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Moshekwa Langa
The Sweets of Sin
November 12 - December 18, 2021
Opening Reception: Friday, November 12, 6 - 8pm

Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to announce Moshekwa Langa’s first exhibition with the gallery, and the artist’s first exhibition in New York. Langa’s exhibition at the gallery expands on a project presented as part of Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, curated by Thierry Leviez, earlier this fall.

Moshekwa Langa’s indexical practice spans drawing, installation, video, and photography, utilizing materials culled from his immediate surroundings to record his own personal histories and reflections. Informed by his upbringing in a rural apartheid-era “Homeland” not included on the maps he encountered in his youth, Langa actively traces his own autobiography in his work, connecting significant people, and places in his life as a foundation to reflect on physical and psychological borders. Combining seemingly heterogeneous materials - such as lacquer, coffee, images, found papers, and more, Langa’s poetic and meditative works seek to create visualizations of feelings and events, while also recording the ephemeral marks and actions that occur in the process of their making. 

Titled The Sweets of Sin, a quotation from James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, Langa’s exhibition at the gallery reflects an impulse to eschew a chronological retelling of history, and instead conflate the past and present through a meandering between frames and periods. New large scale works collaged onto canvas collectively titled Ingwe Mabala-bala (the title of a popular song, which translates to "the spotted colored leopard" in Nguni languages) cull images from a print media collected during Langa’s trips between South Africa, Paris, and Amsterdam, where he has been based for the past decade. Enlarged fragments of advertisements positing miracle cures to both real and imagined life events, from loss and love, to encounters with ghosts and spirits, reflecting the intertwining of evangelist traditions, and alternative psychological philosophies within South Africa. Torn, and overlaid with Langa’s own interventions, as well as the addition of historical material, the works examine the popularization of these beliefs through the lens of migration and segregation, as well as his personal relationship to these histories. 

Cartographical marks, left behind by bottles and cans used to adhere materials to the surface, scatter the works surfaces, and continue onto new abstract works on paper. Created through a meditative process of layering, and experimentation, disparate materials, and marks coalesce to form nearly spectral compositions that represent everyday experiences. Part of a project of reclaiming, and creating a personal archive, this impulse is mirrored in a large-scale installation that forms a constellation across the gallery floor. Composed of lit lamps, books, records, toys, and other objects, the installations’ parts are then connected by lines of colored thread, creating a network of interconnected elements. 

Moshekwa Langa (b. 1975 in Bakenberg, Limpopo, South Africa) lives and works in Amsterdam. Past solo exhibitions of Langa’s work have been presented at venues that include Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, Modern Art Oxford, United Kingdom, The Renaissance Society, Chicago, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, among others. In 2018, Langa’s work was included in We Don’t Need Another Hero, 10th Berlin Biennale, Germany, and The Red Hour, The 13th Dakar Biennale, Senegal. Langa additionally participated in the 2011 Lyon Biennale, the 2010 and 1998 editions of the Bienal de São Paulo, the 2009 and 2003 editions of the Venice Biennale, and the 1997 Johannesburg Biennale, curated by Okwui Enwezor.