Gallery Fanon and The Project Space present a solo exhibition by Keneilwe Mokoena, Untitled 1.0, Assemblages of Unknown Realities of a State of Mind.
In her new collection of analogue collages, Mokoena explores her fascination with and spiritual connection to the physics and mysteries of the natural world; she grapples with the meaning and significance of colours, shapes, and dimensions; and deals with the paradox of acknowledging that there are realities that exist within and around us that cannot be known.
This body of work is a continuation of her drawing practice. In many of her 2019 digital and multi-media collages, Mokoena combines her self-portrait with found images.
Her earlier drawings, intricate and detailed, were presented separately and individually. Her process for her 2020 collages combines her drawing practice.
Some collages feature drawings that she creates specifically to be part of those works. She focuses on the shapes that she cuts, the colours of the ink she uses to stain the paper, the thickness of the paper.
She is less reliant on found images, and with the freedom to “create the paper” for the collages, she has imagined and visually realised surreal environments, ranging from the vaguely familiar to the completely unknown.
There are intriguing contrasts and commonalities that flow throughout the collection. There are gentler works, depicting realities that are vaguely familiar. Intricate drawings, organic shapes, dynamic lines, and dispersed words of poetry are layered to create environments resembling underwater realms or small ecosystems; worlds that breathe and live in harmony.
Then there are some collages depicting unknown realities. Detached shapes, geometric and organic, occupy the same space, drifting amongst each other. Somehow there is a sense of harmony that is familiar.
Despite the strangeness of this otherworldly place, there are elements from our perceived reality that we may understand. Fragmented waves of topographical lines hovering in space suggest dimension; scattered dots defining congregations of shapes suggest communities and systems; and marked lines tracing unusual paths suggest developed or possible connections.
There are contrasts in the use of symmetry and cutting techniques, that imply a desire to arrange and control one’s state of mind.
Images of outer space and blue skies, spaces that are expansive and continuous, spaces that cannot be quantified or located, are cut with precision into discrete parts and assembled into geometric designs, and at times, the symmetry suggests a portal at the epicenter.
Fragments of blue skies make incisions on the surface of the moon. The image is incongruent, the space between us and the moon is only blue because we perceive it to be so, but this manipulation of light is the only lens we have.
We can access our internal through a limited knowledge and understanding of ourselves.
There are no words here, just space to wander from plane to plane of undefinable realms. There are images of the skies and oceans, torn apart and layered, with no gaps, leaving negative space in the centre.
Despite being reconnected, the tears in the ocean and the skies, in the unknowable realities, are visible and the gap cannot be closed. In the blank space we are abandoned in an emptiness where there is nothing to piece back together, only a nameless void, which could be
a peaceful space for refuge, or a terrifying domain to confront.
Opening: Sat 21 November 2020 at 10:00 – 18:00
Closing: 7 January 2020
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