Artist and musician Sandra Mujinga interrogates self-representation and preservation of the ephemeral world we are living in, taking inspiration from animals
Thinking through fiction in Afrofuturist tradition, Sandra Mujinga play’s with economies of visibility and disappearance. She negotiates questions of self-representation and preservation, appearance and opacity, through an interdisciplinary practice in which she often reverses traditional identity politics of presence. Mujinga is looking for inspiration in how animals are developing survival strategies and adapting to hostile surroundings in an attempt to understand the transient world we are living in.
Recent work from the artist is depicted in her solo exhibition SONW – Shadow of New Worlds, Bergen Kunsthall (2019), investigating concepts of invisibility as survival strategy, with a speculative gaze at the future and in relation to the political reality of our time. In a space without clear demarcations; and levels of presence and transparency, appearance and disappearance, a hologram video projection with a soundtrack is observed, while an avatar figure floats in and out of the dark void. Some of the sculptures resonate with images of elephants or octopuses, as elements looking like trunks and tentacles adjoin her instillations, for example, when elephants stop growing tusks or change from diurnal into nocturnal animals to avoid human poachers. Going under the radar also makes for strength. Another spectacle, Seasonal Pulses, Croy Nielsen, Vienna (2019), features four austere-looking, larger-than-life sculptures appearing to guard the gallery space, while two others are seen recoiled on the floor. Made of tinted glycerine encased in transparent plastic, the elongated hoodies with red on the inside resemble that of internal flesh having gained its own expression in the absence of a protective exterior. Each sculpture resembles the human body in a feral sense. The environment is built to provoke and set in motion a chain of thoughts related to the survival of human beings.
Sandra Mujinga is a Norwegian artist and musician based in Oslo and Berlin. Solo exhibitions coming up at Vleeshal, Middelburg (2020), and the Swiss Institute, New York (2021).