Mohau Modisakeng


Mohau Modisakeng uses his body to explore the influence of South Africa’s violent history on how we understand our cultural, political and social roles as human beings. Represented through film, large-scale photographic prints, installations and performance, Modisakeng’s work responds to the history of the black body within the (South) African context, which is inseparably  intertwined with the violence of the Apartheid era and the early 1990s. His images are not direct representations of violence, but powerful yet poetic invocations where the body is transformed into a poignant marker of collective memory.

Mohau Modisakeng was born in Soweto in 1986 and lives and works between Johannesburg and Cape Town. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 2009 and worked towards his Masters degree at the same institution. Modisakeng recently performed at the Sharjah Biennale 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber in 2019.  His work has also been exhibited at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town (2017); PERFORMA17, New York (2017); Tyburn Gallery, London (2016); IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2014); Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); and the Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2012). Public Collections include the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and Museum +  Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), Pizzuti Collection Ohio, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, the From Cobra to Contemporary Collection, EKARD Collection, Dommering collection, and Zeitz MOCAA.

Modisakeng has been awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art in 2016. As part of a two-person exhibition, Modisakeng also represented South Africa at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2020 'Frames' Series, KUNSTRAUM INNSBRUCK, Austria
Passage, Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden
Passage, Oakland Museum of California, California
Mohau Modisakeng, Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv
A Promised Land, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York
2019 Bagamoyo, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
2018 KIN, Sabrina Amrani, Madrid
Passage, Spencer Museum of Art Kansas
2017 Zion, PERFORMA17, New York
Passage - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Lefa la Ntate, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery,University of the Free State
Lefa la Ntate, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg
Lefa la Ntate, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
2016 Mohau Modisakeng, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Saint Louis, Missouri
ENDABENI, Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam
Bophirima, Tyburn Gallery, London
Lefe La Ntate, Monument Gallery, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
Lefa La Ntate, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Lefa La Ntate, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, Port Elizabeth
Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, Laumeier Sculpture Park, St Louis, USA
2015 Mohau Modisakeng, Big Pond Artworks, Munich, Germany
Ke Kgomo Ya Moshate, Kunstrum, Innsbruck
2014 Mohau Modisakeng, Chavonnes Battery Museum, Cape Town (in partnership with Zeitz MOCAA)
Ditaola, BRUNDYN+, Cape Town
Loop Barcelona, Hotel Catalonia Ramblas, Barcelona
2013 Inzilo, Video Art Powered by Samsung Special Project, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
2012 VOLTA NY, BRUNDYN +, New York
Untitled, A solo exhibition in recognition of his Sasol New Signatures Award for 2011, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
Sera, Master of Fine Art Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town
2010 Ibutho, Side Gallery, Stevenson, Gallery, Cape Town
2009 Ugufa Unezindaba’, Graduate Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town

Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 Uncertain Horizons, Wäinö Aaltonen museum of Art (WAM), Turku, Finland
Africa State of Mind, Les Recontres De La Photographie, Arles, France
Gandur Art Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland
Possible Worlds, Mérignac Photo, France
2020 What remains is tomorrow, Apartheid Museum, South Africa
Galerie Ron Mandos, Group presentation with Esiri Erheriene-Essi, Kendell Geers and Remy Jungerman, The Armory Show 2020, New York, NY, USA
101 Collecting Conversations: Signature Works of a Century, Javett Art Centre, South Africa
UBUNTU: The Harry David Art Collection, National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, Greece
Of Beauty, Blackness & Power, Arendt House, Luxembourg.
2019 O Rio dos Navegantes, Museu de Arte do Rio - MAR, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Embodiment (African Art as Philosophy), BOZAR, Brussels
Death Worlds, Click Festival, Denmark
21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil | Imagined Communities, Sesc 24 de Maio, São Paulo
From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-Face Picasso, Past and Present, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)
Land of Zanj, Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (SB14)
2018 More Aphrike, M Bassy, Hamburg
Ex Africa, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rio De Jeneiro
Continental Drift from Blak to Blac, Cairns Art Gallery, Queensland
Hohenrausch (Thrill of Heights) - The Other Shore, Ok Centre for Contemporary Art, Lintz Upper Austria
In Their Own Form; Contemporary Photography and Afro Futurism, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago
2017 EX AFRICA, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, São Paulo Rio de Janeiro
The 57th Venice Biennale - The South African Pavilion, Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, Venice
Le Jour Qui Vient, Galerie des Galeries, Paris
Another Antipodes Exhibition: Urban Axis, PS Art Space, Fremantle WA, Australia
2016 Lagos Photo Festival, Lagos, Nigeria
Negative Space - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
After the Thrill is Gone, Gwen Frostic School of Art, Michigan
When Tomorrow Comes, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg / Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town
62nd International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Germany
Fünf Seen Film Festival, Starnberg, Germany
Re(as)sisting Narratives, Framer Framed, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Prefer Life, Reydan Weiss Collection, The Weserburg, Bremen, Germany
2015 AFIRIperFOMA, Lagos, Nigeria.
NIROX Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox Foundation, Johannesburg
2015 Joburg Art Fair - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
La Fabrique De L'Homme Moderne, in resonance with Lyon Biennale, La Fabric, Solomon Foundation for Contemporary Art, Annecy
DIS/PLACE, MoCADA, Brooklyn, New York
Foreign Bodies - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Broken English, Tyburn Gallery, London
What Remains is Tomorrow, South African Pavilion, Venice Bienniale
2014 Loop Art Fair, Silencio Club, Paris
!Kauru 2014: Rerouting Dialogue 1994- 2014, UNISA Gallery, Pretoria
START Art Fair, BRUNDYN+, Saatchi Gallery, London
Art Against the Wall: An Artist Response to Civil Wars, Gallery 72, Atlanta, Georgia
Brave New World…20 Years of Democracy, IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town
GIPCA Live Art Festival, City Hall, Cape Town
FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN +, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
Fearless Renewal, MC Theatre, Amsterdam
Performing Portraiture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Here Today, The Old Sorting Office, London
Anyway, the Wind Blows, BRUNDYN +, Cape Town
2013 Am I not a Man and a Brother? Am I not a Woman and a Sister, James Harris Gallery, Seattle
FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN +, Johannesburg
Ceci n’est pas une Summer Show, BRUNDYN+, Cape Town
Biennale Internationa d’Art Contemporain (BIAC), Fort de France, Martinique
Personal and Political, 21c Museum, Louisville, Kentucky
2012 NEWSFEED: Anonymity & Social Media in African Revolutions and Beyond, MoCADA, New York
Material Representation, BRUNDYN +, Cape Town
FNB Joburg Art Fair, BRUNDYN +, Johannesburg
Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar
Uneveness Exhibition, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
Out of Focus: Photography, Saatchi Gallery, London
Exuberance Project Exhibition, Mandela Rhodes Gallery, Cape Town
2011 Implemented Environments, BRUNDYN+, Cape Town
Business Day, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg
Focus 11, Basel
2010 A RE FANON, with Lerato Bereng, Blank Projects, Cape Town

Permanent Collections

Gandur Art Foundation , Geneva, Switzerland
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), Cape Town, South Africa
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Saatchi Gallery, London, England
21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, US
University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria, South Africa New Church Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
Scheryn  Art Collection
Wendy Fisher Art Collection
Emile Stipp Art Collection
Manuel de Santaren Salsali Private Museum
The Ekard Collection

Selected Publications

2016     Mohau Modisakeng

2014     Ditaola