Meleko Mokgosi: Democratic Intuition

Meleko Mokgosi Gagosian Britannia Street

Gagosian presents Meleko Mokgosi’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom and Europe, drawn from his grand project Democratic Intuition (2013–20).

In works of sweeping scale and scope, Mokgosi applies the principles of cinematic montage to the conventions of history painting, editing together images of political and social propaganda, religious imagery, and advertising from southern Africa and the United States to produce layers of meaning both familiar and unfamiliar. Reconceptualizing where art history, postcolonial nationhood, and democracy intersect within an interdisciplinary critical framework, Mokgosi draws attention to the many ways in which Black subjects have become unattributed objects of empire and institution.

Democratic Intuition is an eight-part epic that includes multi-panel depictions of southern African life and folklore; its title is a nod to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s theory that the functioning of democracy is dependent upon accessible education. Mokgosi engages this concept and its internal contradictions through compelling genre scenes—often involving prominent figures from public life—that jump-cut between the confines of manual work, the freedoms of intellectual enterprise, and their ties to gender and race. A parade of finely drawn characters emerges out of raw canvas backgrounds, portraying the asymmetries of power that underscore traditional divisions of labor.

Duration 29 September 2020 - 12 December 2020
Times Tuesday–Saturday 10–6 by appointment
Cost Free
Venue Gagosian (Britannia Street)
Address 6-24 Britannia Street, London, WC1X 9JD
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