Internal Probes, a solo exhibition by Pebofatso Mokoena
Opening 27 February 2020 at 6pm at 142 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood
David Krut Projects is pleased to present Internal Probes, a solo exhibition by Pebofatso Mokoena, comprising new unique mixed media works made using silkscreen, drawing and collage; editioned works; and large-scale painting. The exhibition will run from 27 February until 4 April 2020
If you have ever been in the Joburg CBD on a Friday afternoon at 5pm, this exhibition will feel familiar to you. At that time of day, every person in the city seems to be on their way somewhere. Within the frenzy of vehicles and bodies, unfettered chaos is the overriding force. Whatever rules may exist to manage the orderly movement of people and vehicles give way to flux. All moving parts are directed by responses – individual and as a group – to the apparent ungovernability of the street-level commotion.
Mokoena is a public transport user and, therefore, is privy to a certain understanding of the movement of people from one locus of activity to the next – from the suburban centres where many people live, focused on a more domestic reality, to the urban hubs where people work, shop, and otherwise play out their civil lives, and all the points in between. In this body of work, Mokoena has drawn on both experience and research to develop a visual language that taps into different aspects of moving between these places.
From the perspective of viewer experience, Mokoena’s body of work mimics the mental experience of urban environments and modes of movement that are seemingly unstable, and the associated, unavoidable sense of claustrophobia and confusion. Density is a key formal feature of this body of work, and is visually achieved by both abstract and figurative elements, as well as technical decisions relating to colour and medium. Many of the works have been created on sheets of paper that were first screen-printed with a deep, dark blue, providing a dense field of colour on which to build. The use of drawing and the collage of both drawn and screen-printed elements allows Mokoena to layer vast amounts of information within each work. Each work within the exhibition presents a complex view of the transportation of people, and the lines along which they travel, are permitted to travel, or have access to.
A key recurring element is the illustration of a slave ship, turned space ship – a diagram showing how to pack as many people into a small space, logistically not dissimilar to packing people into a taxi to get the maximum fare. Mokoena’s visual language contains numerous and compound signifiers of people as bits of information in a system, defined by the data generated by their habits of consumption. Consumption, in turn, is dictated by systems of information and accessibility – where are people able to move, shop, live, and why? – which ultimately allows consumption-related data to be regarded as a high-value commodity.
Each work is an environment in itself, and the exhibition has been installed in a way that mimics the pandemonium of the city, with moments of peace breaking the tension throughout. Similarly, when moving through the city – or through life – one is ultimately navigating from one safe place to the next. Despite the pervading sense that personal agency is forfeited within all these layered systems, there is an upshot to chaos: if environments are in flux, it may possible to influence them in order to suit one’s needs for personal growth, regardless of issues of accessibility.
Please join us for the opening of the exhibition on 27th of February 2020 at 6pm