South South / Between Land and Sea: I don't understand what you're talking about, but I know what you mean

Kapwani Kiwanga / El Anatsui / Sue Williamson 29 November - 16 January 2019 Goodman Gallery, Cape Town

Goodman Gallery Cape Town
29 November – 19 January 2019

For the third edition of South-South, Goodman Gallery presents Between Land and Sea – a programme of exhibitions, films, public discussions and adjacent projects realised across Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Concurrent solo exhibitions by Alfredo Jaar and Ernesto Neto anchor this iteration of South-South alongside recent works by Laura Lima in the Johannesburg viewing room and a group show in the Cape Town project space featuring work by Sue Williamson, El Anatsui and Kapwani Kiwanga. The film programme, co-curated by Paula Borghi and Lara Koseff, will run in Cape Town alongside the launch of a new publication documenting the previous South-South, Let me begin again , edited by curator Koseff and co-curator Renato Silva.

Between Land and Sea emerges in response to the practices of these artists who explore constructions of social space and the natural world, freedom of movement, the real and the imagined spaces between continents and the limits and ethics of representation. The sea has long been deployed in the arts as a metaphor for a ‘non-place’ and as a gateway to the transcendental and transformational. The sea is figured as a ‘zone of exception’ that constitutes and contests the hegemonic geographies of place. It marks an edge in the form of a horizon, beyond which imaginaries exist. It is a connector of continents, serving ancestral voyages, trade, exploration and exploitation – a pathway that has integrated cultures throughout history.

Artworks

About

Kapwani Kiwanga

Kapwani Kiwanga (b. Hamilton, Canada) lives and works in Paris. Kiwanga studied Anthropology and Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal and Art at l’école des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

In 2020, Kiwanga received the Prix Marcel Duchamp (FR). She was also the winner of the Frieze Artist Award (USA) and the annual Sobey Art Award (CA) in 2018.

Solo exhibitions include Haus der Kunst, Munich (DE); Kunstinstituut Melly – Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (NLD); Kunsthaus Pasquart, Biel/Bienne (CHE); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (USA); Albertinum museum, Dresden (DE); Artpace, San Antonio (USA); Esker Foundation, Calgary (CA); Tramway, Glasgow International (UK); Power Plant, Toronto (CA); Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (USA); South London Gallery, London (UK); and Jeu de Paume, Paris (FR) among others.

Selected group exhibitions include Whitechapel Gallery, London (UK); Serpentine Galleries, London (UK); Yuz Museum, Shanghai (CHN); MOT – Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (JPN); Museum MMK für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (DE); Museum of African Contemporary Art Al
Maaden – MACAAL, Marrakech (MAR); National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (CA); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (USA); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (USA); Centre Pompidou, Paris (FR); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montreal (CA); ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus (DK) and MACBA, Barcelona (ESP).

She is represented by galerie Poggi, Paris; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Cape Town and London; galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin.

Kapwani Kiwanga is a Franco-Canadian artist based in Paris. Kiwanga’s work traces the pervasive impact of power asymmetries by placing historic narratives in dialogue with contemporary realities, the archive, and tomorrow’s possibilities.

Her work is research-driven, instigated by marginalised or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of materials and mediums including sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance.

Kiwanga co-opts the canon; she turns systems of power back on themselves, in art and in parsing broader histories. In this manner Kiwanga has developed an aesthetic vocabulary that she described as “exit strategies,” works that invite one to see things from multiple perspectives so as to look differently at existing structures and find ways to navigate the future differently.

El Anatsui

El Anatsui (b. 1944, Ghana) is an internationally acclaimed artist who transforms simple materials into complex assemblages that create distinctive visual impact. He uses resources typically discarded such as liquor bottle caps and cassava graters to create sculpture that defies categorization. His use of these materials reflects his interest in reuse, transformation, and an intrinsic desire to connect to his continent while transcending the limitations of place. His work can interrogate the history of colonialism and draw connections between consumption, waste, and the environment, but at the core is his unique formal language that distinguishes his practice.

Anatsui is well-known for large scale sculpture composed of thousands of folded and crumpled pieces of metal sourced from local alcohol recycling stations and bound together with copper wire. These intricate works, which can grow to be massive in scale, are both luminous and weighty, meticulously fabricated yet malleable. He leaves the installations open and encourages the works to take different forms every time they are installed.

In 2015, Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the Venice Biennale’s highest honor. Anatsui’s solo exhibition Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, was organized by the Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio (2012), and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa (2013); then to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, Florida (2014); and concluded at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, California (2015). In 2019, El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale, a major career survey curated by Okwui Enwezor, opened at Haus der Kunst and is due to travel to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Kunstmuseum Bern and Guggenheim Bilbao.

Anatsui currently lives and works between Ghana and Nigeria.

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson (b. 1941, Lichfield, UK) emigrated with her family to South Africa in 1948. Trained as a printmaker, Williamson also works in installation, photography and video. In the 1970s, she started to make work which addressed social change during apartheid and by the 1980s Williamson was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle.

Referring to her practice, Williamson says: " I am interested in objects, often very humble ones, and the stories behind them. I am interested in the media, in the subtext that runs behind newspaper reports, and in books which may seem mundane like a tourist guidebook. But most of all I am interested in people, in their stories, and in the exact words they use to describe their memories, experiences and expectations’.

Williamson has avoided the rut of being caught in an apartheid-era aesthetic, constantly re-assessing changing situations, and finding new artistic languages to work out her ideas.

In 2018, Williamson was Goodman Gallery’s featured artist at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, where she exhibited her work Messages from the Atlantic Passage, a large-scale installation of shackled, suspended glass bottles engraved with details taken from 19th century slave trade documents. This installation was also exhibited the previous year at Art Basel in Switzerland and at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India in 2018.

Williamson’s works feature in numerous public collections across the globe, including those at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, Tate Modern, London, UK, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA, Wifredo Lam Centre, Havana, Cuba, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa, and Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa.

Williamson has received various awards and fellowships such as the Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship 2011, Italy, Rockefeller Foundation, the Visual Artist Research Award Fellowship 2007, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., USA and the Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship 2005, Montalvo Art Center, California, USA.

Sue Williamson lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.