A Visual Activist
MUDEC - Until July 30th, 2023
The special selection of more than 60 black-and-white self-portraits, especially chosen for Mudec convey indelible messages.
The camera thus became for Muholi a weapon of denunciation and an instrument for salvation at the same time.
The beauty of the compositions and their absolute talent as artists are for Muholi only a means of affirming the need to exist, the dignity and respect to which every human being is entitled, regardless of their choice of partner or skin colour, and the gender with which they identify.
Their art tirelessly investigates topics such as racism, Eurocentrism, feminism, and sexual politics. Magnetic shots of social denunciation ranging from the very first self-portraits to the most recent works from Muholi’s constantly evolving a artistic project.
Muholi choose the setting and the light with meticulous and constant care each time, prepare the subject for the shot in a rigorous and obsessive manner, working on black and white colour contrasts, laying their body bare.
And, finally, the 'context' of the self-portraits: Muholi’s self-portraits are a “performance on stage”, involving a surreal and metaphorical use of simple everyday objects. Headdresses made of money, necklaces made of light cables, clothes pegs worn on the head and crowns made of tyres, pliers, and various cords interpreted as turbans and scarves: these objects are always used and worn on their body in strikingly beautiful poses that often recall - at first superficial glance - the fashion style of certain glossy fashion covers.
PHOTO: Muholi, Xiniwe at Cassilhaus - North Carolina, 2016 © Zanele Muholi