African Art in London

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Politics of Representation @ Tate Modern

Three Continents (2010) – Nástio Mosquito

This Saturday, don’t miss the Tate Tanks take-over from Otobong Nkanga and Nástio Mosquito. Both artists will be engaging with the ‘Politics of Representation‘ – that is, ideas like cultural identity, memory and belonging, and how we understand and engage with them – in the context of Tate’s collections. Their interventions will involve combinations of performance, installation, video, and perhaps even a bit of audience participation… Nkanga will be in residence throughout the day, and Mosquito will take over for the evening slot. For an idea of what to expect, maybe take a look at Mosquito’s film My African Mind.

The day’s events are the first part of Across the Board, an exciting new series looking at contemporary artistic production in and from Africa, which is taking place over the next year or so in London (United Kingdom), Accra (Ghana), Douala (Cameroon), and Lagos (Nigeria). The project has been made possible through Tate’s partnership with Guaranty Trust Bank, which I first posted about last year. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

Also – while you’re at the Tanks, don’t forget to take a look at the mesmerising William Kentridge film installation.

Date: Sat 24 Nov

Tickets: free, but booking is advised for the evening performance from Mosquito – book here.

Otobong Nkanga – 10.00–19:00
Nástio Mosquito – 20.30–22.00

The Tanks at Tate Modern
Bankside, London

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Seminar: Contemporary Art in Nigeria @ SOAS

There’s a seminar on Contemporary Art in Nigeria coming up at SOAS’s Centre of African Studies, presented by sculptor Dr Edewor Uyoyou Nelson, who is also Leventis Visiting Fellow.

The event will chaired by Dr Charles Gore, Senior Lecturer in the History of African Art (SOAS), and there will be discussion led by Maria Varnava, Director of Tiwani Contemporary Gallery. Check out the details of Tiwani’s latest exhibition here.

Date: 29 November 2012

Time: 17.00-18.30

Room 4421, College Building, SOAS
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London


William Kentridge @ Tate Modern

I am not me, the horse is not mine – William Kentridge in collaboration with Philip Miller and Catherine Meyburgh (2008)

I first had a look around the Tanks at Tate Modern about three years ago, just before the renovations began. It was easy to see the potential in the cavernous, booming spaces, and there were even a few films installed to give an impression of how things would look. But there was an awful lot of work to do to make it suitable for showing art: the constant drip, drip of water, the dangerously uneven surfaces, the crime-scene-style yellow tape cordoning off dangling live wires overhead… I even saw the remains of a crab lurking by a shallow puddle. I kid you not.

Many months later and it’s a different story. The Tanks are proving to be one of the most exciting new art spaces in London, with an ambitious and varied programme of films, installations, live art and performances which in different ways draw the audience directly into conversation with the artwork. Tate Modern Director Chris Dercon has suggested that it is ‘the true meeting of artworks and audiences that will establish what the Tanks are and can be’. It’ll be interesting to see how visitors respond in these spaces which, a bit like the turbine hall, are both overwhelmingly large and somehow approachable.

Coming up soon is an eight-channel video installation I am not me, the horse is not mine by South African artist William Kentridge, which promises to make the most of the space. It’s an intriguingly bonkers idea drawn from Kentridge’s recent staging of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1930 opera The Nose, which is in turn based on an absurdist short story of the same name written almost 100 years earlier by Nikolai Gogol. In the story, the nose disappears from the face of a Russian official, only to reappear on the face of one of his superiors. [correction: it takes on a life of its own. As they do.] For Kentridge, The Nose is a platform for examining the rise and fall of Russian avant-gardes in the 1920s and 30s, both as a celebration of the flourishing of creative energies, and an elegy for their eventual demise.

The installation combines live action film, archival footage and stop-motion animation, and has previously been shown in conjunction with a performance by the artist. There’s more info about this and other work on this website from MoMA which was produced at the time of his excellent solo show there in 2010.

Back at Tate Modern, don’t miss the artist’s talk in the Starr Auditorium on Sunday 11th November, 14.00 – 15.30, £12 (concessions available) – for more info and to book tickets, take a look here.

Show: 11 Nov 2012 – 20 Jan 2013

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, 10.00-18.00, Fri-Sat, 10.00-22.00

Tate Modern
Bankside, London

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Nathalie Mba Bikoro @ Tiwani Contemporary

Les Statues Meurent Aussi – Nathalie Bikoro (2012)

It’s been almost a year since Tiwani Contemporary opened its doors just off Oxford Street, and the gallery has really made its mark in London with a great series of exhibitions and events bringing some of Nigeria’s most exciting artists to the UK.

The gallery also presents work by artists from Africa, the African diaspora and the Global South more widely. Their latest show comes from Nathalie Mba Bikoro, a French-Gabonese interdisciplinary artist who draws on her own multiple spaces of belonging in both Gabon and Europe to address and re-imagine the histories, myths and memories that shape identity. In this, her first solo show in London, Bikoro employs photo etching, installation and performance to create a new interpretation of a well-known story: The Middle Passage: Alice in Wonderland.

The exhibition is presented in association with Ed Cross Fine Art. You can find out more about Bikoro’s work on their website.

Show: 9th Nov – 15 Dec

Private view with live performance by the artist: 8th Nov, 6.30-8.30

Opening hours: Wed-Fri 11-6, Sat 12-5, Mon-Tues by appointment

Tiwani Contemporary
16 Little Portland Street, London