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Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ Ocula Conversation Cinga Samson: ‘a different conversation on representation’ Jareh Das

Cinga Samson 's paintings lay bare the complex relationship between contemporary life, African traditions, globalisation, and representation. His strikingly sombre portraits contain similarities to those of contemporary painters such as Toyin Ojih Odutola, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye , Kehinde Wiley , Florine Démosthène, and Tunji...

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Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Ocula Report Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Radha Mahendru, Dhaka

Seismic Movements , the fifth Dhaka Art Summit, plotted movements, solidarities, and exchanges across the Global South with over 500 artists, scholars, curators, and thinkers.

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Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Ocula Insight Guo Hongwei on Seeing Patterns That Don’t Exist Sherry Paik, New York

Guo Hongwei's recent watercolour paintings, showing at Chambers Fine Art in New York from 3 March, trigger pareidolia—the phenomenon of seeing random objects or patterns where they do not exist.

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HomePage Artists

b. 1975, South Africa

Nicholas Hlobo Biography

South African artist Nicholas Hlobo creates works on paper, sculptures, and performances that activate the associative potential of materials such as ribbon, leather, and rubber. Laden with innuendo and wordplay, Hlobo's works fluidly traverse topics related to identity—including gender, sexuality, and ethnicity—anchored in the artist's position as a descendent of Xhosa, one of South Africa's largest indigenous communities, to challenge prescribed perceptions of his country.

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Born in Cape Town in 1975, Hlobo graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Johannesburg's Technikon Witwatersrand in 2002, developing his practice in post-apartheid South Africa. After turning to art in his late twenties, the artist quickly rose to international recognition. Hlobo's materially charged works involve cutting and piecing materials together, with the repetitious 'baseball' stitch visible across their surface. In Ingubo Yesizwe (2008), for instance, which translates to 'clothes or blanket of the nation', what appears as a lunging, headless beast, is made up of hundreds of pieces of rubber, gauze, ribbon, and leather. Leather, another recurring material in Hlobo's practice, references the economic, social, political, and spiritual significance of cattle to Xhosa culture. The title of this work relates to a commemorative practice in Xhosa culture whereby a cow's hide is used to cover a corpse before burial, protecting the individual in his or her passage to the afterlife.

The materials used in Hlobo's practice are often playfully juxtaposed to enhance their masculine or feminine properties, drawing attention to gender binaries. Rubber, for instance, references automobiles and their emblem in South Africa as a masculine status symbol, along with condoms, and 'gender subculture in the context of sadomasochism'. Ribbons and embroidery flicker through his stitched works, bringing a contrast of warmth and softness generally associated with female handiwork. For the artist's first institutional solo exhibition in the United States, Vula zibhuqe (2008), part of ICA Boston's 'Momentum' series in 2008, an 18-foot ribbon and rubber hanging sculpture consumed a pink-lit room. Titled Umphanda ongazalivo (2008), which translates to 'the vessel that never fills up', the growth-like sculpture dangled from the ceiling by wires, tapering off into a tunnel that fed into one of the gallery's walls to construct a black 'orifice' on the other side. Hlobo has referred to the work as a stomach that symbolises the 'all-consuming greed' for which the world remains at war, 'because there is a need to feed the stomach.'

In 2011, Hlobo participated in the Venice Biennale for the first time with the monumental installation, Iimpundulu Zonke Ziyandilandela (all the lightning birds are after me). Hanging from the ceiling in the centre of the Arsenale, the dramatic installation resembled a dragon made of rubber, inlaid with long strands of ribbon that dangled off its body and wings, and with a fleshless skull as a head. The work references a folk song about a mythological creature, which 'at times presents itself as a bird and at times as a handsome young man, but only to women'. During the Venice Biennale preview, the work was purchased by German collector Jochen Zeitz, chairman and chief executive of Puma, and the founder of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.

Copper was added to Hlobo's material repertoire in 2017, recurring in the form of bundles of spindly industrial tubing to take hold of surrounding space in novel ways. At the Maitland Institute in Cape Town in 2018, for instance, the artist paired with Cinga Samson for Umthamo, an exhibition for which these copper sculptures took up one of Maitland Institute's airy, industrial spaces. Short sections of tubing were occasionally entangled in tight masses, and in other cases sprawled across the floor, their swirling forms resembling live organisms moving through the space, generating an ecstatic energy. In later works, the artist has added further objects to the copper tubing to layer meaning, as in the case of Mphephethe uthe cwaka (2017), which translates to 'blowing them in silence', and refers to oral sex, but also the power of music and sound, with trumpets added to the end of the copper tubing that is assembled into a loose bundle. In another example of one of these works, Dyumpu, which translates to 'splash', a mass of copper tubes is fitted with shoe-like forms, which 'represents the imagery of a person diving into water,' explains Lehman Maupin Seoul Senior Director Emma Son in a video for Ocula IGTV.

