Hard Rain Show
from 28 November 2008 to 1 February 2009
La Criée Centre for Contemporary Art, Rennes and EESAB - Rennes
Born in Maputo, Mozambique, in 1958, Ângela Ferreira has lived in Portugal and South Africa, where she developed an acute sensivity to the geopolitical issues that form the starting point of her work.
Over the last twenty years Ângela Ferreira has created an extensive oeuvre in which she interrogates geo-political, art historical and gender issues related to given cultural contexts through a range of different media. Her installations frequently include sculptures that evoke modernist practices, combined with semi-documentary photographic and video material. Formulating questions about notions of perspective, her work opens up spaces between the political and the aesthetical.
Her first solo exhibition in France is an opportunity for the French audience to engage with Ferreira’s body of work. The complex relationships between Europe and Africa are interrogated using the back and forth of modernism and its complicity with colonialism and its utopian promise of a better future.
On show at La Criée is Maison Tropicale created in 2007 for the Venice Biennale.
A series of photographs and a large-scale wooden and metal sculpture are inspired by the history of a failed modernist housing project by the (now famous) French designer Jean Prouvé. What was conceived as a mass housing project for Africa resulted between 1949 and 1951 in only three prototypes of a Tropical House sent from France to its colonies: to Niamey in Niger and to Brazzaville in Congo. The ‘rediscovery’ of Prouvé’s design in the 1990s led to the dismantling of all three of them a few years ago, and for them to be brought back to Europe for restoration. They have subsequently been usurped by the current design and art market.
In Ferreira’s Maison Tropicale the artist presents photographs of the remains of the houses in Africa, of those parts that were not considered worth being commercialised. The artist combines them with a structure filled with sculptural elements derived from Prouvé’s Tropical House designs, transforming them, as curator Jürgen Bock has called it, into ‘permanently adrift containers of history’.
Two other works are being presented at the Art School in Rennes :
In For Mozambique (Model N°2 of a Screen-Orator-Kiosk celebrating a post-Independence Utopia), In For Mozambique (Model No. 2 of a Screen- Orator-Kiosk celebrating a post- independence Utopia) Ângela Ferreira created a specific perspective on the historical momentum of the recently independent country of Mozambique in 1975, linking it in her installation to the history of the modernist utopia of Russian constructivism. Agitprop artist Gustav Klucis’s search for a unity between art and the social and political in the 1920s becomes, through Ferreira’s evocation of his kiosks, the theoretical and physical base of her installation. Video excerpts of footage of a Bob Dylan concert and a Jean Rouch film, both celebrating the post-independence utopia of a recently-born nation, are projected onto it.
Zip Zap Circus School comprises three wooden and canvas modules, proposing an imaginary space between European and African discourses on architecture. Two never built projects are connected in the installation: a Mies van der Rohe 1913 villa with the modernist architect’s technique of ‘rehearsing’ it through wooden and canvas structures that could be moved around on its future site in a park in Holland. The other is a project by the Mozambican architect Pancho Guedes, for a South African Community project for a Circus School in Cape Town, designed in the 1990s