Middle East & Africa

Moshekwa Langa
Landed / Untitled XII (orange string)

Hybridized drawing is a continued exploration in Moshekwa’s practice, integrating elements of graffiti, thread and yarn to enrich his abstract drawings of maps and space. Through the combination of ready-found materials with drawing, in the case of “Landed / Untitled XII (orange string)”, employing string, Moshekwa’s creates tension lines across the image, both physical and metaphysical to explore the traumatic events of South Africa and more specifically the passing of his grandmother. Referencing gestural painting of the 1940s and 50s, “Landed / Untitled XII (orange string)” is a disfigured and layered mapping of both the African and psychological landscape. With a sunburnt orange background, the light blue, green and pink strings delicately weave and interlace suggesting constant movement and flux.

The oeuvre of Moshekwa Langa (b. South Africa, 1975) is a study on media and technique: gouaches, collages, expansive installations, and videos. Langa avoids aesthetic harmony, denying a generalization for themes, contexts and subjects in his oeuvre. The mapping of a complex diasporic identity from his rural South African beginnings, to Johannesburg and his current situation in Northern Europe permits Langa to negotiate territorial hegemony, exploitation, identity and social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion with a nuanced understanding of place. Gaining recognition first for his New Visual Atlas series, Langa embraces ordinary found objects––photographs, balance sheets and invoices––to rethink our familiar surroundings. While initially experimenting with text and drawing, Langa later expanded into sculptures of corrugated iron and cement bags, which stirred his investigation into alternative media. After moving to Johannesburg to work as a contributing producer for the SABC, Langa left Africa in 1997 to attend the Rijksakademie in the Netherlands.