Hlobo's artwork has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions such as The Hague, Netherlands (2016); Savannah College of Art and Design, Lacoste, France (2010); Tate Modern, London (2008); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2008); and SCAD Museum of Art, GA (2007). Hlobo has participated in multiple institutional exhibition, including the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012); the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); the 6th Liverpool Biennial (2010); and the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008). His work is included in numerous international public and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town; and the Tate Modern, London. Hlobo has received numerous honours and distinctions such as the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé (2010–2011); Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2009); and the Tollman Award for Visual Art (2006).

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2019

Nicholas Hlobo Featured Artworks

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Umnikelo by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboUmnikelo, 2018Ribbon and leather on canvas
180 x 120 x 120 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Isingxobo by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboIsingxobo, 2018Ribbon and leather on canvas
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Ibele by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboIbele, 2018Ribbon and leather on canvas
160 x 250 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Dyumpu by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboDyumpu, 2019Copper
180 x 115 x 150 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Umhloli Womkhondo by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboUmhloli Womkhondo, 2017Ribbon and leather on canvas
39.37 x 59.06 inches
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Nyokana by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboNyokana, 2017Ribbon and leather on canvas
39.37 x 59.06 inches
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Unduluko by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboUnduluko, 2017Ribbon, leather, plastic, copper, and rope
127 x 309.9 x 116.8 cm
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work
Ndilinde by Nicholas Hlobo contemporary artwork
Nicholas HloboNdilinde, 2017ribbon, leather, and wood
43.31 x 122.05 x 66.54 inches
Lehmann Maupin Enquire about this work

Nicholas Hlobo Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Kader Attia, Nicholas Hlobo, and Angel Otero at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul
Closed
18 July–24 August 2019 Group Exhibition Kader Attia, Nicholas Hlobo, and Angel Otero Lehmann Maupin, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Nicholas Hlobo, Nicholas Hlobo at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul
Closed
21 March–18 May 2019 Nicholas Hlobo Lehmann Maupin, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Nicholas Hlobo, Ulwamkelo at Lehmann Maupin, New York
Closed
12 July–24 August 2018 Nicholas Hlobo Ulwamkelo Lehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, New York

Nicholas Hlobo Represented By

Nicholas Hlobo In Ocula Magazine

RoseLee Goldberg: Performance Then and Now Ocula Conversation RoseLee Goldberg: Performance Then and Now Fawz Kabra

RoseLee Goldberg had long been invested in contemporary performance art before her founding of the inter-disciplinary arts organisation Performa in New York in 2004. Born in Durban, South Africa, Goldberg studied political science and fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and then art history at the Courtauld...

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Nicholas Hlobo at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul Ocula Insight Nicholas Hlobo at Lehmann Maupin, Seoul Ocula IGTV

South African artist Nicholas Hlobo 's signature materials of rubber, ribbon, leather, and wood were all present in his first solo exhibition in Korea, held between 21 March and 18 May 2019 in Seoul . It comprised new and recent paintings along with a sculpture of copper piping titled Dyumpu (2019), each piece reflecting the artist's...

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Nicholas Hlobo In Related Press

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In Conversation with South African Artist Nicholas Hlobo on How Detached We've Become From Our Histories Related Press In Conversation with South African Artist Nicholas Hlobo on How Detached We've Become From Our Histories 15 December 2017, okayafrica.

As I sat in the lofty space at Harlem Parish, where South African artist Nicholas Hlobo presented his latest work, umBhovuzo: The Parable of the Sower , I couldn't help but think of the 26 Nigerian girls, mostly aged 14 to 18, who drowned off the coast of Italy in November. A mass funeral was held in Salerno, Italy, the day before the...

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What's driving the growing interest in African art? Related Press What's driving the growing interest in African art? 13 April 2017, The Art Newspaper

The Parisian art world will resound to a decidedly African beat when Bernard Arnault's Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, hosts a three-part exhibition devoted to African art: Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier (26 April-28 August), It will include a show of contemporary South African art from the foundation's collection and a selection of works from the...

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12 things to do in New York's art world before February 26 Related Press 12 things to do in New York's art world before February 26 22 February 2016, Observer

There's so much to do in New York all the time. Here are 12 things to do to get a good dose of culture and art this week: Opening: Hew Locke: The Wine Dark Sea  at Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art An Anglo-Guyanese artist who’s well known for work dealing with issues of race and colonialism, Hew Locke makes his New York solo...

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Nicholas Hlobo Related Press Nicholas Hlobo 16 September 2015, Flash Art

Hans Ulrich Obrist: How did you come to art? Was there some kind of an epiphany? Nicholas Hlobo: It was a long process. When I was younger in school I was very interested in music, and at some point I even thought of going into the film industry. I have some experience with set building and I had even gone to several auditions. From my memory as...

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