CTAF 2015

gauteng listings

1876 (On the Penny-Farthing)

Samson Kambalu
1876 (On the Penny-Farthing), 2012. Digital video, colour .

'Sepia Rain'

Samson Kambalu at STEVENSON in Johannesburg

STEVENSON is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Samson Kambalu, a Malawi-born artist now based in London.

Kambalu's 'Sepia Rain' is a series of short films, each no more than a minute, shot during his travels in Europe where he has made England his home. The films, which he calls 'Psychogeographical Nyau Cinema', are based on spontaneous site-specific performances. Inspired by the Gule Wamkulu (the Great Play) which has been celebrated by the Chewa in the masquerade culture of his country of birth, Kambalu approaches film making as an occasion for critical thought and sovereign activities - quirky, playful and often transgressive acts aimed at expressing a radical subjectivity with which the artist regards the world. Nyau cinema employs the medium of film and the psychology and geography of urban areas and their vicinities as catalysts for dramatic self-transformation where the self is playfully reconceived as part of a larger scheme of things, transcending the limitations and conventions of everyday life. 'Nyau' is a Chewa word for 'excess'.

Sepia Rain presents Kambalu's filmic self-reconceptions within social, political, economic, and scientific phenomena of the wider world in an age of globalisation. In these works the artist draws on references from early film-making experiments, catastrophic histories of the 20th Century, questions of the environment, technology, and modern art.

Last year Kambalu wrote the ten rules of Nyau:

Nyau Cinema: Ten Rules
1. Nyau film must be conceived as a clip no longer than a minute.
2. Performance should be spontaneous and site/specific to found architecture, landscape, or object.
3. There must always be a conversation between performance and the medium of film.
5. Costume must be from everyday life.
6. Acting must be subtle but otherworldly, transgressive, and playful.
7. Editing must be limited to the aesthetics of primitive film and silent cinema.
8. Audio must be used sparingly, otherwise it must be performed live at film screenings.
9. Screening of a Nyau film must be in specially designed cinema booths or improvised cinema installations that complement the spirit of the films.
10. Nyau cinema must encourage active participation from audience.
- Samson Kambalu 26.8.13

18 September - 31 October


also showing

Mame-Diarra Niang, Détail du mur #3
Mame Diarra Niang

Mame-Diarra Niang, Détail du mur #3, 2014; Inkjet pigment print

'At The Wall'

Mame Diarra Niang

STEVENSON is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by French-Ivorian-Senegalese photographer Mame-Diarra Niang, her first at the gallery.

'At The Wall' was realised while driving in a taxi through Dakar. The artist did not stop to take the photographs; as such, the images suggest a sense of constant movement. In her views, there is an unexpected silence and spaciousness in a city known for its bustle; she sees it emptied, a series of walls and buildings with a barely discernible human presence. Her images are abstracted to the point that they are unrecognizable as Dakar; the fabric of the city is paradoxically not the subject of the series. Niang has an acute sensibility for the balance of forms; her eye is attuned to the many possibilities of creating illusions. Framing a terrace through an angled perspective or playing with the optical perception of a building, she turns the city's architecture into a language to express her personal concerns.

The artist's complex relationship with a place that is deeply part of her history and yet does not offer her a sense of home is palpable; she seems to move in a void, following the same wall through the city, as if looking for a thread, a sign, an encounter, and maybe a connection. One could say that the subject of the series is the search, the pilgrimage to gain answers on the future and the past alike. The encounter with the wall offers a surface where her desires and fears are projected. As in any encounter with a reflective experience, the answer ultimately lies with the pilgrim.





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