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Exhibition 2 July–8 October 2022
Installation photograph from the ‘Customs’ exhibition in A4’s Gallery. Dor Guez’s vinyl work ‘Double Stitch’ features vinyl line drawings that stretch across the gallery floor and wall.
Artwork: Dor Guez, Double Stitch (2022). Vinyl. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.
Title Customs Dates 2 July–8 October 2022 Location Gallery Tagline An exhibition that asks: what is it that invites us to make use, and to be of use?
Curator Sumayya Vally Josh Ginsburg

Participating artists:
Dor Guez
Yoko Ono
Steve McQueen
Kapwani Kiwanga 
Igshaan Adams
Frida Orupabo
Ezrom Legae
Nolan Oswald Dennis
Nairy Baghramian
Binelde Hyrcan
Peter Clarke
Willem Boshoff 
Moshekwa Langa
George Hallett

Customs takes its cue from a series of photographs taken by Sumayya Vally in Saudi Arabia in 2021. The images record a number of roadside mosques of varying architectural structure and opacity, forming sacred and ceremonial space. Vally writes:

I became interested in how the community of itinerant users were encouraged, by the structures themselves, to read them and make use of them. They were infrastructures for gathering, and further, inherent in these same infrastructures were invitations to participate in their making and upkeep.

Customs wonders after practices of maintenance, both static and dynamic. What is it that invites us to use, and to be of use?

Accompanying the exhibition is a wayfinder offering reflections on the artworks as well as prompts for visitors to enact or consider as they interact with Customs. Included is an offering by Vally:

Hold the intention in mind, or utter the words, 'Here lies the boundary.' This is all you need to make any space a sacred one.

Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece (1966/2018), installed in the Reading Room as part of Customs, carries its own instructions from the artist for visitors to participate in ‘mending’ irreparably broken pieces of cups and saucers, making these anew.

Mend with wisdom
mend with love
mend your heart.
It will mend the earth
at the same time.

Installation photograph of Steve McQueen’s neon tube and acrylic paint sculpture ‘Remember Me,’ from the Customs exhibition in A4’s Gallery, that shows the phrase “remember me” described in neon tubing with the front covered over with acrylic paint and mounted on a white wall.
Artwork: Steve McQueen, Remember Me (2016). Acrylic paint on neon borosilicate tube. 12 x 51 x 3 cm. Private collection.
Event photograph from the opening of the Customs exhibition in A4’s Gallery that shows Yoko Ono’s installation ‘MEND PIECE, A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town version’ in A4’s ground-floor Reading Room. A close-up view shows participants constructing sculptural forms using ceramic fragments, twine, tape and scissors on a white table.
Opening: Customs curated by Sumayya Vally and Josh Ginsburg, July 2, 2022. Image courtesy of A4 Arts Foundation.