Only Sun in The Sky Knows How I Feel (A Lucid Dream) is a major exhibition of new works by South African artist Johannes Phokela, curated and organised by Zeitz MOCAA. This project marks almost a decade since Phokela’s last institutional show and includes a select survey of his oeuvre from the last three decades. The exhibition forms part of an ongoing series of in-depth, research-based solo exhibitions by the museum that brings into focus and contextualises the practices of important African artists.
The exhibition positions Phokela as a painter of significance in an African and international context and aims to provide new insights into the artist’s practice, process, thinking and intentions. The exhibition is organised around Phokela’s obsessive engagement with pictures – his concerns with pictorial traditions and images are tools to critique social mores and corrupt value systems in the aftermath of empire. The ideas that Phokela unrelentingly returns to are embedded in the meaning, power, and properties of images – how they circulate in the world, and more importantly, how they function in and are instrumentalised to affect historical narratives. His vision is of a world history drenched in the spoils of violence and his sardonic and, at times, nihilistic take on current affairs and the state of things holds up a mirror to society. Doing this through lushly painted surfaces and allegory, Phokela’s medium is not the message; his painting is a subversive tool in an intellectually rigorous practice that provokes the viewer.
Curated by: Koyo Kouoh and Storm Janse van Rensburg, with assistance by Curatorial Assistant Beata America
Date and time:
Thursday, 28 October 2021 – Sunday, 29 May 2022
10 am – 6 pm, Tuesday – Sunday
Listen to the Audio Guide for this exhibition below: