Slow Look: ‘Noir’ (2013), Mouna Karray

#MOCAASlowLook is an opportunity to take a moment and look a little deeper at selected artworks exhibited at Zeitz MOCAA.

This month, we focus on Tunisian-born artist Mouna Karray’s series of photographs titled Noir (2013). In the series, we see a figure, staged in a photographic studio, constrained in a white sheet, evoking a feeling of unease.

There is a sense of restriction as the concealed form struggles for liberation while a fist appears to break through this tension. This clenched hand represents the potential power of creativity within repressed spaces.

Inside the fist, is the shutter release of a camera that looks like a grenade, a symbol often seen during protests.

The shutter release could thus be suggestive of violence, but also agency and a will toward liberation.

The shrouded figure is hidden from observation and surveillance. However, its photography, a self-captured frame, becomes the memory of its existence.

As Storm Janse Van Rensburg, Senior Curator at Zeitz MOCAA, puts it: “The artist makes visible that which is invisible, that which is shrouded.”

The Noir series can be seen in the group exhibition Two Together. Hear more of Janse Van Rensburg’s thoughts about Karray’s series here.