By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
He is probably South Africa’s foremost visual art export to the world. Based mainly in the Netherlands, but a regular participant in some of the world’s prestigious and art fairs and biennales Moshekwa. Langa looms large on the contemporary art landscape.
Travelling regularly between Amsterdam and Johannesburg to exhibit his body of work, Langa currently has an online exhibition titled Sanctuary, which are works on paper, with his gallery Stevenson Gallery, which has physical presence in both Johannesburg and Cape, his current exhibition is quintessential Langa. His combination of figurative and abstract paintings by way of style is by now legendary.
But as is always the case with his practice, Langa’s current body of work on exhibition is quite complex abstraction as he deals with several ideas such as a sense of place and time. This body of work is not the type that you can view and pass in a hurry. You need to take your time to fully absorb and try to get into the artists’s imagination for you to fully grasp the complexity in this body of work.
Sanctuary, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Moshekwa Langa.
Titled after places such as The homestead and The orchard, and moments in time including Midnight and Sundaze, these paintings mark a new chapter for Langa of grappling with familiarity and estrangement.
Continuing his process of self-chronicling, the works in Sanctuary were created between 2020 and 2021 as the artist moved from transitional spaces into a permanent home-studio in the city of Amsterdam. Over decades of journeying between Bakenberg, Paris, Johannesburg and Amsterdam, Langa has observed the complexities of negotiating a fugitive self and the elusiveness of both alienation and anchoring. Sanctuary brings to focus how the works themselves are the artist’s respite, with each mark functioning to create a ‘mental space’ that offers the means to process loss, repossession and the creation of a personal archive.