GOODMAN GALLERY CAPE TOWN
20 SEPTEMBER – 25 OCTOBER 2014
Ishola Akpo | Neïl Beloufa | Marco Chiandetti | Nolan Dennis | Zina Saro-Wiwa | Bogosi Sekhukhuni | Saya Woolfalk | Gavin Wynford
[Working Title] is an annual group exhibition hosted by Goodman Gallery, as part of its continuing efforts to support young and independent artists and curators. The exhibition acts as a platform for project-based works by emerging artists not currently represented by the gallery. The aim is to create a space for dialogue between artists working in a variety of modes and media, to catch a glimpse of current artistic practice in South Africa and elsewhere.
Rather than being structured around any particular theme, [Working Title] aims to remain open to a range of possibilities. Artists are invited to propose recent works or projects, perhaps still in process or not yet fully resolved, with the hope that the exhibition itself can act as a catalyst for new ideas and conversations to emerge.
This year’s iteration will be held at Goodman Gallery Cape Town, with a focus on artists based elsewhere – in Johannesburg, Nigeria, Benin, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – but whose work raises universal questions about place, justice, and individual action and responsibility that resonate with a particular urgency in Cape Town in 2014.
Ishola Akpo is a multimedia artist based in Cotonou, Benin. His practice experiments with various digital media, and is currently focused on questions of representation, image-making and narrative. Les Redesseurs de Calavi (2011) takes as its subject a group of young men in the city of Abomey-Calavi – whether gangsters or righteous vigilantes is perhaps a matter of perspective – and the gym where they cultivate the physiques that give them their authority.
Neïl Beloufa is a French artist of Algerian descent based in Paris. He has held numerous solo exhibitions all over the world. Beloufa’s videos often take the form of a series of interviews in which the boundaries between fiction, fact and documentary are deliberately unsettled. In Kempinsky (2007), which the artist has referred to as a “sci-fi documentary”, a group of men in night-time Bamako describe their visions of the future using the present tense.
Marco Chiandetti is a London-based artist working across various media and discipline, with a primary interest in performative actions and their physical manifestations. In a new project by Chiandetti recalling the tough-guy performances of Chris Burden, a shooting range in Cape Town is transformed into the artist’s studio. The resulting series of seemingly abstract sculptures document the effect of a bullet fired from an AK-47 into a block of clay, and record the moment of impact normally invisible to the naked eye.
Nolan Oswald Dennis is a (South) African, born in Lusaka, Zambia he currently lives and works in Johannesburg and is part of the two-man Mafuta Inc collective. His present work concentrates on the subject of fire in South African popular memory or history and his drawing, painting and installation deals with space, time and memory. Two drawings deal with topography, “mapping the contours of our highly coded human environment,” as the artist says. A walkthrough arc, covered in wax relief, is made up of nine panels showing a fragmented history of civil burnings.
Johannesburg based artist Bogosi Sekhukhuni works with drawing, installation and video, and is engaged in works which allow for an exploration of the role online forums and technology play in “re -imagining our identity”. Sekhukhuni’s dual channel video work Consciousness engine 2: absentblackfatherbot was produced as part of the 89 + residency at the Google cultural institute in Paris. The work, which will be exhibited on [Working Title], is made up of two avatars or robot generated images, which Sekhukhuni developed in Paris. The avatars are based on images of artist and his father, and are programmed to perform a series of conversations which happened between Sekhukhuni and his father on facebook. Having never met his father, the artist sought him out over facebook at the age of 18 which resulted in a series of short conversations which spanned a 6 year period. Sekhukhuni is interested in the way the internet provides a virtual experience and exists as a way of stimulating a self awareness which is brought about by an external presence.
Saya Woolfalk is a New York based artist who uses a variety of media as tools which are used to produce and narrate the imagined worlds and societies which the artist creates. In her first body of work _No Space_, drawings, videos, and performances document the fictional environment of “No Space” – an imaged world set on the future. Recently the artist has focused on bringing the imaged world of No Space into the present. This has happened in the construction of her second body of work The Emphatics which documents the rituals, beliefs and customs of a society of woman whose physical appearances change as they encounter different environments and cultural identities. Drawing on imagery and strategies involved in the disciplines of biology, psychology, folklore, anthropology and science fiction Woolfalk’s _Emphatics_ allows for an investigation into the process of cultural transformation.
Zina Saro-Wiwa is a video artist and filmmaker currently based in the Niger Delta, where she has also set up an artist-run gallery called Boys Quarters Project Space. She is interested in dialectical representations of Africa, and in the inherent tension between the personal and political. Eaten By The Heart (2012—2013) is a video project commissioned by the Menil Collection in Houston in which the artist explores the performance of love and intimacy among men and women from Africa and its diaspora, and the degree to which these acts are culturally informed.
Gavin Wynford’s performance may be based on the idea of waiting at a bus stop but his style of physical delivery involves activity, namely the illumination of objects and the painting of surfaces with light using digital mapping. He calls the bus stop a “liminal/inceptive space in the sense that it is the starting point to a destination both in a physical sense and the imaginary.”
Nolan Oswald Dennis (b. 1988, Zambia) is a para-disciplinary artist from Johannesburg, South
Africa. Their practice explores what they call ‘a black consciousness of space’: the material and
metaphysical conditions of decolonization.
Dennis’ work questions the politics of space (and time) through a system-specific, rather than site-specific approach. They are concerned with the hidden structures that pre-determine the limits of our social and political imagination. Through a language of diagrams, drawings and models they explore a hidden landscape of systematic and structural conditions that organise our political sub-terrain. This sub-space is framed by systems which transverse multiple realms (technical, spiritual economic, psychological, etc) and therefore Dennis’ work can be seen as an attempt to stitch these, sometime opposed, sometimes complimentary, systems together. To read technological systems alongside spiritual systems, to combine political fictions with science fiction.
Dennis’ is the 2016 winner of the FNB Arts Prize, and has exhibited in various solo and group shows, including the 9th Berlin Biennale (2016), the Young Congo Biennale (2019), Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Architekturmuseum der TU München, Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and ARoS Aarhus (Denmark). They were the 2020 artist in residence at NTUCCA (Singapore) and the 2021 artist in residence at the Delfina Foundation (London).
Dennis will be participating in the upcoming Liverpool Biennale in June (2023) with their installation ‘no conciliation is possible (working diagram)’.