If youâ€™re not familiar with the name and work of Mohau Modisakeng, I suggest nowâ€™s the time to get acquainted. Mohau is a young South African multi-disciplinary artist, who is fast-tracking on the fine art scene, both locally and internationally.
His latest solo show Ditaola opened last Thursday at the Brundyn+ gallery in Cape Town. The exhibition is comprised of a video performance, a variety of large-scale sculptures and sixteen large format Giclee prints. The photographs were printed by Lauren Smit at Orms Print Room & Framing and mounted using the Diasec process.
Lauren has worked closely with Mohau, printing this current body of work, as well as previous bodies. Mohau always prints his photographs at the same scale, 1500x2000mm, on fine art cotton rag archival paper with Inkjet archival inks.Â This collection was printed on a new printing media available at Orms, Hot Press Natural, a paper range that is part of Epsonâ€™s Signature-Worthy range. The paper has an ultra smooth finish and produces deep, solid blacks and an incredible vibrancy in colours. Therefore it was a perfectly suited substrate for Mohauâ€™s recent works, as this is the first time that he has employed colour within his high-contrast photographs.
Mohauâ€™s previous collections of black and white photographs have had a much more violent, harsh and aggressive sensibility, and although this recent body continues to portray similar content, these works introduce a softer and more peaceful element (the white dove itself is representative of this). His current works also feature more close-ups, which makes Mohau, himself the subject, more vulnerable and personable, allowing the viewer to connect on a more intimate level.
The photographs are successfully not lost within the exhibition space, surrounded by the large-scale sculptures that could have easily dominated the gallery. Rather, the various mediums have a symbiotic relationship, where they narrate a cohesive story, each enhancing the power of the alternate media. The photographs can be viewed closely or at a distance from around (or even within) the sculptures. The photographs are mounted using the Diasec process, under reflective acrylic glass, producing a high gloss effect that allows the sculptural works (and you, the viewer, too) to be reflected within the images themselves. The Diasec properties also accentuate the contrast of the image and increase the depth of the imagery, as the print is embedded between a layer of Dibond and the sheet of acrylic glass.
Ditaola is a powerful, multidimensional exhibit that "is informed by the artistâ€™s personal biography and is infused into the collective narrative of black African subjects within the framework of (South) African social, political, and cultural politics".
Mohau will give a walkabout of his exhibition on Thursday 5 June at 11:00 in support of Friends of the South African National Gallery. The exhibition will be on show until 12 July 2014. Visit the gallery's website for more information.