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Umnka Lothe

Nicholas Hlobo

South Africa

(installation view by Filipe Branquinho)

21 Jun 2013 – 29 Sep 2013

Jardim Gulbenkian

Free admission

Following a visit to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Garden, Nicholas Hlobo drafted a proposal for an installation due to be located alongside its lake. The work draws on ecclesiastical references drawn from the bible: Eve and the curse of maternity (the mother giving birth); the wife of Lot, transformed into a statue of sale, and the Garden of Eden. (…) Water plays a very important role here in conveying a message of creation as it represents the source of life.”

Umnka Lothe finally ended up as a purpose designed piece especially conceived for the Garden. From the original idea through to the final result, there is an entire process of maturing that, when known, aids us in understanding the object and its framework within this landscape. « (…) I took a decision to fuse them so that they give an idea of mating or trying to consume one another. The rubber was meant to be free standing from the metal figure. That was to suggest that idea of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. When looking at that during the process of creating this body of work, it somehow sounded lacking of something. Then, the thought sprang to mind that they should become co-joined in order to suggest notions of intimacy or some sort of wrestling as opposed to having the two forms just standing side by side as if they are waiting for a whistle to be blown. I took them to the stage where they have taken some action and charged into/onto one another. This is to give the story line some motion instead of having them frozen in a rather stationary stance. The title Umnka' Lothe translates as Lott's wife.»

Nicholas Hlobo

NICHOLAS HLOBO (South Africa, 1975)

He was born in Cape Town in 1975, and lives in Johannesburg. He has a B Tech degree from the Wits Technikon, Johannesburg (2002). Solo exhibitions have taken place at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (2011); in the Level 2 Gallery at Tate Modern, London (2008), and at the Boston ICA as part of the “Momentum series” (2008), among other institutions. Notable group exhibitions include the 18th Biennale of Sydney, “all our relations” (2012), La Triennale – “Intense Proximity”, at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012),”ILLUMInations”, the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2011), “The World Belongs to You”, Palazzo Grassi (2011), “Touched”, the Liverpool Biennial (2010), the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008) and “Flow” at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2008). He was the Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11, working with Anish Kapoor as his Mentor.