25 April - 14 June 2013


Tyaphaka and
other works

STEVENSON is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Nicholas Hlobo, his first at the Johannesburg space.

The exhibition will feature a whale-like sculpture made from rubber inner tubing and ribbon, titled Tyaphaka, and new works on canvas. Tyaphaka, a Xhosa term referring to a ball with water or an eye, was first shown on the 2012 Sydney Biennale. The piece was partially submerged in the Sydney harbour, exposed to the elements with algae and bird droppings an integral part of its anticipated weathering. Describing the work for the biennale, Hlobo wrote:

[Tyaphaka] is a play on the idea that things can be submerged or brought up from below the surface. The sculpture takes the form of a beached whale... [It] may not immediately resemble a whale; it probably looks more like an amoeba, and relates to the idea of a whale lying ashore. The tail of the sculpture will be on the slipway, submerged in the water, with part of it floating freely on the water a few metres away. Debris will drift in and out of the slipway with the tides, and at times cover and uncover parts of the sculpture. This in itself is a rich metaphor for surrender to the elements over which we have no control. This may be extended to our personal lives, and the lack of control we have over things and people coming in and out of our lives, like the tides, and the impact these elements have on our lives over time.

Hlobo's new works on canvas incorporate the artist's signature materials of ribbon, rubber and aluminium. Hlobo explains:

These paintings are focused on the embryonic stages of life, an incubation stage when the embryo is being formed. At this early period no specific gender can be identified - all that is readily discernible are the traces of veins. Referring continually to the notion of 'stitching one's identity', the viewer is enticed to ponder on the outcome - what form it will take/what self it will grow into? However no clues are offered - all aspects of identity are in darkness.

Hlobo was born in Cape Town in 1975, and lives in Johannesburg. He has a B Tech degree from the Wits Technikon, Johannesburg (2002). Solo exhibitions have taken place at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2011); in the Level 2 Gallery at Tate Modern, London (2008), and at the Boston ICA as part of the Momentum series (2008), among other institutions. In 2011 he showed newly commissioned work on ILLUMInations, the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale; his work also appeared in Venice on The World Belongs to You, works from the Pinault Collection at the Palazzo Grassi, and the Future Generation Art Prize exhibition at the Palazzo Papadopoli. Other notable group exhibitions include Touched, the Liverpool Biennial (2010); the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008); and Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2008). He was the Tollman Award winner for 2006, the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009, and the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11, working with Anish Kapoor as his mentor.

The exhibition opens on Thursday 25 April, from 6 to 8pm.

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.