Moshekwa Langa: Sanctuary

Moshekwa Langa: Sanctuary - Omenka Online
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Running presently at Stevenson, Johannesburg is Sanctuary, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Moshekwa Langa.

Titled after places such as The homestead and The orchard, and moments in time including Midnight and Past Midnight, these paintings mark a new chapter for Langa of grappling with familiarity and estrangement.

Continuing his process of self-chronicling, the works in Sanctuary were created between 2020 and 2021 as the artist moved from transitional spaces into a permanent home studio in the city of Amsterdam. Over decades of journeying between Bakenberg, Paris, Johannesburg and Amsterdam, Langa has observed the complexities of negotiating a fugitive self and the elusiveness of both alienation and anchoring. Sanctuary brings to focus how the works themselves are the artist’s respite, with each mark functioning to create a ‘mental space’ that offers the means to process loss, repossession and the creation of a personal archive. He states:

The real work is the work when I’m making it; what you see are the remains. Getting involved in the process of making the work means blocking out or sublimating a lot of unpleasantness. Maybe why so much of it is so free-flowing and magnificently lyrical is because it would be bringing on unnecessary suffering to make difficult images – since I would literally have to live with them. What I do know for sure, however, is that if I don’t work then I’m worried and my mind wanders, but if I do work I only half-remember that I have the anxieties and concerns that come with being human.

Figuration and abstraction merge in Langa’s topographical fields of colour as his palette concentrates on forms of radiance that waver between the solar and oceanic. Through a meditative process of layering and experimentation with materials and forms, the various scenes allude to nature, objects and people, coalescing in what he terms ‘spectral insinuations’. The artist continues:

I brought skyscapes and rivers into [the] visual field by layering colours upon colours, tearing away at the matrix which was canvas and linen lain onto paper. I reworked the surfaces almost as though they were what I would imagine to be a bird’s-eye view of a landscape … Logic and reality and dream and visions all competing and all interpreted differently.

Moshekwa Langa: Sanctuary runs until 8 October 2021 at Stevenson Johannesburg.

https://www.stevenson.info/exhibition/6120

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