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Zawelela ngale - Large solo exhibition featuring Nicholas Hlobo opens 25 February 2017

Pressmeddelande   •   Feb 17, 2017 16:50 CET

Uppsala Art Museum proudly present for the first time in Sweden, one of South Africa’s leading artists Nicholas Hlobo (b. 1975) from Johannesburg. Nicholas Hlobo would translate the isiXhosa phrase Zawelela ngale as “They have crossed to the other side” and by this he describes the performative act of transgressing, crossing a border, or things that have transcended onto another state. Site specific amorphous sculptures and textile drawings are the artist signatures. Of particular interest to the artist is the symbolic impact of the stitch as binding together and penetrating a surface. Hlobo has consciously chosen embroidery as a way to draw on paper or canvas. The thread and stitch map and measure, while at the same time expressing a visceral world joined with earthly textures. The show lasts between February 25 th – May 14th 2017 and will include earlier artworks of importance combined with newly produced pieces.

- By this exhibition the Museum will continue to introduce internationally established artist to a Swedish audience. Hlobos large scale site specific anamorphous sculptures have impressed the audiences at several biennales and museums, in the show we will be able to show examples of this, says Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson, curator Uppsala Art Museum.

Interviews with Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson curator Uppsala Art Museum, by appointment. Nicholas Hlobo will be available for interviews at Uppsala Art Museum February 24-25th .

Holobos´ artistic practices has its roots in the abstract avant-garde such as the cuts by Lucio Fontana or the drip paintings by Jackson Pollock. In the collages ribbons and yarns contribute to paintings in the expanded field. As a sculptor and performance artist Hlobo sometimes animates the works. It becomes extensions of the body or clothings, it hides and discloses. There is a resonance to the work by Eva Hesse and her way of exploring textures and materials such as rubber. Likewise the method of balancing bodily density and airiness is linked to the work of Anish Kapoor, mentor of Hlobo. Rubber inner tubes meet light fabrics and satin in a nonverbal queering of traditional spheres. Expressions in fashion and folklore handicraft merge with the politics of black skin. Like the fold, the works of Hlobo could be interpreted on many levels, from personal narratives to the history of South Africa or general existential themes of being and nature itself.

Curator: Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson, Uppsala Art Museum.

Nicholas Hlobo´s long career of international projects and solo shows includes those at Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design in Oslo (2011), Locust Projects in Miami (2013), and Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague (2016). He is represented in collections including Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, SFMOMA, Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon, amongst others. In 2011 Hlobo showed newly commissioned work on ILLUMInations, the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. He was also included in the biennales in Liverpool, 2010 and Sydney, 2012 and the Guangzhou Triennial, 2008. Hlobo was the first recipient of the Villa Extraordinary Award for Sculpture in 2016. He was the Tollman Award winner 2006, the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009, and the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11, working with Anish Kapoor as his mentor. Hlobo is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York and Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.



Saturday February 25th Opening: 12.0016.00
Inauguration 14.00 Opening Speech by Mrs Faith Doreen Radebe, the Ambassador of South Africa in Sweden. The artist is present.

Thursday March 30 th 18.00-19.00
Lecture: Nicholas Hlobo - Working in Post-Apartheid South Africa, Kerryn Greenberg
, Curator (International Art), Tate Modern, London. In 2007 Greenberg curated the first solo exhibition of Nicholas Hlobo in London. Since Uhambo at Tate Modern she has led Tate's initiatives to collect and present modern and contemporary African art.

Thursday April 20 th 17.00­–18.30
Seminar: Social movements, gender equality and identities in contemporary South Africa. Elina Oinas, Professor in Sociology, Helsinki University and Miles Rutendo Tanhira Founder / Editor of Queerstion Media. Moderator: Jesper Bjarnesen, Senior researcher, the Nordic Africa Institute.In collaboration with the Nordic Africa Institute.

Thursday April 20 th 19.00–20.00
Concert: Lamine Cissokho: Kora +1
Iiris Viljanen, Lisa Långbacka Eriksson and Emil Skogh. In collaboration with Uppsala Konsert & Kongress.

Friday, Saturday May 12-13 th
Revolve Performance Art Days
. Zawelela ngale will be central in the program of the festival. Performance artists: Leif Holmstrand, Essi Kausalainen, Gustaf Broms & Nigel Rolfe etc.

Uppsala Art Museum is very grateful to the support by collectors, such as Ekard collection, Ki Collections, Norlinda and José Lima Collection and the generous collaboration with Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and the artist himself and the exchange with Lehman-Maupin. Gratitude’s to all collaboration partners such as the Nordic Africa Institute and Eva-Marie Bloom Ström, PhD African Languages, University of Gothenburg. 

Press contact

Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson,curator, Uppsala Art Museum, +46 (0)18 727 24 84,

Eva Björkman, press officer, Uppsala konstmuseum, +46 (0)18 727 24 80,

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