WHATIFTHEWORLD was founded in 2008 and is now situated in a decommissioned synagogue in Woodstock, which forms part of Cape Town’s recent renewal of Edwardian industria. Originally the gallery identified a group of young contemporary Southern African artists whose practice was underpinned by both global and local contemporary art movements. These artists have, to a large degree, gone on to transform the South African art landscape. Using their social and personal identities they have twisted the previous generation’s resistance and conceptual based practice into something beyond merely protest conceptualism, embracing both materiality and humour.
The gallery now finds itself in the process of not only continuing to represent these established artists but is now beginning to nurture its second generation of young African based artists by supporting their professional development. WHATIFTHEWORLD has a strong history in the area of publishing, having published numerous catalogues as well as artist monographs, and has hosted a series of noteworthy solo and group exhibitions. It regularly participates in international art fairs including Frieze New York and VOLTA in Basel, Switzerland. Gallery artists have exhibited in major exhibitions and biennials including the 55th Venice Biennial; The Havana Biennial; Guangzhou Triennial Guangzhou, China; Le Biennial de Dakar, Senegal as well as group exhibitions hosted at prestigious venues such at the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC; SFMOMA San Francisco and MOMA, New York.