JAG’s Musha Neluheni has been appointed assistant curator of the South African pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Neluheni, who is curator of the JAG’s contemporary collection, will work alongside Lucy MacGarry, to present a major, two-person exhibition of artists Candice Breitz and Mohau Modisakeng.
Candice Breitz is an internationally acclaimed artist best known for her moving image installations. Breitz is known for her nuanced works examining the dynamics of individual identities in context of larger communities - the real and imagined. Questions of national belonging, race, gender and religion and the increasingly undeniable influence of mainstream media such as television, cinema and popular culture are all factors in play in her work. 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
Mohau Modisakeng’s award-winning and internationally exhibited photography, film, performance and installation work forms a personal and idiosyncratic exploration of a local narrative. Informed by a coming of age during our country’s violent political transition, his practice grapples with black male identity, body and place within a post-apartheid context. Modisakeng presents critical responses to ideas of nationhood, leadership, inequality and migrant labour that manifest visually as poignant moments of grieving and catharsis central to the current lived experience of contemporary South Africans.
Christine Macel, Artistic Director of the 57th International Art Biennale, has outlined a curatorial framework emphasising the important role artists play in inventing their own universes and injecting generous vitality into the world we live in. In response to the Biennale’s theme, the South African Pavilion exhibition will invite viewers to explore the artist’s role in visualising and articulating the notion of selfhood within a context of global marginalisation. Placing new works by Breitz and Modisakeng in dialogue, the exhibition will reflect on experiences of exclusion, displacement, transience, migration and xenophobia, exploring the complex socio-political forces that shape the performance of selfhood under such conditions.
The 57th Venice Biennale will run from 13 May to 26 November 2017 in Venice, Italy.