28th April - 29th May

Isabelle.D, Admire Kamudzengerere and Chris Soal

A selection from the galleries encounters.

Bubble’n’Squeak is pleased to present three solo exhibitions focusing on Africa: Isabelle D. presented by Gallery Nosco, Admire Kamudzengerere presented by Galleria Anna Marra and Chris Soal presented by Montoro12 Gallery.

Isabelle.D (b.1966 France) will present ‘D for Detail’, a solo presentation made from sculptural paintings. By applying abstraction with her ever growing archive of own female associated works, strictly using handcraft techniques based on netting, weaving, knotting, and cro-cheting, D establishes a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine feminine existence. She creates intense personal moments mas-terfully crafted by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination giving life and proposing a new sense to things in the world. Her sculptural paintings do not reference recognizable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way, she reflects on the closely related subjects of archive, memory and experience. This often results in an examination of both the human need for ‘conclusion’ and the question whether anecdotes ‘fictionalize’ history.

Admire Kamudzengerere’s (b. 1981, Zimbabwe) solo exhibition Ipapo Ipapo, curated by Alessandra Olivi, builds on his interest in psychological and political struggle, in telling simultaneously individual stories and the narratives of Zimbabwean society and nation. Literally, Ipapo Ipapo translates from local language Shona as ‘here, here’, or ‘right now, right now’, and it can be considered urban or ghetto slang used by the youth to signify Zimbabweans’ daily hustle for their next meal. This daily hustling to survive is nothing new to most Zimbabweans, who have been relying on an informal economy of street markets where they buy and sell to make ends meet. Caught up by the pandemic in his studio, Kamudzengerere has witnessed the effect of government restrictions, lockdown and police repression on the lives of his people, struggling between the threat of Covid or the risk of being arrested and the fear of hunger and not being able to provide for their families. Ipapo Ipapo speaks of the lives of ordinary heroes having to do extraordinary things to make a liv-ing, and explores poverty, unemployment and the challenges of today’s Zimbabwe, but also resilience, initia-tive and opportunity. The show reflects Kamudzengerere’s multidisciplinary practice, ranging from experi-mental printmaking techniques – including monotype, silkscreen and lithography – to paint-ing, sculpture, performance and video. Mostly being produced during the pandemic and lockdown in Zimba-bwe, the works – featuring arresting layering of textures and colours – are the artist’s testimony to his search for humanity within the current way of surviving, of connection within isolation.

Chris Soal (b. 1994, South Africa) is an award-winning, emerging artist living and working in Johannes-burg. For his first solo exhibition in Brussels, Chris Soal – Sleight and Substance, the artist has created an en-tirely new body of work, consisting predominantly of his signature style abstract wall sculptures made from unconventional found objects, such as toothpicks and/or bottle caps. Living and working in Johannesburg , a “city in tension” as Soal calls it, has had a great impact on his work, as it is “often about locating oneself in that space, both as a response and a critique.” Through the use of recycled material in conjunction with cement, rebar, tar and other industrial materials, Soal examines structural impacts on urban living and re-flects on the individual, the collective as well as ecological concerns. Chris Soal’s approach to sculpture re-veals a great sensitivity to material, texture and form, expressed in an abstract language. Conceptually, his works refer to the socio-political context of their production, highlighting the histories embedded in the ma-terial and utilizing them in a way that challenges societal assumptions of value. Thousands of single-use ob-jects take on a new identity and aesthetic as part of a collective: the works made of toothpicks sometimes take on the appearance of large cascading beings coated in soft fur–only to reveal their spiky surface seen up close. When set in cement, they recall plant growth defeating man-made structures. Thousands of beer bottle caps stitched together form visceral snakelike objects–once “trash,” they have transformed into ele-gant, “golden” sculptures. Soal’s work questions our perception and conjures notions of the individual’s place in society, sustainability and the power of nature. The carefully chosen titles add an intriguing after-thought to the concept of his works.

Isabelle D
Admire Kamudzengerere
Chris Soal