DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Kira Kemper


Colonnade Parade : various fabrics, batting and foam, performance, 10x1x1 m, 2013, courtesy de l’artiste.

Colonnade Parade is one in a series of performance that combines sculpture. It directly references the highly structured and colonial space of the Company’s Gardens in Cape Town where wedding photographs are taken. This garden reflects classical and neo-classical architecture that was favoured by colonial English settlers in the Cape. The notion of the English garden in Africa was fundamentally an attempt to control, tame, and dominate the so-imagined exotic African landscape. Wearing this elongated, distorted, upside down column, the performer attempts to soften the power and masculinity associated with the Company’s Garden. She slowly walked along the axial avenue, much like a wedding procession, and posed for photographs like a bride. This shiny extravagant costume captured the attention of many passers-by and encouraged photographic exchanges. The various public exchanges with this costume were interesting to witness. Many people immediately recognized the costume as some sort of wedding garb, while others wrote it off as useless. Kemper’s aim is to capture the idea of the strolling observer of the nineteenth century in this colonial space. When in a gallery space, the costume functions as a sculpture and as a residue of performance.

Kira Kemper was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1988. She completed her undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from WITS University in 2010. Kira went on to receive her Masters degree in Fine Arts, with distinction, from Michaelis Art School in Cape Town in 2013. Kira has exhibited in Johannesburg, Cape Town and in Berlin as part of the Homebase Residency program in 2013. Kira’s main interest lies in public space in South Africa, which often culminates into site-specific sculptures and public intervention performances. These sculptures/ props/ costumes often mimic Colonial architecture found in these spaces. By using fabric as a medium, for its tactile and relational qualities, Kira is able to soften, satirize and mock these symbols of Colonial rule in South Africa. The performances of these sculptures/props/costumes are documented as videos and photographs.

View online : www.kirakemper.com