Mediated Measures
Kapwani Kiwanga

curated by Simone Frangi

18 June - 19 July 2015

As the closing event of 2014-2015 program, Viafarini is pleased to present the first monographic show dedicated in Italy to the Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978 in Hamilton, Canada. Lives and works in Paris, France). Articulated as a hybrid regime of exploration in between social sciences and artistic practice, the research of Kiwanga predominantly embodies in mixed cultural territories, where previously separated domains of knowledge succeed in crossing each other. Thanks to systems and protocols which operate as prisms through which cultural instances can be observed, Kiwanga tests their ability to mutate and to modify themselves in the frame of the mutual meeting. Kiwanga’s theoretical training in the field of anthropology and comparative religions transmits to her research formats a particular tension in which artistic gestures generate thanks to the intersection of different temporalities, to the crossing of the immersion in the past and the projection in the future, to the de-hierarchisation of knowledge sources, to the invention of narratives and speculative fictions. The coincidence of heterogeneous registers – from academic research to popular culture – is the methodology that the artist employs in order to liberate the “knowledge production” from ambivalent prejudices around values, blurring the rigid separation between disciplines and knowledge registers. Films, installations and performances explore in alternate modalities the relationship between belief and rational knowledge trying to image diverse possibilities for materializing the invisible and intangible aspects of the magic and the supernatural. Drawing upon documentary modes of representation, material sources such as archives and photographic documents, scientific but also subjective proofs, Kiwanga structures a complex artistic practice full of imaginaries coming from Afrofuturism, colonial struggles and their memories, systems of religious faiths and vernacular culture.
The core of Kapwani Kiwanga’s Milanese project is the assumption of the haptic – touching, brushing against, squeezing – as minim procedure of relation with the urban contest: the fabric of the city of Milan – taken as the extreme edge of that economical hogback called Blue Banana and equally as the prototype of that European hallway from Manchester to Genoa - is measured using the body as a structure of mediation. This strategy, employed for reading the anonymity of the urbanity through the intimate subjectivity of the body, proceeds from a performative and ethnographic work on the environment assuming art handler white gloves as a device for recording and collecting the context. Hailing from a previous research on the manipulation of pesticide-treated “ethnical objects” in ethnographic European museum, the figure of the glove – surface and barrier between the body and the object – circulates in Kiwanga’s production as an analogy of the oscillation between fascination and cultural rejection. In the mist of the project at Viafarini, the glove recurs in its inverted signification, namely as an occasion of blemishing, spoiling and contaminate “purity”. Opening up to the intrinsic narrativity of materiality, Kiwanga amends the implicit authority of historical and urbanistic narratives with the aim of focusing through a set of installation works and a wall drawing on these “fugitive” layers of every day objects: fluxes, transient states and transitions where one can eventually detect evidences of the social and political belonging of the users.

Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978, Hamilton, Canada. Lives and works in Paris, France) studied Anthropology and Comparative Religions at McGill University (Canada). She attendes the postgraduate program “La Seine” at Ecole National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (France) and completed her training at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporais, Tourcoing (Francia). Kapwani Kiwanga was artist in residence at MU Foundation, Eindhoven (Netherlands) and at Le Manège, Dakar (Senegal); she was nominated twice at BAFTAs and exhibited internationnally: Centre Pompidou, Paris (France); Glasgow Centre of Contemporary Art, Glasgow (Scotland); Paris Photo, Paris (France); Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo, Almería (Spain); Art Catalyst, London (UK), Kassel Documentary Film Festival, Kassel (Germany), Kaleidoscope Arena, Rome (Italy), Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (U.A.E). Her recent and forthcoming exhibition project include: WIELS – Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels (Belgium); Bétonsalon, Paris (France); South London Gallery, London (UK); Jeu de Paume, Paris (France); Berlin Ethnographic Museum, Berlin (Germany), The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm (Sweden); Gallery Marian Goodman, Paris (France); Fondation Ricard, Paris (France), Salt, Istanbul (Turkey), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (Ireland), Tiwani Contemporary, London (UK), Tanja Wagner, Berlin (Germany).

WIth the contribution of Fondazione Cariplo and Gemmo spa.


last update 4-11-2015