Goodman Gallery Cape Town
28 November – 11 January 2020
Goodman Gallery presents Soft Architectures, a group exhibition interrogating the intersection of architecture and structures of power and resistance.
Through sculpture, drawing, print, lens-based media and performance, the work of seven artists each explore the subtle and overt ways in which architecture has been implicated into forms of racialised surveillance, segregated accessibility and the discipline and comportment of bodies, and in turn how architecture has been subverted towards forms of resistance such as strategic concealment and networks of defiance.
Soft Architectures is realised across locations at Goodman Cape Town with many of the works themselves resisting and subverting the disciplinary constraints of the gallery space.
Artists include Yto Barrada (New York, USA), Kapwani Kiwanga (Paris, France), Simone Leigh (New York, USA), Mateo López (New York, USA), Paul Maheke (London, UK), Naama Tsabar (New York, USA) and Jeremy Wafer (Johannesburg, South Africa).
Kapwani Kiwanga’s research-based practice brings to light the materials used to entrench social, political and economic power structures as well as the artefacts used by those who have learned to circumnavigate these obstacles. Kiwanga’s recent body of work, Safe Passage, looks at systems which surveil and control individuals. Kiwanga connects these systems to a historic instance of surveillance used against black Americans from the time of slavery and the Jim Crow era to more modern technologies used to track citizens.
Yto Barrada similarly looks at strategies and gestures of survival and resistance in response to structures of power and control. Barrada unpacks the various ways in which authorities displace populations, raising questions of appropriation and authenticity.
Barrada’s work creates structures of resistance through engaging alternative histories, highlighting the prevalence of fiction in hegemonic narratives.
Naama Tsabar uses everyday materials to realise experiential and conceptually-charged installations which question power, eroticism, gender and memory. In her most recent work, Tsabar invited female musicians to explore a new vocabulary of movement and sound through performances in which they insert their bodies between repurposed fragments of instruments juxtaposed alongside images where a female body penetrates and intertwines with walls.
Simone Leigh works across various disciplines including sculpture, video, performance and social projects which focus on race, history and gender. Leigh’s practice centres the black female experience and draws on African and African-American objects, ethnography, the history of architecture, feminist criticism and chronicles of political resistance. In so doing Leigh interrogates how material culture is categorised and historicised, as well as the anonymous, often invisibilised labour of women.
Jeremy Wafer’s practice variously explores colonial legacies. Working in
a broadly post-minimalist sculptural idiom, Wafer’s sculptural installations investigate the notions and implications of location, boundaries, and constructed borders and the imprint of human architecture and it’s inherent and directed divisions and separations on the landscape.
Paul Maheke realises immersive installations through which he interrogates the potential of the body as an archive in order to address how history, memory and identity are formed and constituted. Incorporating installation, video, sound and performance, Maheke often plays with the interiority and exteriority of the gallery space in order to explore the tensions between hypervisibility and erasure.
Mateo López studied architecture for two years, before beginning his practice as an artist. In this work Lopéz challenges our perspectives of scale, dimension and functionality. Lopéz realises drawings and installations to describe autobiographical journeys, creating studio-like situations in which the production and display of the work intersect. In many cases, Lopéz combines real objects with drawings that he expands into three-dimensional forms, unfolding a narrative constructed by processes of associations rather than a linear trajectory.
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.
Jeremey Wafer (b. 1953, Durban, South Africa) grew up in Nkwalini in what was then Zululand. He studied fine art at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (B.A.F.A.1979) and at the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. Hons. in Art History 1980 and M.A. Fine Art 1987).
Wafer has taught in the Fine Art Departments of the former Technikon Natal (now DUT) and Technikon Witwatersrand (now UJ) before being appointed Associate Professor. Wafer received his PhD in 2016 and was subsequently appointed full professor of Sculpture in the School of Arts of the University of the Witwatersrand.
Wafer is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, notably the Standard Bank National Drawing Prize in 1987 and the Sasol Wax Art Award in 2006. His work featured on the South African Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Wafer has exhibited in South Africa and internationally, his work is represented in the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, the South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery as well as in many other museum, private and corporate collections.
Wafer lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Naama Tsabar (b. 1982, Israel) lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 2010. Solo exhibitions and performances of Tsabar have been presented at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Museum of Art and Design (New York), The High Line Art (New York), Kunsthuas Baselland (Switzerland), Palais De Tokyo (Paris), Prospect New Orleans, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, The Herziliya Museum for Contemporary Art in Israel, MARTE-C (El Salvador), CCA Tel Aviv (Israel), Faena Buenos Aires, Frieze Projects New York, Paul Kasmin Gallery (New York), Paramo Gallery (Guadalajara), Dvir Gallery (Israel), Spinello Projects (Miami). Selected group exhibitions featuring Tsabar’s work include Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Elevation 1049 Gstaad (Switzerland), Goodman Gallery (South Africa), TM Triennale, Hasselt Genk, Belgium, ‘Greater New York’ 2010 at MoMA PS1, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (Belgium), The Bucharest Biennale for Young Artists, Hessel Museum of Art at CCS Bard, Casino Luxembourg (Luxembourg), ExtraCity in Antwerp (Belgium). Tsabar’s work has been featured in publications including ArtForum, Art In America, ArtReview, ARTnews, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Frieze, Bomb Magazine, Art Asia Pacific, Wire, and Whitewall, among others.
Yto Barrada (Moroccan, French, b.1971, Paris) studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. Her work — including photography, film, sculpture, prints and installations, — began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale.
She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011, after which her exhibit RIFFS toured widely. Barrada is also the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger. A comprehensive monograph was published by JRP Ringier in 2013. She is a recipient of the 2013-2014 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography (Peabody Museum at Harvard University) and was awarded the 2015 Abraaj Prize.
Paul Maheke (b. 1985) graduated from Cergy School of Fine Arts and is an Open School East (London) alum. Recent solo exhibitions include “A fire circle for a public hearing” at the Chisenhale gallery in London (2018) and Vleeshal Middelburg (2019), and “I Lost Track of the Swarm” at the South London Gallery (2016). Selected group exhibitions include “Le centre ne peut tenir” at Lafayette Anticipations in Paris (2018), “Ten Days Six Nights” at Tate Modern in London (2017), and the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017)
Mateo López (b. 1978, Bogotá, Colombia) lives and works be-tween Bogotá and New York. He studied architecture for two years at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá before switching to Visual Arts at Bogotá’s Universidad de Los Andes.
López’s work engages with cartographies, journeys and con-struction processes while grappling with themes of chance, encounter and time. His practice traces a conceptual ap-proach, expanding from drawings to installations, architec-ture, films and sculptural choreography. Key international solo exhibitions include Sin Principio / Sin Final Museo de Arte Universidad Nacional, Bogota, Colombia (2018); Undo List, The Drawing Center, New York, USA (2017); A Weed is a Plant Out of Place, Lismore Castle Arts, Lismore, Ireland (2016) and Deriva at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2009). Important group exhibitions include United States of Latin America, curated by Jens Hoffmann and Pab-lo León de la Barra at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, USA (2015); A Trip from Here to There, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2013) and Ha sempre um copo de mar para um homem navegar, 29 Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2010).
Major awards and residencies include the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. William Kentridge’s Protégé, Geneva Switzerland in 2012 and the Gasworks Residency Program, London, UK in 2010, which was followed by an exhibition.
López’s work can be found in public collections around the world, including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Banco de la Republica, Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia, Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil and Museum of Mod-ern Art (MoMA), New York, NY.