Cape Town

18 January - 10 March 2018
Kemang Wa Lehulere
Here I am, a concrete man, throwing himself into abstraction

STEVENSON is pleased to present Here I am, a concrete man, throwing himself into abstraction, a solo exhibition by Kemang Wa Lehulere.

Using sculpture, installation and drawing, Wa Lehulere continues his questioning of historical narratives while exploring new formal possibilities.

In Here I am, a concrete man, throwing himself into abstraction, taken from a line in his father’s journal, Wa Lehulere expands his visual vocabulary. Wood is deconstructed and singed; metal is reconstituted and glass is weighted as the artist exploits familiar materials to create unexpected objects. 

This exploration of the movement from concretisation to the abstract hinges on refracting tensions rather than linear resolution. Wooden structures tethered to and bound by shoelaces reference the childhood game of catching birds, but the objects do not disguise their predatory nature even in their stillness. Both bird and catcher are evoked as the works offer multiple statements from a single utterance, suggesting both innocence and incarceration.

Glass bottles contain unreadable messages, and musical objects such as speakers and piano keys maintain the silence of unsung songs. In Here I am, a concrete man, throwing himself into abstraction Wa Lehulere foregrounds the poetics of the suspended and the implied, excavating the metaphoric fecundity of the unrealised gesture.

Wa Lehulere has recently won the Malcolm McLaren Award presented by Performa for his work I Cut My Skin to Liberate the Splinter. The prize is bestowed in recognition of artists who stage 'an innovative and thought-provoking performance' during the New York-based biennial. 

Here I am, a concrete man, throwing himself into abstraction is Wa Lehulere’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. 

The exhibition opens on Thursday 18 January, 6 to 8pm.

Wa Lehulere will give a walkabout of his exhibition on Friday 19 January at 10am. Entrance is free and all are welcome.