Kapwani Kiwanga

Noa Bronstein
Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto
February 24–July 23, 2023
Kapwani KiwangaRemediation, exhibition view, MOCA, Toronto, 2023.
© Kapwani Kiwanga, ADAGP, Paris / CARCC, Ottawa (2024)
Photo: Laura Findlay, courtesy of the artist & Galerie Poggi, Paris, Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin, & Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg, & London
Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto
February 24–July 23, 2023
[En anglais]
An abundance of suggestive materialities mark Kapwani Kiwanga’s solo exhibition Remediation at MOCA Toronto. These plentiful textures, surfaces, and elements are revealed in successive turns that are at once inviting and curious. Every installation on view is a world onto itself—telling of a contemplative exploration of material histories and their social effects—but all convey Kiwanga’s interest in the relationship between humans and their environments. The exhibition connects new, site-responsive works with existing projects and adaptations of ongoing installations that, together, point to Kiwanga’s expansive practice and continuing research into the divergent means by which flora and botanicals are concurrently exploited by industry and empire and engaged or reclaimed within acts of resistance and survival.  

The exhibition opens on the main floor of MOCA with Elliptical Field (2023), a large-scale textile consisting of a light-yellow furred wall in front of which are suspended two oval rings almost fully draped in the same thick, plush material. The rings’ coverings have been meticulously trimmed—one on a bias so as to expose the bottom of the ellipsoid and the other straight across at the top, creating an opening to peer through and beyond. Texturally, the forms beckon to be touched and felt, even caressed. The lure is tactile, but the purpose is narrative. Made of sisal from Agave sisalana fibre, Elliptical Field relates thelegacy of this specific plant and its relationship with Tanzania, the home of Kiwanga’spaternal family. Sisal is commonly used to make rope and twine and remains one of Tanzania’s major exports. Agave sisalana, however, is not native to Africa and was illegally transported to the continent from Central America by German plantation owners, who cultivated it in considerable quantity for personal gain.   

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