Cape Town I 15 Jun to 30 Jul 2016
Gallery MOMO Cape Town is proud to present ‘Paradoxal Stranger’, a group exhibition of local and international artists working in the medium of video. The exhibition marks the continuation of the gallery’s commitment to actively engage with the growing medium of video art in South Africa.
The artists included in ‘Paradoxal Stranger’ were asked to respond to ideas of the ‘stranger’ and the ‘citizen’ and what these terms might mean in relation to belonging and alienation in a variety of different political, institutional and social contexts. Themes of boundaries, performance, collaboration, self-definition, lost histories and individual and collective narratives converge within the works in a rhizomatic manner; which is to say that they are depicted as being in the thick of a complex web of ever-shifting and adaptive connections and links.
Ideas of cultural displacement and the complexities of bridging cultural gaps with one’s heritage without romanticising it are at play in Andrew Thomas Huang’s (b.1985, Los Angeles) Interstice. Hypnotically choreographed and viscerally unsettling, the film draws iconography from a number of disparate dance and religious sources such as Chinese lion dancing, New York flex dancing and Eastern Orthodox church rituals to convey the idea of interstitial leaps between cultures.
In Sabir, Dor Guez (b.1983, Jerusalem) uses the personal history of a woman named Samira to reflect on the larger historical and social narratives of the Christian Palestinian diaspora in the Middle East. Scenic footage of the sun setting on a beach in Jaffa is juxtaposed with Samira’s account of her family’s escape to al-Lydd – seeking refuge from the 1948 Palestine war – and the struggles inherent in their eventual return under Israeli citizenship.
Rashaad Newsome’s (b.1979, New Orleans) Shade Performance SFMOMA 2012 documents a multisensory performance involving a cast of 20 female and gay male performers enacting choreographed gestures and sounds associated with black female vernacular and the idea of ‘throwing shade’. The work is both a celebration and a critique of how the complex languages of power manifest in an emerging global culture and exists simultaneously as a minimalist piece of music, a performance, and an anthropological study.
Through the creation of Techno Dandies, Maurice Mbikayi (b. 1974, Kinshasa) forges paradoxical hybridised identities which, while appearing futuristic and linked to defiance self-determinacy, are formed from obsolete and discarded computer materials. His work examines the renegotiation of borders and identities offered by virtual space while critiquing the waste and exploitative practices which produce the technology required to facilitate it.
Kambui Olujimi’s (b. 1976, Brooklyn, NYC) recent work has contrasted Glenn Albrecht’s notion of solastalgia (the sense of being homesick while still at home) with a feeling of displacement caused by the recent civil unrest in Baltimore and New York City. A Faint Notion is a long exposure video performed on a number of minimal wooden platforms. The dancers interacting with this scenery appear as traces, fading in and out like spectres and conveying a sombre sense of invisibility and erasure in contemporary times.
Whitney McVeigh (b.1968, New York) locates her practice within the interdisciplinary area of research entitled Human Fabric, looking at a collective human history by connecting common threads in land, clothing, belongings and philosophies. Sight of Memory depicts civilian life in Syria in 2009 and is a poetic reflection on the small, intimate exchanges which comprised everyday life at the time. There is an underlying tension due to the retrospective awareness of the widespread conflict which will break out two years later.
Lauren Brown’s video installations look at how the external world is interpreted and filtered by young children and what the drawn connections evidenced in their creative output might suggest about healthy emotional and behavioural adaption.