Geers takes a syncretic approach to art that weaves together diverse Afro-European traditions, including animism, alchemy, mysticism, ritual and a socio-political activism laced with black humour, irony and cultural contradiction.
Geers’s work has been shown in numerous international group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2007) and Documenta (2002). Major solo shows include Heart of Darkness at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town (1993), Third World Disorder at Goodman Gallery Cape Town (2010) and more recently Songs of Innocence and of Experience at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg (2012). His exhibition Irrespektiv travelled to Newcastle, Ghent, Salamanca and Lyon between 2007 and 2009. Geers was included on Art Unlimited at Art 42 Basel in 2011. Work by Geers was included on Manifesta 9 in Genk, Limburg, Belgium and a major survey show of his work was exhibited at Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany in 2013. Earlier this year Geers held a solo exhibition, The Second Coming (Do What Thou Wilt), at Rua Red in Dublin.
Grada Kilomba (b. 1968, Lisbon, Portugal) is an interdisciplinary artist and writer born in Lisbon and living in Berlin. Kilomba’s work draws on the repressed history of colonialism and its legacy on memory, trauma, race, gender, and knowledge production: ‘who can speak?’ ‘what can we speak about?’ and ‘ What happens when we speak?’ are three constant questions in Kilomba ’s body of work.
Kilomba is best known for her subversive writing and her unconventional use of artistic practices, in which she gives body, voice and image to her own text, using a variety of formats such as Staged Reading, Performance, and Video Installation. In her work, Kilomba intentionally creates a hybrid space between the academic and the artistic languages, and uses storytelling as a central element for her decolonial practices.
Kilomba‘s work has been described to have the powerful beauty of touching ‘the colonial wound’ with a surgical precision, ’bringing a new, experimental and compelling voice to contemporary art and discourse’ (ARTE Brasileiros 2016). She decolonises by subverting content, undoing standard practices and inventing new methods and places of expression. Kilomba entered the contemporary art world, in 2016, when she was invited and commissioned to develop a artwork for the 32. Bienal de São Paulo.
Kilomba’s work has been presented internationally, including: 10. Berlin Biennale; Documenta 14, Kassel; 32. Bienal de São Paulo; Rauma Biennale Balticum; The Power Plant, Toronto; MAAT Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon; Galeria Avenida da Índia, Lisbon; WdW Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Secession Museum, Vienna; Bozar Museum,Brussels; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; Maxim Gorki Theatre, Berlin, among others. Her written work has been published in numerous international anthologies and translated into several languages. She is the author of Plantation Memories (2008) a compilation of episodes of everyday racism written in the form of short psychoanalytical stories, and released at the International Literature Festival, Berlin. And the co-editor of Mythen, Subjekt und Masken (2008), a pioneer anthology on Critical Whiteness.
In 2010, as part of her „Performing Knowledge“ project, Kilomba started experimenting with the performance of theoretical and political texts on stage. Particularly acclaimed became her staged reading „Plantation Memories“ (2012) based on her own book; and her lecture-performance "Decolonising Knowledge“ (2013), a piece reflecting on the concepts of knowledge, race, gender, and violence: “ What is acknowledged as knowledge? And what is not? Whose knowledge is this? And who is acknowledged to produce knowledge?” She was invited by the Maxim Gorki Theatre, in Berlin, to develop the distinguished artist talk series ‘Kosmos²’ (2015-2017), a political intervention in the cultural discourse/ practice, in collaboration with refugee artists.
With roots in Angola, São Tomé e Príncipe and Portugal, Kilomba studied Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis at the ‘ISPA– Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada ’ in Lisbon. There, she worked in the psychiatry department with war survivors from Angola and Mozambique. Strongly influenced by the work of Frantz Fanon, Kilomba started writing, and developing projects on memory, trauma and colonialism, extending her concerns to form, language, and performance. Recognised for her academic excellence, Kilomba received a Ph.D. fellowship from the German Heinrich Böll Foundation, and moved to Berlin, where she attained a Doctorate in Philosophy (summa cum laude) from the Freie Universitä t Berlin, in 2008. Since 2004, She has been lecturing at several international universities, and last, was a Professor at the Humboldt Universitä t Berlin, Department of Gender Studies.
Haroon Gunn-Salie (b. 1989, Cape Town) translates community oral histories into artistic interventions and installations. His multidisciplinary practice utilises a variety of mediums, drawing focus to forms of collaboration in contemporary art based on dialogue and exchange. Gunn-Salie completed his BA Honours in sculpture at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2012, where his graduate exhibition titled Witness presented a site-specific body of work focusing on still unresolved issues of forced removals under apartheid. The artist worked with veteran residents of District Six, an area in central Cape Town where widespread forced removals occurred following the Group Areas Act of 1950.
Significant exhibitions and projects that have featured Gunn-Salie’s work include: Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s 89-plus project, for which he participated in the 89plus programme with Obrist at the 2014 Design Indaba in Cape Town; Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, which travelled to the Vitra Design Museum and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2015); What Remains is Tomorrow, the South African Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia (2015); and the 19º Festival de Arte Contemporânea Sesc Videobrasil (2015).
Gunn-Salie was placed in the top five of the Sasol new signatures competition in 2013. At the 19º Festival de Arte Contemporânea Sesc Videobrasil in 2015 he was awarded the first ever SP-Arte/Videobrasil prize, designed to encourage and publicise the work of young artists whose lines of research focus on the debate surrounding the Global South. As part of the award, Gunn-Salie presented a solo exhibition at Galpão VB during the SP-Arte fair in São Paulo in 2016. In 2018, the artist’s work commemorating the Marikana Massacre, Senzenina, formed part of the Frieze Sculpture exhibition, London, and in the same year he was the recipient of the FNB Art Prize.
Haroon Gunn-Salie is currently based between Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979 in Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often hones in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of postcolonialism and modernism in Africa. Practicing in the fields of photography, video, and performance, Kia Henda has tied his multidisciplinary approach to a sharp sense of criticality. A profound springboard into this realm comes from growing up in a household of photography enthusiasts. Furthermore, his conceptual edge has been sharpened by immersing himself in music, avantgarde theatre, and collaborating with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. In complicity with historical legacy, Kia Henda realises the process of appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, as a relevant complexion of his aesthetical construction.
His solo exhibitions have been held in galleries and institutions around the world. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar and São Paulo as well as major travelling exhibitions such as Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists.
Kia Henda currently lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon.
Born in Durban, South Africa, in 1974
Lives and works in Durban