"Cinga Samson: Nzulu yemfihlakalo" opening today at White Cube Mason's Yard
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"Cinga Samson: Nzulu yemfihlakalo" opening today at White Cube Mason's Yard
Cinga SamsonEbembe ya Nioka, Esilaka Somote (detail), 2023. Oil on canvas (240 x 310 cm) 94 1/2 x 122 1/16 in.(244.5 x 314.5 x 7 cm), 96 1/4 x 123 13/16 x 2 3/4 in. (framed) the artist. Photo White Cube (Nina Lieska).

LONDON.- White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to present ‘Nzulu yemfihlakalo’, a new group of oil paintings by South African artist Cinga Samson. Completed in his studio in Cape Town, the artist’s dreamlike large-scale tableaux and portraits draw from his environment and metaphysical concerns, prompting the viewer to confront the epistemological boundaries of our collective understanding.

Nzulu yemfihlakalo, the title for the show, is borrowed from an isiXhosa phrase which loosely translates to ‘the depth of mystery’, and is used to express devotion while also serving as a description of God. Hyperreal, and possessing a hallucinatory quality, Samson’s work speaks to the fusion of material and metaphysical realms. Through his paintings, the artist gives form to the intangible and provokes an encounter with the vast unknown.

Situated against the backdrop of Cape Town’s urban environs and the surrounding natural landscape, the paintings register as familiar, though several anomalies set Samson’s world apart from the quotidian. Shrouded in a Cimmerian darkness, the figures frequently appear with objects or memento mori, such as white lace, animal innards, skulls and lifeless human forms wrapped in translucent sheets. Adopting graceful, funereal movements – as though engaged in ritual procession – their glowing eyes serve as both entry into the abyss while also resisting the viewer’s gaze, cautioning the onlooker against their own presence.

Cinga Samson was born in 1986 in Cape Town, South Africa, where he lives and works. Solo exhibitions include FLAG Art Foundation, New York (2021); Perrotin Gallery, New York (2020); and blank projects, (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019). Group exhibitions include ‘Mapping Black Identities’, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis (2020); ‘Kubatana’, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, vre Eiker (2019); and ‘Hacer Noche’, Centro Cultural Santo Domingo, Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico (2018).

Cinga Samson’s works inhabit and extend a painterly tradition, asserting their place within the long trajectory of figuration in art. This commitment to his metier facilitates an exploration of ideas around desire, power, mortality and transience. Weaving together the classical and the contemporary, Samson creates images with symbolic, spiritual and social inferences, drawn together by subjective narrative.

White Cube Mason's Yard
"Cinga Samson: Nzulu yemfihlakalo"
July 7th, 2023 - August 26th, 2023

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