Current exhibitions

Manual by Michele Mathison

8 October - 15 November 2014

Dagga Boy, 2014, Steel, enamel and cast concrete, 146 x 276 x 54 cm

WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to present Manual a new exhibition of sculpture by Michele Mathison.

Zimbabwean artist Michele Mathison makes sculptures that seem to drag Modernism’s idealism through the mud of contemporary reality. In the process, Mathison’s works themselves become mini-monuments to a new understanding of both the brutality and integrity of labour. A hybrid of Constructivism’s notions and Futurism’s repetitious movement, works become a profusion of forms and gestures, a distilled concentration of frantic movements from all directions culminating in a single point.

The position of Mathison’s studio in downtown Johannesburg, near the hostels and informal settlements populated by large numbers of his fellow countrymen, economic refugees from a floundering revolution, informs his approach. He speaks of an interest in physical work, of manual labour, as the exhibition title suggests. His work draws parallels between the necessity experienced by many of having to earn their wages by working with their hands, and his own process of production, which requires a similar form of manual work. In this sense, his body of work sets up an interesting solidarity between cultural work and industrial labour, but one that is perhaps less dewy-eyed than the Socialist tradition of terming artists ‘cultural workers’. The dream of liberation and empowerment through labour is, in the work of Mathison, given the lie, and shown to be a fallacy that both Zimbabwe’s abortive Socialism and South Africa’s rampant Capitalism need rather urgently to surrender.

Click here to read the full text and artist biography

New Work by Lakin Ogunbanwo

8 October - 15 November 2014

Untitled (Pink Towel), 2014, Archival ink-jet print on cotton rag, 84 x 56.6 cm, Edition of 10

WHATIFTHEWORLD is pleased to introduce Lakin Ogunbanwo, a dynamic new contributor to our gallery programme.

Working at the confluence of fashion photography and classical portraiture, young Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo creates enigmatic portraits with an erotic and subversive undertone. His subjects exist defiantly in the frame often masked by shadow, drapery and foliage. His use of vibrant flat colour and bold compositions form a more minimalist homage to the african studio photography popular in the 1960s and 70’s.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1987, Lakin Ogunbanwo studied Law at Babcock University in Nigeria and Buckingham University in England, before beginning work as a fashion photographer in 2012. His work has been featured in The Times New York, ID online, British GQ and Riposte Magazine. Recent exhibitions include Lagos photo festival, Art 14 in London and a solo exhibition at the Rooke & van Wyk Gallery in Johannesburg. This is Ogunbanwo’s first exhibition with WHATIFTHEWORLD.

Click here to read the full text and artist biography