Nokukhanya Langa’s debut exhibition delves into the world of modern media and internet culture while breaking the rules of traditional painting. Langa’s never-ending Hypnotic multi-coloured spirals and infinite gradients portray her interest in the loss of the image, and by extension, of reality. Langa noting: “I see paintings as a laptop that has a lot of tabs open: one painting can be really quiet, or loud, or eccentric, and still all come together in one collection”. A playful reconfiguration of her own kaleidoscopic internal clutter, Langa’s work often features elements of childlike playfulness, personal histories, cultural undertones, allegories, fairy-tales, and tongue-in-cheek humour.
Born in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, and now based in Ghent, Belgium, Langa has grown up living between the United States, India, South Africa, The Netherlands, and Belgium. Her art practice reconciles the pluralities of her personal story, mixed cultural heritage, and lived experiences; all coming together to form part of her large-scale paintings, filled with vibrant imagery in a stream-of-consciousness style.
Unlearning the rigidity of her training in traditional oil painting, she plays with abstract motifs; colour, swirls, and other fluid shapes work in unison with more recognisable motifs like text and signs. Shifting back and forth between figuration and abstraction, the result is an agile use of approachable jargon and aesthetics that convey the more subtle, and incendiary subtext of the works in a kind of hallucinatory reality. This body of works builds on the selection presented at the Melly Museum in Rotterdam earlier in 2022.