Gallery MOMO Johannesburg is proud to present its first solo show with Vivien Kohler.
“I am fascinated both by the ability of the human spirit to transcend ‘the conceptual decay’, and the unique liminality of the post-apartheid South African city. My works illuminate the contrasts of lived experiences by showing people mentally cocooned from, yet physically enveloped by, life’s detritus. I incorporate, cast, and paint discarded packaging material as a signifier of transience, migration, and displacement of people on the ‘periphery.’
My abstracted forms construct hope from despair, and possibility from arduousness. A simple, literal reading might see representations of the Johannesburg cityscape. However, at a deeper level, these works are psychological mind-spaces which, like the phenomenon of pareidolia, perceive specific, meaningful images in random, ambiguous visual patterns. These works thus become representations of the internal rather than the external.
Circumstances do not define individuals and communities where immense complexities and layers exist. From badlands, esteemed, revered, and adored individuals have bloomed. I am driven to restructure the residue, to find meaning within the chaos and build on the inherent positivity, optimism and history that emanate and flow from the cracks. These works are an explorative redefining of the identity of people in this place called home.
We are in a perpetual process of change, striving to transcend from deficiency to authenticity. At every stage we discover individuals we call ourselves – growing, changing, continually challenged. Like the chrysalis, we leave behind traces of who we once were as we change form from the old to the new. My works represent these chrysalised individuals as singular examples, each vital to whom we are – aspects of shifting personas gleaned over time.” – Vivien Kohler.