Live Virtual Auction, 15 February 2020
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About this Item
Collage has been central to Langa’s practice since he first achieved prominence in the late 1990s. Celebrated as a “radical scavenger,”1 this lot is typical of his enigmatic approach to working with found images. Presented on a paper ground that has been intensively worked over, the lot additionally features various paper panels pasted over a large drawn figure. Some are blank, while others feature constructed and found images. The pell-mell orchestration of these images resembles an inner-city street wall littered with flyers. The relationship between the various images is opaque.
Commenting on Langa’s method in his collages, critic Tracy Murinik writes: “The requirement is not to find iconic images, but rather to progressively establish an image field in which he can locate himself. From magazines, newspapers, songs, movies, mail-order catalogues, popular everyday stimuli, Langa draws and develops his archive: images of black people are reconstituted into surrogate portraits of childhood and family. They become referential of his personal history, like snapshots.”2
In 2017, Langa described his method as an artist as “quite fugitive,” further stating of his way of working, “I do not start with anything concrete, nor aim at making a defining statement, but merely allude to forms as a means of record-keeping”.3
1. Hamza Walker (2002) ‘Moshekwa Langa: The Global Village Revisited’ in Moshekwa Langa, Chicago and Geneve: The Renaissance Society. Unpaginated.
2. Tracy Murinik (2003) ‘Artist always on tour’, in Moshekwa Langa, Cape Town: South African National Gallery. Page 18.
3. Moshekwa Langa (2017) Press release for exhibition Fugitive, Johannesburg: Stevenson: https://www.stevenson.info/exhibition/2245
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Moshekwa Langa: Ramokone, 25 August to 22 September 2012.
Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Other People’s Memories, 28 January to 26 February 2015.