A Different Now is Close Enough to Exhale on You is a group exhibition spread between Goodman Gallery's Johannesburg and Cape Town sites and the Umhlabathi Collective. It features work by 20 artists and has been guest-curated by Yaounde-born, Berlin-based curator and writer Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
The show explores the systems and relationships of power, extraction and exploitation. It looks at the ways in which this has played out in history, and today. While doing so the works also highlight the histories of resilience and community that exist in spite of these forms of oppression.
With works looking at climate change, conquest and spatial histories the exhibition looks at how the exploitation of people and nature are intertwined. By bringing together artists from multiple geographies Ndikung creates a map of the unstable nature of existence as a result of the colonial project.
The project also looks at how art is a space in which solidarity can take place and seeks to locate art's position as a form of resistance and a way to undo the effects of systemic erasure.
Much of the work is on show at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg but it also extends to Umhlabathi Collective which is located in the old Market Photo Workshop (2 Helen Joseph St, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2000). This satellite show is titled Downtown Theory: Degrees of comparison, and features photographs by members of the collective. The photographs wrestle with questions about what it means to live in the now while haunted by ghosts of the past.
"I wanted to bring together artists whose works I have deeply admired, especially because their works are framed between the polarities of poeticality and politicality. What they all have in common is an ability to approach some of the most sensitive sociopolitical issues with prudence, profundity, and in solidarity, while still possessing a strong aesthetic bearing." – Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung.
Exhibition opens Tue, Nov 22 at Umhlabathi Collective and Wed, Nov 23 at Goodman Gallery.