An Artist’s Studio at Zeitz MOCAA

April 12, 2023

Articles, Mandie's Pick

It is not often that art lovers have the opportunity to be exposed to and engage with the work in progress in an artist’s studio while on a museum visit. At the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, a multi-gallery area houses an intimate setup where works of art are still being created.  

The studio in question is that of Cape Town-based artist Igshaan Adams, who, alongside his team, have been inhabiting the space over a six month studio residency, titled ‘Not Working (Working Title)’.The residency is part of the museum’s ongoing Atelier programme launched in 2019 and provides local artists with an opportunity to create new work, conduct research and develop ideas for future projects. The focus of Adams’ residency is to foreground the people, practices and networks that are intricately woven into his work. It also allows him to rethink the paths and routes of his practice and revive projects that have lingered in the background as ‘not quite working yet’. 

Storm Janse van Rensburg, Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs, says: “The Atelier provides an exploratory space for artists that is also open to the public. Visitors to Zeitz MOCAA have unique access and insight into the resident artist’s modes of production and processes, and we have found that this bridges the unseen divide between the artist and public”.

Igshaan Adams at work in his ‘studio’ at Zeitz MOCAA

Adams also realised his original idea of exploring the movement and dance traditions of Namaqualand, bringing performative aspects into his current work by inviting a specially commissioned performance by Garage Dance Ensemble to perform existing choreography which responds to, and interacts with, his suspended dust cloud sculptural installations. Based in Okiep, Northern Cape, the dance company has been in existence since 2011, when icons of contemporary South African dance, John Linden and Alfred Hinkel returned to their native soil and developed a dance community in the region. The deeply rooted performance practice which Garage Dance Ensemble has developed between traditional dance forms originating from Namaqualand and contemporary movement resonates with Adams’ work. The two iterations, titled ‘Babelas’ and ‘Krummelpap Afval en Sunlightseepbaddens’ were presented in the studio at the time of the Cape Town Art Fair in February.