The Approach is excited to announce its debut solo exhibition by Oslo and Berlin based artist Sandra Mujinga (b. 1989, Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo) opening January 2021. Mujinga plays with economies of visibility and opacity, negotiating questions of identity, self-representation and surveillance. Mujinga works across text, sculpture, performance, and dance as well as the internet and the digital image to produce her work. Her work has been described as questioning “what it means to exist in the dark,” highlighting the conflicting nature of visibility, which, whilst serving as an ever-expansive platform for promoting diversity and difference, simultaneously increases unwanted surveillance and data collection. To combat this, the artist suggests that people need to become more adaptable to their environments, often exploring the survival strategies of animals that change their bodily features to adapt to their surroundings. Mujinga employs Afrofuturism and post-human ideas, as a speculative and political gaze envisioning alternative worlds at the intersection of technology, the human and the animal.
For her forthcoming show, Mujinga will illuminate the exhibition space with intense green lighting, immersing the viewer into an environment that feels part-nightclub, part-dimension travel dystopia. For Mujinga, this specific shade of green becomes a proxy for blackness. Inspired by ‘green screen’ technology, the colour functions by being both hyper-visible and not at all visible at once; it is the most intense a colour can get, yet being so removed from any other colour – in particular, skin tones – it is also the opposite of colour, an absorbent. Retaining the family resemblance to previous sculptures, but marking a next step in the world building practice of Mujinga, the artist will also make a new set of standing figures for the exhibition, influenced by medieval beekeeping gear, monasterial culture and wickerwork. Cephalopods, such as squid, octopuses and cuttlefish, will also provide significant inspiration. These are creatures that, in their remote habitats, create protection against predators through camouflage or by building their own barriers, whilst still allowing for coexistence and symbiosis with their environment.