Red Studio, 2018
Oil on Canvas
CM H 140 W 120
IN H 55.12 W 47.24Signed by artist
Red Studio, 2018
Investigations into the nature of painting, the creative act, and the institutions of the art world have always acted as meta-narratives within Mudariki’s political scenes, with works often quoting from the canon of art history and alluding to old masters.
Reinterpreting classical themes allowed the painter to question his own position, as a contemporary African painter, in relation to the history of art and the conditions and constrictions of the Western canon. In moving away from classical allusions and into the more intimate space of the artist’s studio, Maonero Angu (My Reality II) - his latest show at the Barnard Gallery - re-orientates the discussion on the nature of painting into a more personal, self-assured space, allowing the viewer a window into the processes of creation and inspiration.
For Mudariki, the studio is a laboratory, a space where the personal and political fuse into surprising visual arrangements.
While these new works may give the viewer a new insight into a more personal space, the artist has not abandoned the humorous play with politics and power for which he has become increasingly more acclaimed. Various works allude to such contemporary events as the fall of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the water crisis in Cape Town, and volatile international politics in the era of Brexit and Trumpism.
Mudariki also explores a growing interest in the rise of social media and its role within contemporary politics and the spread of information (and misinformation).
Working with his familiar visual devices of irrational spaces, an intensely emphasized picture plane, and dynamic group compositions, Mudariki displays an ever more astute ability to capture the absurdity of contemporary social reality, a theatricality and playfulness which contains within it a searing understanding of the volatility of global politics.
Richard Mudariki was born in Seke, Zimbabwe, and currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. A mentee of established artists Allen Kupeta, Helen Lieros, and Greg Shaw, he is perhaps best known for his satirical use of iconic figures and symbols to provide commentary on the socio-political environment of his homeland and beyond.
Richard Mudariki’s work has long been interested in the intersection of personal and political worlds. For while the artist often tackles societal issues and public personas, rendering them in absurdist, theatrical milieus, his work nevertheless always maintains a highly personal dimension, providing a space for personal reflection and examination.
A common thread in both of Mudariki’s more recent works, Patriotic Stereo Tape and Reform, Scan, Format? (2018), are the hidden operators, whose hands reach out from behind the scenes to tamper with a cassette tape, bribe a cyborg, or manipulate information. Read in the light of Zimbabwe’s recent elections, these works question the possibility of political reform and the extent to which a genuine democracy may be realised under state censorship and control.
Mudariki has been featured in the following exhibitions: Mutara Wenguva (Time Line) at Sanlam Art Collection, Johannesburg and Cape Town (South Africa: 2017); Nano 1:1 at Barnard Gallery in Cape Town (South Africa: 2017); A Painting Today at Stevenson, Cape Town (South Africa: 2017); My Reality at Johans Borman Fine Art, Cape Town (South Africa: 2012); and Post Election Selection at Gallery Delta (Zimbabwe: 2008). Read more
Barnard was founded in 2010 by owner and director Christiaan Barnard and represents emerging and mid career contemporary artists from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Europe.
The gallery has presented a number of significant solo exhibitions by its represented artists whose works have also been included in group shows at significant museums and institutions including amongst others IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town; Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon; Pratt Institute, New York; Foto Museum, Antwerp; BOZAR, Brussels, Museo Carlo Bilotti, Rome; Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice and The Center for Book Arts, New York.
The gallery regularly participates in local and international art fairs. To date these have included: 1-54: Contemporary African Art Fair, New York (2019); Cape Town Art Fair (2013-2019); FNB Joburg Art Fair (2012-2018); START London (2018); VOLTA Basel (2018); AKAA: Also Known as Africa, Paris (2017-2018); VOLTA NY, New York (2017); and 1-54: Contemporary African Art Fair, London (2016-2017).
Barnard has an active publishing programme - an initiative aiming to further explore and support the work and careers of the gallery’s stable of artists through the medium of the book.
To date these limited-edition publications have been added to the library collections of the University of Cape Town (UCT); Wits Art Museum (WAM), Johannesburg; Jack Ginsberg Collection / Ampersand Foundation, Johannesburg; Pratt Institute, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), ...