Galerie Hans Mayer is pleased to present “EXCHANGE”, a group show featuring works by eleven contemporary artists that are all in some way connected to the African continent, and who have chosen distinct ways to pursue their artistic message. “EXCHANGE” stands not only for an exchange of ideas, knowledge or methods, but also for the concrete exchange between South African gallery Stevenson and Galerie Hans Mayer. The exhibition will show a combination of oil paintings (Zander Blom, Ian Grose and Deborah Poynton), mixed media works on paper/canvas/wood (Moshekwa Langa, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Odili Donald Odita and Portia Zvavahera), photographic works (Zanele Muholi, Robin Rhode and Viviane Sassen) and sculpture (Wim Botha).
One can say that the show is the outcome of an encounter with gallery Stevenson at Art Basel 2012, where our gallery was introduced to the work of Odili Donald Odita, Ernest Mancoba and Zander Blom. At that time, we were especially thrilled by Blom’s work and hence our first solo-exhibition showing his work was conducted in April 2015. The show was very well received by our audience, which made us think about other possibilities of promoting exchange between contemporary artists with roots in the African continent and our local art scene.
Since 2012, we have seen the Stevenson booths at many art fairs and were able to visit their Cape Town and Johannesburg gallery, so we have become familiar with their program. When we visited the gallery’s website early this year during their summer (“Schema”) show, we were convinced that such a combination of works and artists would be an important exhibition to do in Duesseldorf, an art-driven city with its long art history, its famous art academy, museums, Kunsthalle/Kunstverein and private collections. There is no interest in conveying a political message by doing this show, since this was never the intention of our gallery’s program. Nevertheless, there is a strong wish to create a platform for at least some of the artists we were lucky enough to get to know through our relationship with Stevenson and about whom we feel strong.
Besides our first solo show with Zander Blom 2015, our gallery has no connection to the South African - nor any other African contemporary art scene. However, by conveying this group-exhibition we want to build that bridge and make it clear that there is a strong feeling and interest towards intercontinental artistic exchange.