Nicholas Hlobo


6 May - 4 June 2010

Brodie/Stevenson is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Nicholas Hlobo, comprising new works on canvas.

Any traditional notions of ‘painting’ technique are soon discarded as we encounter surfaces that have been slashed and then delicately stitched with ribbon and rubber, pockets of swollen canvas about to burst open, and ghostly allusions to real-world objects and spaces that seem to collapse in on themselves under the weight of imagined space.

The artist has made the following comments on this new body of work:

The notion of pathways is carried out through this work. The lines that suggest these paths are drawn on a white sterile surface that I read as a landscape, or as skin. The lines bring with them energies that fertilise the landscape, resulting in certain areas swelling up as if impregnated by higher forces from faraway universes. The bulging areas are almost synonymous with skin trying to deal with ailments that have taken over. The skin of these objects also has to do with the space that exists somewhere deep in the core of one's soul or imagination where everything moves with freedom that cannot be easily understood. Everything in this space is held tightly together and yet allowed to roam free.

One of the new works is titled ‘Icephe ifolokhwe ne bhoso yi five Pounds ten, isitulo samaNgesi sihlal' iBhulukazi...’, which translates as ‘A spoon, a fork and a knife is £5.10, on an English chair now sits an Afrikaner woman’, and draws its title from a children’s game popular in the Eastern Cape in the early 1980s, where kids would sing this rhyme while running around chasing each other. I believe its origins have to do with the end of the Anglo-Boer war. The work is also inspired by this game of seating and change in authority. The title is an introduction to 'Umvundla nesitulo', a story I have written about a bunny and a chair, which has as its central image the notion of searching or moving through landscape. In telling this story one would chant: 'Kwathi kekaloku ngantsomi, kwakukho umvundla nesitulo'

Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town in 1975, and has a B Tech degree from the Wits Technikon (2002); he lives in Johannesburg. He was the Standard Bank Young Artist for 2009 with a solo exhibition touring South Africa until August 2010. In 2008 he had a solo exhibition, Uhambo, in the Level 2 Gallery at Tate Modern, London, and showed at the Boston ICA as part of the Momentum series of emerging artists. He has been selected for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial. Other recent group exhibitions include Dada South? at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2009); Beauty and Pleasure in South African Contemporary Art at the Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2009); Gender, (Trans) Gender and (De) Gendered, a special project of the Havana Biennale, Cuba (2009); Mythologies at Haunch of Venison, London (2009); the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); and Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2008).

The exhibition will open on Thursday 6 May 6-8pm. The gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday, 10.30am to 5.30pm, and Saturday from 9.30am to 3pm.