Phantasmagoria is a place

Elize Vossgatter
Phantasmagoria is a place, Oil paint and neon on canvas ,


Wycliffe Mundopa
Untitled, Oil on canvas ,

SEE LISTING Untitled (Daybreak- Langeberg) Triptych

Luke Kaplan
Untitled (Daybreak- Langeberg) Triptych, Black and white digital photograph on cotton rag , 50 x 70cm


Group Show
Scintilla, Invitation ,


Gordon Clark
Quentino II, Crystal Archive Print , 98 x 98cm


64 Wale Street, Cape Town, 8001


Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 – 17:00 | Saturday 10:00 – 14:00 | Closed Sunday, Monday and public holidays


Elize Vossgatter at Commune.1

Commune.1 presents ‘In the end, we're all to blame’, an exhibition of new paintings by Elize Vossgatter and a collaboration with Berlin-based performance artist Hilla Steinert.

Following an ongoing interrogation of the notions of the self and its relation to body politics, Vossgatter turns to examine different instances of collectives, groups, gatherings or crowds, through the metaphors of the stage and the staged. These include theatre performances, family snap-shots, school ceremonial photographs and other kinds of gatherings, sourced from social media and from the artists’ personal archive. Where her previously exhibited work considered the individuals’ unnatural relationship to the natural environment due to the superficial accumulations of persona, there is now a consideration of the psychology of the collective and of the pressures it places on the idea of individuality or selfhood. These observations are contextualized by the world that portraits exist in today: proliferating in impersonal digital spaces, easily accessed and obsessively ‘profile’ managed.

With these as starting points, the artist begins to undermine the authority of the stage and the idea of a cohesive performance. This is done by subverting the static audience-actor / photographer-subject relationship, and instead turning the viewer into a participant who is no longer detached and passive. The characters intend to disarm, poised in an outward gaze, yet also appear slippery and ghostly much like the oil and neon they are painted in. Vossgatter’s restless and demanding relationship with her medium, the irreverent use of any fluid material at hand in combination with traditional oil paints, renders surfaces that thin, congeal or glitter. It is in the handling of the paint and its formalities that Vossgatter speaks powerfully to the crises of coping with day-to-day living. At times figures on the verge of becoming identities in themselves, seem to suddenly wither or float away. Spaces that are meant to contain groups are undermined by a flurry of pure painterly marks that corrode depth. As we meet the gaze of anonymous figures, looking out from obliterated surroundings, we are reminded of an inner conflict between our own voice and the voice of others.

19 February 2015 - 26 March 2015

Wycliffe Mundopa at Commune.1

Commune.1 is pleased to present an exhibition of large-scale oil paintings by Zimbabwean painter Wycliffe Mundopa.
Combining personal iconography and allegorical imagery with harsh and gritty references to social reality, Mundopa’s paintings confront the issues facing marginalised groups in Harare’s underprivileged neighborhoods, specifically the plight of woman and children. He transforms the drab fruit carts and dusty streets of Mbare, Harare’s most populous and high-density area, into a sardonic and contorted fantasyland of vice and excess.
Where others may turn to realism to depict such harsh realities, Mundopa endeavors to create a new mythologised language for urban Zimbabwe and its fluctuating moral codes. Here we are seduced by the pageantry of emotionally charged tableaus and the characters they entertain: powerful fish and frog motifs mutate into nurses and prostitutes that are clad in satin stockings and African java prints. These aliases function as ancestral voices calling out to remember the value of each human life, before being drowned out by the overarching urge to succeed at all costs. In this way, his work presents an opportunity to see how painfully and vibrantly womens’ lives -whether they are the mother, prostitute, caregiver, breadwinner, the successful or the poor- reflect the conflicts of political agendas, tradition and shifts within contemporary life in Zimbabwe.

19 February 2015 - 26 March 2015

Luke Kaplan at Commune.1

Commune.1 is delighted to present Luke Kaplan’s first solo show at the gallery. ‘Refugium’ consists of analogue and digital photographs, a sculptural element and a video. Kaplan’s black and white film photography, processed and printed by hand, represents a meditative enquiry into the translated qualities of light. The process of natural light falling on the subject followed by darkroom manipulated light on silver paper is slowed down and interrupted, opening up a new moment of possibility.
Kaplan’s practice concerns itself with landscape and history, in particular how people, through interaction and through time, form an identity with the natural world in which they move. In ‘Refugium’, Kaplan imagines this relationship existing within a particular homeless man who unceasingly walked the roads of the Eastern and Western Cape. By following (and losing) the trail of this wanderer, by re-enacting and imagining his perception of things, Kaplan’s process is both performative and deeply empathetic. This method ultimately attempts to bridge the gap between photographer and subject, and in this case, a persistent class and comfort divide in Southern Africa, a place where histories, identities, and narratives are deeply connected to the natural landscape and, yet, where people live radically different lives. Seeking a shared visceral encounter with the world and by invoking certain archetypal orientations, Kaplan’s work fills these spaces with connection, discovery and a strong sense of presence:
Since I quickly lost the actual person I was investigating in the wide expanse of the country, I began to explore who he was by attempting to embody him – I walked backroads and rural stretches of highway through the South African landscape, sleeping out under bushes or rock shelters, wearing worn and tattered clothing, and eating the meagre rations each day allowed. I imagined this restless wanderer as something between an archetypal wildman or madman, and a desert prophet, and I described the world as I imagined it might appear to him. I photographed into the dusk, the liminal space between day and night, between him and me, and between the external world and a misty, internal landscape.' (Kaplan, 2014)

15 January 2015 - 07 February 2015

Group Show at Commune.1

Commune.1 is pleased to announce its end-of-year group show, 'Scintilla: An Alchemy Show'.
Practise-led and oriented towards intuitive connections, artwork can reveal an encounter with the scintilla in whichever form or guise it may take. Through the creative act, the artist-as-alchemist combines, transforms and creates to manifest aesthetic forms of discovery and magic. In 'Scintilla: An Alchemy Show', a selection of international and South African artists present inspired responses to this concept.
Lynette Bester
Justin Fiske
Jonathan Freemantle
Nicholas Hales
Rudi le Hane
Luke Kaplan
Nina Liebenberg
Jabulani Maseko
Mitchell Gilbert Messina
Bongani Njalo
Lauren Palte
Barbara Wildenboer & Michelle Provost
Gaelen Pinnock
Gabrielle Raaff
Chad Rossouw
Buhlebezwe Siwani
Marlene Steyn
Simeon Nelson & Moffat Takadiwa
Jo Voysey

06 November 2014 - 14 November 2014

Gordon Clark at Commune.1

Commune.1 is pleased to announce the upcoming solo exhibition titled 'Groot Geraak' by South African photographer and filmmaker Gordon Clark.

'Groot Geraak' (Became Big) examines the life of Quentino, a young boy growing up in Elsies River on the Cape Flats, an area that has been plagued by endemic gang violence. Quentino and his peers are photographed at various stages over a three-year period in an attempt to locate defining moments in their lives. Clark expresses a personal interest in these defining moments and their potential implications; here the individual is pitted against powerful collective agents. In areas where these agents have a strong presence, individual identity gives way to survival and the need to conform.

30 September 2014 - 30 September 2014