Writing Art History Since 2002

First Title

Art South Africa Volume 12: Issue 02


ASA12.2 VB
Vitshois Bondo, Pure Consumption (detail), 2013. Mixed Media on canvas. Courtesy of Gallery MOMO.
Vitshois Bondo, a Congolese artist currently resident at Gallery Momo where he recently opened a solo show titled Rethinking the Future, shares a love for all things abrasive. When I visited his Momo studio I was struck by a floor thickly strewn with shredded Elle magazines; Doric columns of unopened shrink wrapped glossy wads at the ready. “Painting, sculpture, photography, and installation,” define Bondo’s force-field; his “belly full of objects of consumerism.” Once again, it’s making sense of excess that matters. Bondo: “I try to turn things my way; the concerns and hopes of my current reality. Seeking to experiment with the hybrid nature nof my artistic reality in search of a new and truly nomadic reality.” These are big ideas which provide a face, and a body, to Bondo’s weirdly morphed figures. Wangechi Mutu springs to mind, and with it the throwaway magazine culture with its airbrushed fantasies of beauty and luxury which the artist cuts up, a la David Bowie, producing a novel rethink and retooling of a glutted media-sphere. “My technique of using cuttings to compose figures, bodies, portraits and heads is a way for me to recreate the human body and construct a new society and to question the multiplicity of races and the various challenges arising from this multiplicity. The body is mutilated and chaotic, confronting us with the anarchic situation reflected in current political and socio-economic trends in Africa and worldwide.”… These words, surely, evoke a Francophone headspace, with all the giddy seductiveness of a mind plugged into the grand condition human so distasteful to a circumspect Anglophone mind. But Bondo does capture a drive in contemporary art that is committed to the big picture. As Neil Blomkamp, the director of District Nine, Elysium, and the forthcoming Chappie – starringh Ninja and Yo-landi Vi$$er – reminds us: “If you’re not somewhat political or observant, I’m not sure you’re an artist. I’m not actually sure what you’re doing.” Pro Die Antwoord’s “insanity,” Blomkamp’s hardedged moral vision is something Bondo shares. His paper trail is a clue to a conspiracy.
Ashraf Jamal is an editor, writer and academic – Media Studies, CPUT.

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