Moshekwa Langa




Exhibition catalogue
Being there
Fondation Louis Vuitton & Dilecta
Paris, 2017



I have been making a history of an unknown world, perhaps rather an uncharted territory [...] writing own remembrances of things past, people I left behind1.


Born in Bakenberg in 1975

Moshekwa Langa was born in Bakenberg, a rural village in the province of Limpopo, north of Johannesburg, a self-governing state that was only recognised by the apartheid regime.2 After having studied at a Steiner school in Pretoria, he settled in Europe, mainly Amsterdam, after a residency at the Rijksakademie from 1997 to 1998. His biography constituted the start- ing point of a narrative focusing on his native land. Since the mid-1990s, he has been developing an oeuvre based on the association of disparate elements, exper- imentation with materials, intuition and gesture. His installations, drawings, paintings, collages, photographs and videos are all attempts at reconstituting and cir- cumscribing a territory.

Behind his works is the childhood memory of an incomplete map: he discovered one day that Bakenberg did not gure in a world atlas. Many of his works were inspired by his desire to inscribe it in geography, to reconstruct it mentally and to make it exist. The map motif is also found in the early drawings and collages produced in the 1990s using maps of South Africa that became obsolete after the end of apart- heid in 1994. His installation Temporal Distance (With a Criminal Intent) You Will Find Us in the Best Places, a heap of wool threads, miniature cars and bottles, form an urban landscape reused several times between 1997 and 2009. It is also found in his recent paintings and his drawing-poems.

The series of “Drag Paintings,” produced in 2016, is an extension of it. Damp canvases attached to the backs of cars are dragged along the red-earth roads around Bakenberg. The cloth preserves the rough bits of the soil and its traces, forming an abstract cartography of the region. Once these canvases are hung vertically, they evoke topographical surveys: the artist’s subjectiv- ity makes way for a random process. They bear witness to the artist’s clear attachment to the territories recon- stituted in a fragmentary manner.

The looped video Where Do I Begin? (2001) was inspired by a childhood memory. Langa lmed in medium close-up at calf level a queue of people getting on to a bus: trouser bottoms, skirts and bare legs, shoes, umbrellas, canes and bags against a backdrop of red earth. The slow ascent of the steps is punctuated by the rst repetitive measures of the song Where Do I Begin? performed by Shirley Bassey. Seen from a child’s height, this video has the power of memory and of a haunting visual imprint. It reconstitutes the necessary everyday journeys of a population. The artist, a perpetual traveller, resumes contact here with ground abandoned by necessity and found again since, to which he also states his belonging.


1. Moshekwa Langa, quoted by Tracy Murinik, in “Moshekwa Langa”, Art Cities of the Future, London: Phaidon, 2012, p. 155.
2. Limpopo corresponded to the Bantustan of KwaNdebele,
a region created during the apartheid period, reserved for black populations and which enjoyed a certain autonomy.



Exhibitions




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About



Anaïs Lepage is an independent curator and writer based in Paris.

Trained in Art History at the École du Louvre, in Museum Studies at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), and in Curatorial Studies at the Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University, Lepage multiplies experiences in France and abroad. She started at the Maison Rouge - Foundation Antoine de Galbert in Paris, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal and, alongside Guillaume Désanges, at the Verrière - Hermès Foundation in Brussels. Then, she worked as assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chengdu, the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, and the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

 With a fondness for collective dynamics, she co-founded the HEIWATA curatorial platform, based in Paris, Mexico City and Toronto, and participates in the queer and feminist writing  workshop How to SupPRESS Universty Writing led by Émilie Noteris. She has collaborated with AICA International, CNEAI, the Palais de Tokyo and the Cité Internationale des arts in Paris. Since 2019, she is teaching exhibition curating at the Sorbonne University. 

Her research focuses on the excesses and secrets of art history in connection with sensitivities and spiritualities as well as postcolonial, gender and feminist studies. She is particularly attached to words, forms and gestures generated outside of rationalist thinking  : drawing on occult and mystical sources; or being inspired by affective flows, emotions and the sentimental life. Practices that often cross issues of resistance, struggle, healing, and ecosystems preservation.

Deploying a holistic conception of curating, she question the forms of writing about art by shifting critical, fictional and intimate narratives in collaborations, performances and podcasts.
 
Infuenced by radical pedagogies, she begins a research on the  emotional labor in her positions of curator, teacher, and art worker. 

She has developed a particular interest in the artistic scenes of the Americas and the Caribbean, Scandinavia and South Africa.

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Anaïs Lepage est commissaire d’exposition indépendante, historienne de l’art et autrice.

Formée en histoire de l’art à l’École du Louvre, en muséologie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal et en études curatoriales à l’Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, elle multiplie les expériences en France et à l’étranger. Elle débute à la Maison Rouge à Paris, au Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal et aux côtés de Guillaume Désanges à la Verrière – Fondation Hermès à Bruxelles. Elle s’investit ensuite en tant que commissaire assistante au Musée d’Art Contemporain de Chengdu en Chine, au Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, et à la Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Affectionnant les dynamiques collectives, elle a cofondé la plateforme curatoriale HEIWATA, basée entre Paris, Mexico et Toronto, et participe à l’atelier d’écriture queer et féministe How to SupPRESS Universty Writing mené par Émilie Noteris. Récemment, elle a collaboré avec l’AICA International, le CNEAI, le Palais de Tokyo et la Cité Internationale des arts à Paris. Depuis 2019, elle enseigne le commissariat d’exposition à l’Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Ses recherches portent sur les excès et les secrets de l’histoire de l’art en lien avec des sensibilités et des spiritualités ainsi que les études postcoloniales, de genre et féministes. Elle s’attache particulièrement aux mots, aux formes et aux gestes générés hors d’une pensée rationaliste : puisant dans des sources occultes et mystiques ; ou s’inspirant de flux affectifs, d’émotions et de la vie sentimentale. Des pratiques qui traversent souvent les questions de résistance, de lutte, de réparation, et de préservation des écosystèmes.

Déployant une conception holistique du commissariat, elle réfléchit également aux formes d’écritures sur l’art en déplaçant les registres critique, fictionnel et intime lors de collaborations, de performances et de créations radiophoniques.

Inspirée par les pédagogies radicales et engagées, elle commence une recherche sur le “travail émotionnel” à l'oeuvre dans les rôles de commissaire d'exposition, d'enseignante et de travailleuse de l’art.  

Au fil des rencontres et des projets, elle a développé un intérêt particulier pour les scènes artistiques des Amériques et des Caraïbes, Scandinave et d’Afrique du Sud.