16 Buiten Street
Cape Town 8001
Monday - Friday
9:00 - 17:00
9:00 - 13:00
Gallery MOMO is a contemporary art gallery with spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.The Gallery represents a growing number of international and locally based contemporary artists with a focus on African art and art from the diaspora, in addition to the estates of notable 20th century South African masters such as Dumile Feni and Durant Sihlali.
Since opening its doors in 2003, Gallery MOMO has developed a strong creative and intellectual platform for showcasing a substantial portfolio of South African, continental and international contemporary art. The Johannesburg gallery is known for its lectures, panel discussions and seminars, and hosts a residency program, which provides opportunities to collaborate with artists from around the world. In the Cape Town space, Gallery MOMO has adopted a focus on emerging artists, as well as video artworks.
Gallery MOMO takes part in international art fairs such as The Armory Show, EXPO Chicago, and 1:54. The gallery’s artists are frequently included in exhibitions, biennales and established private and public collections across the globe. These include, among others, the Venice Biennale, Dak’Art, Lyon Biennale, and Havana Biennale.
MOMO Cape Town is pleased to present Six of one and half a dozen of the other, its second solo exhibition with Angolan/Portuguese artist Pedro Pires.
This show is a continuation of Pires’s ongoing research into migration, nationality, and identity construction. Pires’s position as an Angolan-born, Portuguese-raised subject situates his national relationship in liminal space. ‘Belonging’ essentially to neither place raises questions that have to do with movement, history, and education.
What is nationality? What makes us belong to a place, a country, a space? What is it to be Angolan or Portuguese in a contemporary postcolonial (or neocolonial) context? To what extent are we shaped by our education, or our ability to transform ourselves? Pires engages with these issues not just in a personal context. His work deals with issues that parallel other realities in a world marked by imperialism, migration, and change.
The objects in this exhibition are thus seen as interventions into questions of identity. One of the central elements in the show is a set of jumpsuits, equipped with measurement and archival materials. One of the suits, for example, is built with eight microphones distributed at different points on the suit (hands, feet, head, body). When worn, the suit captures and records the soundscape of its location and moment. Another jumpsuit is equipped with cameras, one with pockets, one with mirrors, etc., each of them a site of engagement between artist and viewer. The costume highlights an identity which is worn or performed rather than solidified as figure or image. It’s more about what subjects we assume, or are made to assume, rather than who we are in essence.
The artwork becomes not a representational object, but rather a means of translation, transforming when confronted with ever-unravelling contexts. These jumpsuits are also self-conscious of their association with the idea of the ‘uniform’ and working class labour politics, both in a Southern African context and elsewhere.The drawings on show are the results of interventions on paper, where anthropomorphic shapes emerge from partially destroyed material, playing with concepts of destruction and re-construction. Bodies appear and disappear, paralleling the ways in which identity
is fashioned, negotiated, and remade.
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