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Magaola
Moshekwa Langa
Artwork 2009
Moshekwa Langa's photograph 'Magaola' depicts a soccer player.
Artwork: Moshekwa Langa, Magaola (2009). Photographic print. 133 x 92 cm. Courtesy of Jonathan Garnham.
Artist Moshekwa Langa Title Magaola Date 2009 Materials Photographic print Dimensions 133 x 92 cm Credit Courtesy of Jonathan Garnham

From Phokeng Tshepo Setai and Alexander Richards, the curators of Exhibition Match '22:

This work, Magoala, was captured when Langa started documenting football games, practices, and tournaments in Bakenburg, Limpopo. Its protagonist, the titular Magoala, moved to Johannesburg to pursue his dreams of being a football star: this portrait of him was purchased from the player by Langa, and speaks to dreams true and unfulfilled.

Asked for an adjective to describe his practice, Moshekwa Langa replies with fugitive. In medium, his work is disparate; in sensibility, inconstant and changeable. He moves across such mediums as installation, drawing, video and sculpture with easy fluency, his materials as various as string, paper bags, oil paint, words, photographs and found images. Like an anthropologist recording his surroundings in obscure maps, Langa’s practice is an exercise in visual note-taking. It is perhaps fugitive in that the artist’s attention is transitory, each work an index of a moment soon passed. In a text accompanying the exhibition Ellipsis (2016), the artist’s wandering mind is made evident: “Something broke in the description,” he writes, “and I am just leaving it here for the moment and I will open another topic because I am talking about many different things… There is a break because I get distracted – maybe it was sunny and then it started raining, and then suddenly, I do not know, something else happened.” His work is a gesture of time-keeping, a record of things come and gone. Langa’s maps may be illegible, unfinished, without compass, but they pose a curious visual question: how might one transcribe a life in all its routine complexity?

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