In Sibande’s practice as an artist, she employs the human form as a vehicle through painting and sculpture, to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context, but also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women in our society. The body, for Sibande, and particularly the skin, and clothing is the site where history is contested and where fantasies play out.  Centrally, she looks at the generational disempowerment of  the black woman and in this sense her work is informed by postcolonial theory, through her art making. In her work, the domestic setting acts as a stage where historical psycho-dramas play out. Sibande’s work also highlights how privileged ideals of beauty and femininity aspired to by black women discipline their body through rituals of imitation and reproduction. She inverts the social power indexed by Victorian costumes by reconfiguring it as a domestic worker’s “uniform” complexifying the colonial relationship between “slave” and “master” in a post-apartheid context.  The fabric used to produce uniforms for domestic workers is an instantly recognizable sight in domestic spaces in South Africa and by applying it to Victorian dress she attempts to make a comment about history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.

Pavilion of South Africa
Desire: Ideal Narratives in Contemporary South African Art
Exhibitors: Mary Sibande, Siemon Allen, Lyndi Sales
Commissioner: Lethole Mokoena
Curator: Thembinkosi Goniwe
Venue: Torre di Porta Nuova, Arsenale Nuovissimo
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FROGTOPIA.HONGKORNUCOPIA. Hong Kong at 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

The Hong Kong Arts Development Council (ADC) is pleased to announce “Frogtopia.Hongkornucopia”featuring the works of Hong Kong artist Kwok Mang-ho (a.k.a. Frog King) at the 54th Venice Biennale from June 4 to November 27 2011 under the curatorship of Benny Chia, Tsang Tak-ping and Wong Shun-kit in association with Hong Kong Fringe Club.

“Frogtopia.Hongkornucopia” uses “frog” as a symbol signifying the unique artistic style of Frog King. Through a countless number of mixed-media art works, Frog King intends to transform the whole exhibition space into “Frogtopia”, a space “taken over” by the artist with “a forest” of expending installation pieces. This inexhaustibility is in fact obviously tied in with another made-up word in the exhibition titled “Hongkornucopia”, which originates from “cornucopia”, a magical goat’s horn with an inexhaustible store of fruits and grains coming out of it.

The exhibition will be mainly divided into four sections: “9 Million+”, “Frog’s Nest”, “Yum-Dimension Installation” and “Frog-Fun-Lum Piazza”. In “9 Million+”, a vast number of Frog King’s calligraphy, collage, painting, photography, sculpture and video mixed-media works of art – both past and present – will be shown on screens embedded in the walls and columns. “Frog’s Nest” is a space resembling the artist’s own home, which is full of mementoes and symbols of his life. “Yum-Dimension Installation” is a jungle-like installation illustrating Frog King’s multi-dimensional spatial orientation, which directs the audience to experience the “Yum-Dimension” of space. “Frog-Fun-Lum Piazza” will be the stage of Frog King’s performance art where a festive atmosphere prevails as the artist shares the joy of artistic creation.

Frog King will also make daily forays into various parts of the city to work on his “Froggy Sunglasses Photography Project”, a signature piece of his art for more than 20 years. This is known as the One Second Performance and One Second Body Installation, during which the audience undergoes an instant character transformation to become part of the artwork, and experiences a genuine frisson of excitement in artistic creation.

Kwok Mang-ho (a.k.a. Frog King) is a multimedia artist who was born in China, grew up in Hong Kong, and experienced “Art Life” in New York for 15 years. Kwok has produced numerous performances, sculptures, paintings and installations at more than 3,000 arts events around the world since 1967. He received the Urban Council Fine Arts Awards for Sculpture and Mixed Media in 1975 and 1998, respectively, as well as the Yomoma Arts Group Award for The Best Community Arts Service from City Hall New York in 1987, the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Emeritus Fellowship in 1998, and the Documentaries of Chinese Performance Art from the Macao Museum of Art in 2005. His works are in local and overseas museum and private collections.

He created “9 Million Works” and “One Second Performance”, “Frog Fun Lum” and “Yum Dimension” into “Life is Frog, Art is Frog”.

The exhibition is organized by Hong Kong Arts Development Council and curated by Benny Chia, Tsang Tak-ping and Wong Shun-kit in association with Hong Kong Fringe Club.

Hong Kong

54th International Art exhibition

La Biennale di Venezia

Frogtopia.Hongkornucopia

Artist
Kwok Mang-ho (a.k.a. Frog King)

Chief Curator
Benny Chia

Curators
Tsang Tak-ping
Wong Shun-kit

Organiser
Hong Kong Arts Development Council

In association with
Hong Kong Fringe Club

www.venicebiennale.hk