For the 2018 Kabinett sector, Lehmann Maupin will present a carefully selected installation of works by South African artist Nicholas Hlobo. Comprised of recent sculpture and mixed media works on canvas, the presentation highlights Hlobo’s ability to merge his signature materials of ribbon, leather, canvas, and found objects, with conceptual specificity to address complex issues of identity. At the core of Hlobo’s practice is the exploration of his own identity, as he attempts to ascertain qualities that exist outside of codifying labels associated with gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. Language and narrative play both a formal and conceptual role in Hlobo’s work. As a member of the Xhosa people, Hlobo titles his work in the Xhosa language, imbuing each piece with a subtle personal narrative. Along with the artist’s use of his own native Xhosa language, visual innuendo plays a key role in Hlobo’s practice. Recurring imagery of phalluses, ovaries and other bodily forms engage the viewer in critical conversations about sexual identity, masculinity and ethnicity.
Hlobo was recently featured in an episode from Season 9 of Art21’s Art in the Twenty-First Century, and will have a solo exhibition at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, opening January 24, 2019.