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Press Release

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present new work by Meleko Mokgosi for Positions at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Exordium is the introductory part of a new multi-chapter work by Meleko Mokgosi entitled In essence, you can only describe the democratic intuition as other people’s children, not just yours. Exordium comprises four panels and will debut at the Honor Fraser Gallery booth at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2014 before traveling to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston for Mokgosi’s first one-person museum exhibition opening in April 2015. In essence, you can only describe the democratic intuition as other people’s children, not just yours. will manifest in multiple chapters: paintings that unfold over several panels and operate as independent works and in concert to convey Mokgosi’s larger conceptual framework. The title refers to a talk delivered by renowned philosopher Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Adapted by Mokgosi for his title, the passage alludes to the idealized possibility of previously unrecognized subjects gaining access to the mechanisms of the state and partaking in governance. Mokgosi emphasizes the idea of recognition as a practical relation to the self in a process that requires intersubjectivity.

Meleko Mokgosi’s large-scale paintings and drawings explore the political, emotional, and economic aspects of the legacies of colonialism in the region of southern Africa. Influenced by the formal aspects of film and the tradition of western history painting, Mokgosi articulates the incommensurable aspects of the post-colonial condition through an assemblage of moments and fragments that exceed traditional structures of authority, isolated from context in empty spaces that function like the cinematic pause. The particularity of Mokgosi’s narratives is a counterpoint to the metanarratives of nationalism. Mokgosi interrogates the implications of established histories and the historical narrative as concept, playing with notions of time and normative models for the inscription and transmission of history and disrupting traditional European notions of representation. Mokgosi offers different ways of understanding representation—epistemological, ideological, symbolic—undercutting traditional structures to posit alternate modes for understanding the contemporary world.

Meleko Mokgosi (b.1981, Botswana) earned a BA from Williams College (2007), completed the Independent Study Programs at Slade School of Fine Art, London (2006) and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2007), and received his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (2011). Mokgosi was an artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012) and was the inaugural recipient of the Mohn Award presented in conjunction with the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. 2012. His first one-person museum exhibition will be presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston in 2015. Mokgosi’s work has been featured in exhibitions such as the Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2013); Migrating Identities, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013); Primary Sources and The Bearden Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2012); Four Continents, Botswana National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana (2008); and Pool of Possibilities: Mapping Currents for the 3rd Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou, China (2008).

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