= The Crawford Arts Review: Until Saturday 15 September: Moshekwa Langa's 'Relatives'

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Until Saturday 15 September: Moshekwa Langa's 'Relatives'

A double first for the UK and the Blain|Southern gallery. 

The works of Limpopo-born* Moshekwa Langa are shown here for the first time. 

These works are sumptious, texturally and spatially rich, and instantly engaging. I trust they have not gone unnoticed by acquisition personnel. 

Moshekwa Langa, Sunlight,
© the artist and
Sumptious seems the appropriate term to describe surfaces that are masterfully collaged with such throwaway items as a cutout from a box the artist might have found in his mother's backyard; the inner cardboard rings of rolls of sellotape; strips of tape or bin bag. In handling these elements with such confidence, the artist defines what can be done using the material to hand.  
     In addition, there is no way we can fail to see how an upbringing in a remote South African township has trained this particular artist's eye in how to observe the natural and reproduce its endless array of colour, texture, patterning and depth.

Moshekwa Langa, Fightback,
© the artist and
Blain|Southern is a gallery that chooses its artists well, knows what it wants from them (all 29 works shown here were made between 2014 and 2018), how to get it, and perhaps most of all how to curate it. This is an exhibition of big, bold, white-framed beauties. Moshekwa Langa has an inborn feel for visual placement. Indeed, on a 2-dimensional surface, he exhibits a spatial mastery architects might envy. 
     Nothing less than metamorphosis has taken place here: the patterning of sunlight through forest, the fine reticularity of the surface patterning of creatures from amphibious to land- and tree-dwelling - images we normally only see reproduced in the artefacts and gadgets we surround ourselves with, from TVs and computer screens to fabrics and coffee cups, here metamorphose back to original nature, original life. Every colour, textural and rheological placement speaks to the organic. The wonder is that an area, say, that seems to evoke the spiny shape of leaf veins possibly comes from the repurposing of an old net curtain. It is a narrative structure takes the eye on a symphonic journey through the artist's life and what he has made of it thus far. In this reviewer's opinion, Langa's work is already worthy of its own Artist Room.

* Moshekwa Langa now lives in the Netherlands. During his early years in the South African nativelands of Limpopa under apartheid, the area wasn't even given the dignity of appearing on maps.

Moshekwa Langa
at Blain|Southern
4 Hanover Square
London W1

No comments:

Post a comment