Kate MacGarry is pleased to present Malawi-born Samson Kambalu’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Kambalu’s Capsules, Mountains and Forts is a multi-media installation exploring the problematic relationship between the restricted values of capital and those of resourcefulness and generosity.
Capsules, Mountains and Forts includes Sanguinetti Breakout Area, a project which Kambalu first presented at the Venice Biennale in 2015. The installation was based on the papers of the Italian Situationist Gianfranco Sanguinetti, sold in controversial circumstances to Yale University in 2013. Kambalu presented the papers in a ‘détourned’ form: original photographs of the Situationists at play, letters (including 600 from one of the founders of Situationism, Guy Debord) and various ephemera were photographed playfully and transgressively by Kambalu at the Beinecke Library during his 2014 fellowship at Yale. Détournement, meaning ‘rerouting, hijacking’ in French, was a technique adapted and defined by the Situationists as ‘the integration of present or past artistic productions into a superior construction of a milieu’. In an ironic twist, Sanguinetti sued the Venice Biennale and Samson Kambalu for Sanguinetti Breakout Area but the former Situationist lost the case.
Alongside Sanguinetti Breakout Area, Kambalu’s installation at the gallery presents the Venice case documents, including the judge’s verdict. Kambalu has since been described as the first ‘situationist’ artist to be ‘defended by the government and not persecuted by it’.
Capsules, Mountains and Forts coincides with Kambalu’s project, Introduction to Nyau Cinema, now showing at Whitechapel Gallery.
Samson Kambalu, born in 1975 in Malawi, has just completed a practice-led PhD in Fine Art, examining how the problematic of the gift animates various aspects of his art practice, at Chelsea College of Art. He has won research fellowships with Yale University and Smithsonian Institution and has recently been included in the Dakar Biennale, Senegal and Liverpool Biennial, both 2016, and 56th Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures, 2015. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Samson Kambalu: Introduction to Nyau Cinema, Whitechapel Gallery, 2016, Retrogarde, Logan Centre for the Arts, University of Chicago, Samson Kambalu: Nyau Cinema, NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, 2016-17, Double Feature: Nyau Cinema, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2015 and Sepia Rain, Stevenson Johannesburg, South Africa, 2014.