Banele Khoza is undoubtedly an emerging South African artist to watch; before he had even left university, the Tate panel in Africa had begun to acquire his work and at the age of 22 he holds multiple accolades, including being selected for Lizamore & Associates’ Johannes Stegmann Mentorship Programme, where he is currently under the guidance of Colbert Mashile. Khoza has just completed exhibiting work at the Turbine Art Fair and recently opened up his first solo-exhibition titled Temporary Feelings.
Temporary Feelings is a personal confessional, a diary left open to the audience, containing unfiltered observations of all the messy, confused, and distracted surges of desire and fear that humans emit between themselves. This exhibition pries open all the awkward dissonance of a hyper media-ted existence through a brazenly disproportioned and unedited amalgamation of digital-traditional techniques, refracting multiple ‘inappropriate’ colour associations and lines that cannot contain. We all get lonely but we’re not supposed to talk about it… this work offers up a body you can touch and lovingly unhinges these taboos of emotion and of vulnerable masculinity, in order to open a door that the complexity of a person could actually appear through. Unspectacular isolation is rendered remarkable through a subversion of superficial, representational humanity- with the collected articulations blushing in the gap between the immensity of what people feel and the constraints of what they’re ‘supposed to’ exhibit.
What happens to all the ambivalent, contradictory or non-cathartic emotions that accumulate and reverberate inside of someone intuitive? Temporary Feelings seems to scrawl a suggestion through all of the smudged and spectral recollections of subtle interactions, played-out through multiple gazes, simultaneously harbouring and rejecting clichés like ‘love at first sight’. Desire, as it relates to the lost or the unobtainable, seems to haunt Khoza’s work but this also seems to manifest in a palpable tenderness towards the carefully-unspoken longing of strangers. The audience is intimately submersed in the narrative as another removed observer, bustling between all the isolated darlings, and this radically dizzies the possibilities for clean perspectives, throws into question all the politics of inclusion and exclusion, of looking and being looked at; can it cut like a knife… can it burn… can you recognise?
If human interactions are replete with complex tensions, so is this exhibition; the empowering affirmation of fleeting emotions pulls against the way the work permanently archives and against the skeleton that remains long after it was meant to be buried… even ‘naïve cuteness’ stares out a question of what that regard could reveal in terms of interactive power dynamics. This terrain is an honest and emotive resistance to regulative impositions and it unembarrassedly logs-in a thousand times, in order to channel multiple influences through an entirely idiosyncratic aesthetic. Even if you’ve got your brave-face on, you’ll want to develop a relationship with this work.