The artist re-works iconic images by European Old Masters. Referring to art historical reproductions, Phokela frequently transforms the gender and race of key figures in his original source material. The results are dramatic and unsettling images that challenge nationalistic and ethnic narratives around contemporary and historical art.
Johannes Phokela re-works iconic images by European Old Masters,
including Rubens, Bruegel, Jordaens and Jacob de Gheyn.
Referring to art historical reproductions, Phokela frequently transforms the gender and race of key figures in his original source material. The results are dramatic and unsettling images that challenge nationalistic and ethnic narratives around contemporary and historical art.
Phokela links these re interpretations of the Dutch Golden Age of painting with the development of the Enlightenment movement, and with the colonisation of the African continent. Whilst Phokelas work weaves a personal history into the canon of Dutch and Flemish old master painting, his practice stands as an examination of the violent actions of the Dutch in South Africa, as much as it is an inquiry into the history of painting.
inIVA and Cafe Gallery Projects present a new series of paintings by Phokela that develops this complex but rewarding set of procedures. A series of eight large-scale paintings, commissioned by inIVA, further examines the historic and socio-political context that Phokela engages in with such alacrity. Crucially, Phokela brings an extensive art historical knowledge and a playful sense of humour to bear on these powerful issues, which include (amongst other subjects) mortality, individual weakness and human vulnerability.
Johannes Phokela, b. 1966 in Soweto, South Africa, studied at FUBA, Johannesburg before moving to London to continue his studies, completing his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1993.
Recent exhibitions include Unpacking Europe (Rotterdam, 2001); EV+A (Irish Triennale, Limerick, 2001); Fixations, Art Exchange Gallery (solo, Nottingham, 2000); Routes (Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London); Trade Routes and History (Johannesburg Biennale, 1997).
preview: 14 May 2002; 6 to 9 pm
gallery open: 11 to 5 Wed to Sun, closed Mon and Tues
Johannes Phokela is an inIVA touring exhibition produced in collaboration with Cafe Gallery Projects, London. Johannes Phokela will tour to the South African National Gallery, Cape Town in 2003.
inIVA creates exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects. Each project is designed to bring the work of artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to the attention of the widest possible public. For more information please visit http://www.iniva.org
Johannes Phokela will be in conversation with Colin Wiggins about his recent work and his exhibition on Monday 20 May at 1pm at the National Gallery, in the Sainsbury Wing Theatre. Admission free. Enquiries: telephone 020 7747 2885.
For more press information or images please contact:
Cafe Gallery Projects: Malcolm Jones (Press) on 020 7237 1230
inIVA: Stuart Croft (inIVA Press) or Natasha Anderson (inIVA Marketing): 020 7729 9616 email@example.com
Access: Cafe Gallery Projects gallery is fully accessible to people with disabilities
Travel: Tube: Canada Water on the Jubilee and East London Lines. Buses: 1, 47, 188, 199, 395, P13, 381
CAFE GALLERY PROJECTS
Southwark Park, London SE16 2UA