From my review of “Momentum 11: Nicholas Hlobo” at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art:
The South African artist Nicholas Hlobo quietly walked into the hallway at the Institute of Contemporary Art, sat down in a corner on a nest of curry bush, and put on a black headdress or crown that was connected by braided cords to plant-like suction-cup-looking things clinging to the walls. The July 29 performance, “Thoba, utsale umnxeba” (in Hlobo’s native Xhosa language it means “to lower oneself and make a call,” or, as the wall text described it, a “gesture of respect and diplomacy”), was part of his new exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. “It’s about the idea of communication,” Hlobo says of his act when I telephone the next day. “I was trying to make some sense of the space and the idea of the space, the museum, the gallery, the location of the museum, the culture — the culture is almost foreign to me.”Read the rest here.
“Momentum 11: Nicholas Hlobo,” Institute of Contemporary Art, 100 Northern Ave., Boston, July 30 to Oct. 26, 2008.
Pictured: Hlobo performing “Thoba, utsale umnxeba” and his sculpture “Umphanda ongazaliyo,” 2008, rubber, ribbon, zippers, leather, steel and organza. The performance photos are by The New England Journal of Hlobo Research. The sculpture photo is by John Kennard and courtesy of the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town.