The idea that the curator exists in museums, galleries and cultural institutions and that museums exist in fixed physical spaces is currently in turmoil. Earlier this year, the New New Wight opened – an online only exhibition space. This perceptibly millennial idea was conceived of by the UCLA Department of Art to free the exhibition space from the limitations of the material world.
MOAD has also entered the debate surrounding the gallery and traditional confines by questioning the idea of the “expert curator”. The museum, located in Johannesburg’s Maboneng precinct, invited aspiring curators, creatives and novices alike to put together an exhibition using artworks from the Life Collection – all from behind their computer screens.
The works available to select from are all part of the 12 Decades Hotel’s Life Collection, which included artworks by local artists Haroon Gunn-Salie, James Webb and Buntu Fihla. The Curate Life Competition proposed that if you are a part of a culture then you are qualified to contribute to the arrangement of its artefacts.
The winner, Ntabiseng Mokoena, proposed an exhibition entitled We See (in) the Dark. Mokoena’s exhibition provides the viewer with the opportunity to focus on the grotesque, sinister aspects of our society and ourselves and to gain clarity by choosing to see the darkness. We See (in) the Dark was inspired by Buntu Fihla’s photographic exhibition Isizathu esihle singafihla ububi. Fihla's exhibition draws attention to the negative impact and insincere justification of Bantustans that were concealed in positive rhetoric created by Afrikaner nationalists.
Mokoena, a chartered accountant by profession, was granted the museum's project space to install her exhibition and has received an internship at the SABC Art Collection.
We See (in) the Dark is showing at the Museum of African Design until 20 September 2015.