press release

Barriers – Contemporary South Africa with Igshaan Adams, Kudzanai Chiurai, Hannelie Coetzee, Nandipha Mntambo, Mary Sibande and James Webb

Barriers is the major exhibition at Wanås Konst this year. The exhibition brings together six artists working in South Africa, an active scene attracting young artists from many different countries. Through their choices of material, collaborations, and historical references, the artists make connections to the landscape and to Wanås as a site.

The title of the exhibition emphasizes border thinking. Barriers function to block, hinder and restrict—they are to be overcome, but they can also protect and safeguard. The exhibition presents a number of individual reflections in the form of newly produced artworks as well as a film trilogy (2011–13) by Kudzanai Chiurai. Points of departure include representations—voices, the human body and self-portraiture. Several of the contributors work with the presence of a person or figure. A sound installation by James Webb made up of various prayers becomes a portrait of the city of Malmö: we see no one, and must imagine the people to whom the voices belong. In Nandipha Mntambo's work a sculpture of a body shifts between form and architecture, while Igshaan Adams's black stone sculpture moves between abstraction and figuration. Hybrids occur and, as in fables, animals are ascribed human characteristics. A large-scale work by Hannelie Coetzee addresses the wild boar, an animal that embodies the challenges of co-existence. Mary Sibande presents a tableau vivant: a confrontational sculpture group of dogs and vultures surrounding a female commander based on the artist.

One of the traditional functions of portraiture is to make us remember and to reproduce external reality. In the exhibition the body is a recurring motif because of its expressive possibilities. In these artworks we are faced with the question: What place is the body? A human body is a site of conflict where boundaries are drawn.

The Sculpture Park and the collection
Wanås is a place where art, nature, and history meet. Today the Park hosts over 50 permanent works—specially created for Wanås by artists such as Ann Hamilton, Jenny Holzer, Tadashi Kawamata, Maya Lin, Yoko Ono, Srinivasa Prasad, Ann-Sofi Sidén and Robert Wilson. Wanås Konst is run by the Wanås Foundation. Marika Wachtmeister initiated the exhibitions in 1987. Since 2011 the Foundation is led by Elisabeth Millqvist, Director & Artistic Director, and Mattias Givell, Director & Head of Development.