14 February 2024
Participating: Motlhoki Nono
Motlhoki, recipient of the Ernest Cole Award 2023, embarked on her collaboration with David Krut Workshop in July 2023 following a prestigious 3-month residency with the Leipzig International Art Programme (LIA) in Leipzig, Germany in 2022 titled African Leipzig. She was one of nine interdisciplinary artists from South Africa who completed the residency which included a printmaking component and a travelling body of work which was shown at Arts on Main in collaboration with LIA, The Centre for the Less Good Idea and David Krut Projects in April 2023.
Set to unfold in just a month, this exhibition, titled Kissing Studies serves as a profound reflection on the performance of the kiss, delving into the nuanced questions surrounding the constructions of romance. The artist confronts the ‘ideal object of love’, by rendering gentle forms of black lovers’ image near and within romance. In this playful series exploring black people speaking in tongues, Motlhoki aims to unravel the complex tapestry of love while scrutinising the historic representation of black characters across diverse romantic narratives.
Collaborating with DKW printer Sbongiseni Khulu, Motlhoki started her experimentation with oil-based monotypes, but swiftly evolved to encompass the realms of pronto lithography, hardground etching, and most notably, softground etching. The latter proved to be the most effective medium for her latest body of work. Motlhoki invites her black collaborators to imprint a kiss onto the softground of an etching plate and asks them to respond like an eager lover.
Motlhoki undertakes the responsibility of portraying her subjects as active agents and central protagonists within romantic narratives. Each print represents an intimate portrait and contribution towards an archive of black romantic representations, capturing the essence of love in a tangible and interactive form.