Phumzile Khanyiles’ ‘Plastic Crowns’ at L’Interstice, Arles

After L’Interstices’ inaugural exhibition in June, featuring the Franco-American photographer Guillaume Zuili, their new exhibition showcases a different continent imaginary: a young female photographer born in South Africa and working in Johannesburg.

The ‘Plastic Crowns’ exhibition is part of L’Interstice’s desire to present a program to enhance the diversity of the chosen photographers’ practices and their cultural origins. It was born from a beautiful meeting made by Josette Sayers, first with the artist’s work at the 1-54 fair in London and then with Phumzile herself in Johannesburg, then in Cape Town, and all this thanks to AFRONOVA GALLERY during Josette Sayers’ stays in South Africa.

The very personal photographic investigation, ‘Plastic Crowns’, is a series of self-portraits through which Kanyile explores aspects of the life of a young woman in South Africa by breaking down social taboos and questioning sexual politics through evocations from her own experiences. These images read like a diary of informal snapshots made public. Their gritty aesthetic, characterized by harsh shadows, soft focus and lush textures, gives them a robust emotional quality, evoking a world full of possibilities and dangers and ambiguities.

The exhibition is on view at L’Interstice from the 6th of July until the 3rd of August 2021.