This limited offer consists of Siemon Allen’s Damaged Archive (Soweto) and Kemang Wa Lehulere’s Unknown Poem. These two prints, while in different media, are remarkable for their use of deep black. The black emphasises the lighter tones, but also suggests a void out of which knowledge and meaning are forced, precious and rare.
Siemon Allen has an unparalleled collection of South African audio documents, particularly of music recorded on vinyl. These records are photographed and live as a visual record of the collection. Damaged Archive (Soweto) is from a series of records that visibly show the effects of time, in this case a record by mbaqanga singer Mahlathini. The collection as an ongoing artwork suggests that there is value in the artefacts of the past, and knowledge of them offers us something in the present. The damaged archive offers up a different reading, emphasising the ephemeral nature of the past.
Kemang Wa Lehulere’s work takes a different tack regarding the fragility of the past. With an interest in the way collective history impacts the personal and present, Wa Lehulere investigates tragedy and the irreconcilable brutality of South African history. Notable in this work is his use of fragments of visual information (bodies, pencils, music notes), to build up a suggestion of these themes. But as the title implies, the whole is ultimately unknown and elusive.
Siemon Allen, Damaged Archive (Soweto)
Archival pigment ink on Hahnemühle German Etching paper
Image size: 51 x 51 cm
Paper size: 55 x 55 cm
Edition of 60
Siemon Allen (b. 1970) is based in Virginia, USA.
ArtThrob is proud to present this edition as one of the latest in the Portfolio 6 set, which includes Zanele Muholi, Dan Halter, and Pieter Hugo.
Allen works with the ephemera and artifacts from South African culture. His work often begins with in-depth research and extensive collection. Allen has collected almost every record pressed in South Africa, from which he produces large photographs. The ‘Damaged Archive’ series is an excerpt of his collection where records reveal the impact of time on their surfaces.
Kemang Wa Lehulere, Unknown Poem
Aquatint on Zerkall 250gsm
Size: 50.5 × 66 cm
Edition of 60
Kemang Wa Lehulere (b. 1984), is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
Kemang Wa Lehulere’s work is concerned with the intersection between personal biography and collective history, often rendered in materials that have open association to networks of ideas. This print Unknown Poem reveals some of Wa Lehulere’s recurring themes music, pencils and a poetic sense of tragedy.
Made with Zhané Warren of Warren Editions, this print is the result of multiple experiments and iterations in the print studio. The print is an aquatint, which has a similar look to chalk on black board while allowing for new kinds of mark-making.