Matereality at Iziko Museum14/02/2020
Matereality highlights how contemporary artists from the African continent are challenging traditional notions around what materials are suited to art-making.
The use of materiality to shape the aesthetic experience
The group exhibition explores different issues and ideas such as climate and environmental issues; pollution; waste; xenophobia; poverty; beauty; gender; and politics – using certain materials to provide insight into their reality. The exhibition opened on Friday 14 February 2020, it unpacks how artists have used the materials, whether directly or indirectly, to raise questions about larger societal concerns. The selection of artists may explore a wide range of issues; however, the thread that connects them all is that of using materiality to guide the aesthetic experience. Artists featured in the exhibition include Athi Patra-Ruga, Patrick Bongoy, Jodi Paulsen, Billie Zangewa, Bert Pauw, Bronwyn Katz, Cyrus Kabiru and Gabrielle Kruger – to name just a few. These artists explore what is important to them with autonomy and authority, but without losing the material traditions that have been such an important part of their nation’s artistic or historical legacy.
The materials being used often have an inherent history, which can offer a powerful starting point and make for a more meaningful process. These mostly upcoming or established artists provide a glimpse into the vibrant South African art scene as well as the visual production from the rest of the African continent. This swathe of contemporary artists from across the continent are exploring ‘the material’ in new and exciting ways. The works encapsulate a very wide scope of materials, showing that ‘materiality’ is a rich subject; materials range from cow-hides to plastic bags, from bra-straps to pantyhose, from fake nails to computer parts. Matereality, curated by Andrea Lewis, Iziko Curator of Prints and Drawings.
About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)
Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection-specific libraries in Cape Town. The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect the diversity of African heritage. Iziko is a public entity and public benefit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure. They are unfortunately currently closed due to covid-19.