Kopi av NicholasHLOBO055K2155.jpg
Nicholas Hlobo, Izithunzi (detail), 2009. Photo: Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town

Nicholas HLOBO: sculpture · installation · performance · drawing

4 March 2011–29 May 2011

The Museum of Contemporary Art

The exhibition presents a number of works that show how Nicholas Hlobo uses sculpture, installation, performance and drawing to address issues of gender, cultural difference and contemporary politics. The foundation to most of sculptural installations, drawings and  performances reference his Xhosa cultural roots and his sexual identity. His work interweaves a great variety of recycled materials such as inner rubber tubes of cars, cloth, ribbon, thread, latex silicone and wood. They vary in scale from small hand-size objects to large room installations.

Nicholas Hlobo’s work implicates viewers in the scenario of his South African culture. They provide enough clues to bridge the differences between his local cultural sensitivities and those of a global art world. He invites one to read his world through the visual play of materials and the poetry of his titles that touch global and South African realities. All Hlobo’s work is titled in his mother tongue -isiXhosa to engage viewers in the act of cultural translation. Hlobo’s works sits at the interstice betweenumXhosa tradition and South Africa’s new democratic reality. Sculptural installations become a resource from which viewers can retrieve knowledge about both the past and present worlds. Hlobo’s performances move between the sacred and the profane, the every day and the traditional past. They weave the real into the supernatural and question the morality of conventional beliefs.

A complete list of 36 works for the exhibition is attached. Works from the last five years is the focus of the curation and includes three important sculptural installations, over 20 drawing, paintings, artist’s books and 8 performance works.

Hlobo is a graduate of Wits Tehnikon in Johannesburg and has had solo exhibitions at the ICA in Boston Massachusttes, 2008 Tate Modern in London, 2009 Galeria Extraspazio in Rome and The Michael Stevensen Gallery in Cape Town 2008. Other recent group exhibitions include Dada South? at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2009); Beauty and Pleasure in South African Contemporary Art at the Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2009); Gender, (Trans) Gender and (De) Gendered, a special project of the Havana Biennale, Cuba (2009); Mythologies at Haunch of Venison, London (2009); the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); and Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2008). He has been selected for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. He was the recipient of the Tollman award 2006, the Standard Bank Young Artist 2008 and is the Rolex Protegé artist for 2010/11 and will work with the sculptor Anish Kapoor during this period.

The exhibition is the first large scale presentation of Nicholas Hlobo’s work in Scandinavia and occupies the first floor gallery rooms of the Contemporary Art Museum at Bankplassen 4 in Oslo. A 200 page illustrated publication accompanies the exhibition with essays by Jan Erik Lundstrom, former director of Bilde Museet in Umea Sweden, Kerryn Greenberg, curator at Tate Modern, London, and the curator Gavin Jantjes. Four video podcasts are planned for the museum's web page and feature his exhibitionsIzele 2006, Umtshotsho 2008 and his new work for the Liverpool biennial 2010.

An education program for schools, students and the general public is planned and Oslo’s gay community will be one of the target audiences for the exhibition. The other is arts and crafts and fashion students as well as artists working within a hand craft tradition. Investigations to secure a tour of the exhibition with museum partners in Europe and abroad is ongoing.

Curator: Gavin Jantjes