This episode is from a talk that I recorded at this year’s Investec Cape Town Art Fair, as part of their talks program curated by Tumelo Mosaka. Thanks so much to the organizers of the fair for allowing me to record this session and publish it on the Unframed platform. Enjoy this talk entitled ‘Artists in Dialogue: Kemang Wa Lehulere & François-Xavier Gbré’.
The discussion will explore how these artists conceive of their practice and engage the public.
MODERATOR: Lorenzo Fusi (Director/Curator Yerevan Biennial 2020, London)
François-Xavier Gbré (Artist, Abidjan)
Lorenzo Fusi is the Artistic Director and Curator of Yerevan Biennal 2020, hosted by Yerevan Biennal Art Foundation in Armenia. He is also the Artistic Director of PIAC (Prix International d’Art Contemporain) of the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. He was the Visiting Academic Curator at the Alberta College of Art + Design where he directed the Illingworth Kerr Gallery between 2016-2018. Previously, he was the Director of Open Eye Gallery, one of the oldest not-for-profit photography galleries in the UK. Prior to this appointment, Fusi was the International Curator at the Liverpool Biennial, for which he curated the 2010 and 2012 renditions, titled Touched and The Unexpected Guest. Between 2001 and 2009 he was the Chief Curator at Palazzo delle Papesse Contemporary Art Centre, then became the Contemporary Art Curator of the Santa Maria della Scala museum hub in Siena (Italy).
Kemang Wa Lehulere was born in Cape Town and received his BA Fine Arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He is considered to be one of the most important representatives of a new generation of South African artists, working in all media to develop new artistic perspectives and narrative form about his biography and the official history. Wa Lehulere explores the relevance of the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa by revisiting the experience of living under apartheid. He creates poignant images that are seldom literal or self-explanatory. Instead they require an element of deciphering, but can also be appreciated for their aesthetic beauty. He has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), the 2nd Triennial of the New Museum in New York (2012), and the 11th Biennale de Lyon (2011). In Cape Town he co-founded the Gugulective (2006), an artist-led collective and was also the founding member of the Center for Historical Reenactments in Johannesburg. He was jointly awarded the 15th Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel in 2013, was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Arts in 2015, and the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year in 2017. Recent solo shows include Gasworks, London; the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle.
François-Xavier Gbré was born in Lille, France. He lives and works between France and Abidjan, Ivory Coast. In touch with time and geography, his work summons the language of architecture as a witness of memory and social changes. From colonial vestiges to landscapes redefined by current events, he explores territories and revisits history. He uses different modes of expression such as installation linked to real investigation of territories, or the use of the architecture to make photography resonate physically to the viewer or the public space. Notably, his work is part of the collections of Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, USA), Tate Modern (London, UK), Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA), Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (Brisbane, Australia), Société Générale (Paris, France) and the Walther Collection (Neu-Ulm, Germany).
(text courtesy of Investec Cape Town Art Fair)