KADIST San Francisco presents ‘THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY,’ Brazilian interdisciplinary artist Jota Mombaça’s first U.S. solo exhibition. Mombaça, whose work A Gente Combinamos De Não Morrer (BANDEIRA #1) / Us Agreed Not To Die (FLAG #1) (2018) is part of the KADIST collection, will present a new large-scale sculptural installation, accompanied by sound and video works that explore water’s restless, elemental properties. The works will be installed by Mombaça in stages, activated with events and performances, and expanded in an artist publication, evoking a potent sense of latency throughout the course of the exhibition.
These movements continue a cycle of work concerned with the elements and forms of sensing attuned to the expressions of water, wind, fire, and earth. Mombaça began the watery works earlier this year, with a group of installations and performances each guided by a poem and that maintains both a conceptual and material connection to this exhibition. The sequence of these previous works includes: in the tired watering (2022), a performance at the future site of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo on the island of San Giacomo in Venice curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist; what is coming for you is only dawn (2022), a performance sponsored by the International Artists Studio Program in Stockholm; and too much consciousness to be held by such a vulnerable entity (2022) and sinking could be (2022), an installation and a performance that was part of the program ‘Super Feelings’ at de Appel Amsterdam.
During a recent conversation with Obrist, Mombaça raised, «What if water was telling us something about the way the planet is flooding?» The artistic research that carries through this exhibition engages both the continuing traumas of the Transatlantic slave trade and the rapidly increasing impact of climate change. Absorbed by the inherent tensions of these subjects, the artist’s work traverses topics such as displacement, environmental racism, extractivism, queer mourning, and time travel, in dialogue with science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, and a gathering of contemporary diasporic writers.
‘Jota Mombaça: THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY’ includes Ghost 0 (2022), a sculpture made from 160 feet of cotton that was once submerged for months in the Venetian lagoon and then dredged up and unfurled as part of the performance at Isola di San Giacomo. Ghost 0 was dried in the sun afterward, shipped to the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, where Mombaça is currently in residence, then installed in their studio, revealing the sediment of the waters in its creases and folds. Ghost 0 will soon flow through the gallery space at KADIST, supported by steel armature alongside four, water-cut aluminum sculptures resembling dimensional drawings which were immersed in a canal, and an accumulation of newly commissioned fabric sculptures comprised of bleached and dyed cobalt and black linen currently sinking in three locations around the San Francisco Bay, forming a triangulation of sites along the coastline that ripples out across the Pacific Ocean, connecting back in time through various waterways to the places of Mombaça’s recent performances. The supernatural sculptures will be joined by a video projection and a two-channel sound installation, creating a transportive experience of submersion, which the artist describes as a “wordless spectral realm” and a “place of letting go.”
In ‘THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY,’ Mombaça continues a deep practice of radical transfeminist activism by asking what we might learn about decolonialism and combating climate change by listening to the water. The exhibition demonstrates and calls for “the radicality of sinking” through an urgent progression of subversive actions. Making these fabric sculptures is a labor-intensive process. It involves twisting, wrapping, hauling, resurfacing, and draping. It moves between mediums and wet and dry states in a variety of durational undulations. Chance is fundamental and ritual essential. As with the upcoming exhibition, it gestures toward a murky future that is rife with possibility.
Conversation with Jota Mombaça and critic Darla Migan
Monday, November 14, 2022
Performance by Jota Mombaça, for the debut of waterwill (2022)
Thursday, December 8, 2022
KADIST San Francisco
3295 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
gallery hours: Wed–Sat 12–5 pm