Candice Breitz / Mohau Modisakeng
Exhibition: 13 May – 26 Nov 2017
Venice Biennale - SOUTH AFRICA
It is a pleasure to announce that Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng will represent South Africa at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event. Breitz and Modisakeng will present a major, two-person exhibition in the South African Pavilion, running from 13 May to 26 November 2017 in Venice, Italy.
Candice Breitz (Johannesburg, 1972) is a Cape Town and Berlin-based artist whose moving image installations have been shown internationally. Throughout her career, she has explored the dynamics by means of which an individual becomes him or herself in relation to a larger community, be that community the immediate community that one encounters in family, or the real and imagined communities that are shaped not only by questions of national belonging, race, gender and religion, but also by the increasingly undeniable influence of mainstream media such as television, cinema and popular culture. Most recently, Breitz’s work has focused on the conditions under which empathy is produced, reflecting on a media-saturated global culture in which strong identification with fictional characters and celebrity figures runs parallel to widespread indifference to the plight of those facing real world adversity.
Breitz holds degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), the University of Chicago and Columbia University (NYC). She has participated in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Studio Program and led the Palais de Tokyo’s Le Pavillon residency asa visiting artist during the year 2005-2006. She has been a tenured professor at the Hochschulefür Bildende Künste in Braunschweig since 2007.
Mohau Modisakeng (Johannesburg 1986) was born and grew up in Soweto, Johannesburg. He currently lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Modisakeng completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, in 2009.
The personal is political in Modisakeng’s work. Informed by his experience as a young boy in Soweto, at the crossroads of a violent political transition, Modisakeng uses memory as a portal between past and present to explore themes of history, body and place within the post-apartheid context. His photography, films, performance and installation grapple with the conflicting politics of leadership and nationhood, whilst also attempting to unpack the legacy of inequality, capital, labour and extraction of mineral wealth in contemporary South Africa.
Modisakeng’s oeuvre represents a poignant moment of grieving, catharsis and critical response to the historical legacy of exploitation and current lived experience of many black South Africans. Through his work, Modisakeng critically engages with the complex mechanisms of violence, power and subjugation as propagated, and to some extent internalized, through the course of the successive colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid regimes.
Modisakeng uses a personal lexicon of ritual and symbolism in which his physical form becomes both a vessel and a signifier. His use of his own body is a significant shift away from the problematic depiction of the other and is a gesture of self-actualization and acknowledgment of subjective experience.
His work has been exhibited at the Laumier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis Missouri, Framer Framed Amsterdam, International Kurtzfilmtage, Oberhausen, 2016, 56th Venice Biennale (2015), MOCADA, Brooklyn New York (2015), Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2015), the Museum of Fine Art, Boston (2014); 21C Museum, Kentucky, Massachusetts (2014); IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2014); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); and the Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012). It has also been placed in numerous private collections, both locally and internationally, as well as public collections including the Johannesburg Art Gallery, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Saatchi Gallery and Zeitz MOCAA.