Mawande Ka Zenzile: Archetypocalypse
From April 29 to June 3, 2017, Stevenson Gallery will present Archetypocalypse by Mawande Ka Zenzile. This new work is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. In Archetypocalypse, Ka Zenzile draws a link between politics and perception and explores how this affects the ways in which we understand art. The new body of work shifts deeper into non-representational imagery; here ideologies are sieved and converted into material for the works, and text takes on a greater prominence in the artist’s visual language.
Ka Zenzile continues his rejection of visual schemas or literary conceptual frameworks as access points to his ideas and creativity. He affirms his predominant use of cow dung as painting medium alongside oil paint. His subject matter derives from various sources, including but not limited to his own IsiXhosa modality, questions around ontology, popular imagery as well as socio-political and esoteric knowledge.
He observes that our understanding of art, just like our perception of reality, is continuously dictated by materialist worldviews, dogmatic ideologies, and archetypes, which are circulated throughout western art history. From his disenchantment with dominant worldviews, Ka Zenzile seeks to destabilise the component parts of hegemonic systems of thought, opening the possibility for radical ways of thinking about the hegemonies of perception.
Ka Zenzile stresses that he did not need western art history to arrive at this aesthetic and conceptual position. He says:
It’s very complicated to explain the meaning of the artwork, because of the limiting use of common language. The more I use certain terms that are familiar to certain people, or aligned with certain philosophical schools or movements, the more this limits any deeper meaning to that particular way of understanding or perceiving. The process of making art for me is beyond any accepted form of communication, spoken or written languages. And that’s why I make art, to try and convey a certain understanding of life, living, reality and creativity beyond the norm.
Mawande Ka Zenzile was born in Lady Frere, Eastern Cape, in 1986. He is currently completing his MAFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. He has done solo exhibitions at the AVA Gallery, 2009 and VANSA, 2011. His group exhibitions include Between the Lines at the Michaelis Galleries, 2013; I Love You Sugar Kane, 2016, and Material Matters: New Art from Africa, 2015 at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Mauritius. Ka Zenzile won the Michaelis Prize in 2013 and the Tollman Award for Visual Art in 2014.
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