Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh / 2014

About

Goodman Gallery Cape Town is pleased to present History Doesn’t Laugh, a solo exhibition by Hank Willis Thomas first seen in our Johannesburg gallery earlier this year, which highlights the artist’s interest in representing photographic ideas through unconventional materials.

For this exhibition, Thomas scoured numerous publications and archives looking for graphics, images and audio that exemplify, through popular culture, South Africa’s recent history. The result is a fascinating combination of installations, objects, and prints that present the visual complexities of the not-so-distant past.

A series of photo-derived sculptures cast in aluminum, silicone and bronze reframe the original image by focusing on the impact of hand gestures. In his more familiar style, the artist appropriates graphically striking political buttons and increases them in size to large-scale wall hangings. The exhibition also includes screen-printed images from various magazines, re-contextualised in a manner that exaggerates the hyper-reality of the time in which they were originally produced.

Thomas is known for his extensive use of archival visual records to work through ideas that address the social constructions of race, gender, and commodity. He uses the black body in advertising to articulate how these ideas are generated in perpetuated in consumer culture. Recognising the similarity in histories between the United States and South Africa, Thomas revitalises and enhances his techniques to compliment his traditional oeuvre. In doing so, he smartly decodes popular images with the intention of proposing and unveiling new social and cultural meanings.

  • Raise Up

    Hank Willis Thomas

    Raise Up, 2014

    Bronze / Bronze cast

    204 x 30 x 30 cm / 204 x 30 x 30cm / 285 x 25 x 10 cm

    Edition of 3

  • Hank Willis Thomas

    History doesn't laugh, 2014

    Ink Print on white retroflective material / Photo reflective print

    103 x 123cm / 99 x 119 cm (38,98...

  • Victory is certain

    Hank Willis Thomas

    Victory is certain, 2014

    Assegai wood

    108 x 8 x 8cm

  • Die Dompas Moet Brand ! (The Passbook must Burn!)

    Hank Willis Thomas

    Die Dompas Moet Brand ! (The Passbook must Burn!), 2014

    Bronze and copper shim

    7 life cast arms holding pass books

    Editi...

  • Peace and Freedom

    Hank Willis Thomas

    Peace and Freedom, 2014

    Fiberglass and aluminum

    89cm in diameter

    Edition of 3

  • An injury to one is and an injury to all

    Hank Willis Thomas

    An injury to one is and an injury to all, 2014

    Fiberglass and aluminum

    89cm in diameter

    Edition of 3

  • Freedom in our lifetime

    Hank Willis Thomas

    Freedom in our lifetime, 2014

    prefabricated dry walling, security wire and spray paint

    2.5m x 4m x 49 cm

  • A Luta Continua

    Hank Willis Thomas

    A Luta Continua , 2014

    Alimunium

    80 x 320 x 50cm

    Edition of 5

  • Installation picture [Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh / 2014]
  • Installation picture [Hank Willis Thomas / History Doesn't Laugh / 2014]