Hamburger Kunsthalle

Baloise Art Prize 2013 - Kemang Wa Lehulere

15 May - 29 Jun 2014

© Kemang Wa Lehulere
Negotiation 1.1, 2014
Ink on paper
57 x 76, cm
Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Baloise Art Prize 2013
A Conversation with a Homeless Piece of Grass
15 May – 29 June 2014

Curated by: Dr. Petra Roettig

On 15 May 2014, the Baloise Group donated a group of drawings by Kemang Wa Lehulere to the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The South African artist is the recipient of the 15th Baloise Art Prize which was awarded to him last year at Art Basel by the Basler Versicherungs-Gruppe. Every year since 1999, the Baloise Group has awarded the Baloise Art Prize of CHF 30,000 each to two young artists chosen by an international jury. The Baloise Group also acquires the artworks of both award winners and donates them to two prominent European museums. In 2014, the German artist Jenni Tischer (b. 1979) and the South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere (b. 1984) were chosen. The Hamburger Kunsthalle has received a group of his drawings which will be exhibited until the end of June in the Saal der Meisterzeichnung. The Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation in Vienna will receive an installation by Jenni Tischer.

Kemang Wa Lehulere is one of the most important exponents of the younger generation of artists in South Africa. In his drawings, murals, videos, performances and installations, he deals with the contradictions of individual biography and collective history in South Africa. His interest focuses on the question of the archiving and uncovering, but, at the same time, the suppressing and erasing of memory in text and images: What fades into oblivion? Which experiences endure? Since 2006, he has collaborated with the artists' collective Gugulective and since 2010 with the Center for Historical Reenactment in Johannesburg, of which he is a co-founder.

Entitled A Conversation with a Homeless Piece of Grass, Kemang Wa Lehulere is exhibiting a group of drawings directly connected to a planned film project. The exhibition is centred around the story of a South African journalist, Nat Nakasa (1937-1965), who committed suicide in New York after being denied re-entry to South Africa. In memory of Nakasa, Wa Lehulere took a piece of grass back to Johannesburg from Ferncliff Cemetery in New York, where the journalist is buried. The title of the exhibition refers to that "return of a homeless man". The series of small-scale drawings partly resemble storyboards for the planned film with suggestions of stage designs or specifications for the movie set. In part, the large-scale drawings relate directly to the title of the exhibition and reveal the piece of grass adorned with a flag (Heart to Heart 1.1.).

Kemang Wa Lehulere (b. 1984 in Cape Town, South Africa) lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied art at the University of the Witwatersrand. In April 2014, Kemang Wa Lehulere won the International Tiberius Art Award Dresden. His works were most recently shown at the exhibition My Joburg, Kunstszene Johannesburg at the Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau in Dresden (2013), the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) and the group exhibition The Ungovernables at the New Museum in New York (2012). At present, his installation The grave step is being shown at the 8th Berlin Biennale of Contemporary Art.

This year's jury includes: Manuel Borja-Villel, Director Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Eric Decelle, Collection Eric Decelle, Brussels; Karola Kraus, Director, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Petra Roettig, Director, Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; and Martin Schwander, Fine Art Advisor of Baloise, Chairman of the jury.

Tags: Karola Kraus, Karola Kraus, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Jenni Tischer