June 27–October 6, 2017

Kiluanji Kia Henda: A City Called Mirage

A City Called Mirage is the first solo exhibition by current ISCP resident Kiluanji Kia Henda in the United States. The artist looks at real cities and their 3D models in an immersive four-channel video installation, as well as three interconnected series of photographs.

In A City Called Mirage, Henda considers the birth, life and death of modern cities. The exhibition begins with a photograph of a rusty time-worn sign of the word “Miragem” (Mirage), found by the artist in the Namibe Desert. Acting as a catalyst for new work that contemplates humanity’s drive towards urbanization, the sign spurred Henda to look at Dubai as a questionable archetype of the contemporary city, a byproduct of neoliberal desires. New cities such as Dubai are often built with little consideration of their historic or environmental characteristics, drawing parallels to the urban reconstruction of the artist’s home city Luanda, Angola.

In Paradise Metalic (2014), four synchronized videos together recount the construction of an ideal city, dreamt by the “Man with the Shovel” and built on the barren Maliha Desert in Sharjah. At once land art and performance, a new fictional country is established and subsequently demolished in the sand, hauntingly demarcated by stakes in the ground, concrete walls and iron skeletons of buildings. Based on traditional central African sona sand drawings, A City Called Mirage (2013–17)—a series of 50 photographs, also the title of the ISCP exhibition—documents large-scale sculptures assembled in the desert, based on the silhouettes of an imaginary city, using the geometric forms of sona drawings as a blueprint. Native to Tchokwe culture of Eastern Angola, these ephemeral forms are drawn in the sand to tell stories and transmit oral histories. Dubai as a spectacular city and the ultimate tabula rasa is conjured in Instructions to Create You Own Personal Dubai at Home (2013), with playful instructions for how to build your own iconic skylines at home using everyday domestic materials such as old circuit boards, tinfoil, beer cans and match sticks.

Kiluanji Kia Henda (born 1979, Luanda, Angola) is a Luanda-based artist, working with photography, video and performance. His work has been exhibited at institutions including Tate Liverpool, 2017; SCAD Museum, Savannah, 2016; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2016; National Museum of African Art – Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 2015; Tamayo Museum, Mexico, 2012; and Arnolfini, Bristol, 2012. He has participated in the 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York; Dakar Biennale, 2014; Bienal de São Paulo, 2007; Venice Biennale, 2007, and the Luanda Triennale, 2007. He is the winner of 2017 Frieze Artist Award and the 2012 National Prize of Art and Culture, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Luanda.

This exhibition is curated by Kari Conte, Director of Programs and Exhibitions.

This program is supported, in part, by Dennis Elliott Founder’s Fund, Greenwich Collection Ltd., New York City Council District 34, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Opening Reception: Jun 27, 2017, 6–8pm
Open Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–6pm
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents

June 20, 2017, 6:30–8pm

Salon: Elli Kuruş and Gian Maria Tosatti

Elli Kuruş will speak about her ongoing research on the blockchain as a utopian model of self-governance. The blockchain is part of a technical infrastructure that drives systems such as the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and is a site where the relationship between politics and infrastructure is continually renegotiated and contested. In her practice, Elli Kuruş utilizes installation, video, drawing and lecture performances to build speculative narratives which critically examine the development of media and technology.

Gian Maria Tosatti will speak about his work related to communities and identity. He will show video documentation of his last installation for the project Sette Stagioni dello Spirito, made in Naples between 2013 and 2016. He will also speak about his current work in progress that reflects on the building of the United States by diverse populations.

This program is supported, in part, by New York City Council District 34, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Participating Residents

June 6, 2017, 6:30–8pm

Panel Discussion on CCA Lagos with ruby onyinyechi amanze, Jude Anogwih, Simone Leigh and Pinar Yolacan

CCA Lagos at ISCP is an institutional residency that presents selections from CCA Lagos’s archives as well as the exhibition Orí méta odún méta ibìkan. This panel discussion—moderated by long-term CCA Lagos collaborator Jude Anogwihwill focus on past projects at CCA Lagos by three New York City-based artists: ruby onyinyechi amanze, Simone Leigh and Pinar Yolacan.

In Nigeria, CCA Lagos provides a platform for the development, presentation, and discussion of contemporary visual art and culture. It seeks to create new audiences and to prioritize media such as photography, film and video, performance and installation art which were traditionally underrepresented in Nigeria. The institution supports and presents the intellectual and critical work of art and culture practitioners through exhibitions and public programs. In addition, it encourages and promotes the professionalization of art production and curatorship in Nigeria and West Africa collaborating with artists, curators, writers, theorists and national and international organizations.

Participant Biographies:
ruby onyinyechi amanze is a visual artist born in Nigeria whose practice is primarily centered around drawing and works on paper. In 2012–2013, amanze was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 2016, she was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Prix Canson drawing prize. She has exhibited her work internationally in Lagos, London, Johannesburg and Paris, and nationally at the California African American Museum, the Drawing Center and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Jude Anogwih is a visual artist and curator living and working in Lagos, Nigeria who has coordinated, organized and curated projects at CCA Lagos since 2008. Recent curatorial projects include Videonale in Lagos, 2016; Biennale Jogja XIII, Indonesia, 2015; ARENA (where would I have got if I had been intelligent!), Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun, Poland, 2014; Whose Centenary? Project, Benin, Nigeria, 2014; Kelani Abass: Àsìkò: Evoking Personal Narratives and Collective History, co-curated with Bisi Silva, CCA Lagos, 2013; and Sights and Sounds: Global Film and Video, Jewish Museum, New York, 2013–2016. Anogwih was a Goethe-Institut Fellow at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.

Simone Leigh’s practice incorporates sculpture, video, and installation, all informed by her ongoing exploration of black female subjectivity and ethnography. In 2016, Leigh received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Herb Alpert Award for Visual Art, and A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art. Recent projects and exhibitions include Psychic Friends Network, Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, London, 2016; The Waiting Room, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 2016; The Free People’s Medical Clinic, commissioned by Creative Time, 2014; inHarlem, public installation presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park, New York, 2016; and a solo exhibition at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2016.

Pinar Yolacan is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York and Sao Paulo. Born in Turkey, Yolacan has had solo shows at Yapi Kredi Foundation, Istanbul; Finnish Museum of Photography, Helsinki; and CCA Lagos. Since 1997, reviews about her work have appeared regularly in The New York Times, Art in America, ArtReview, Bidoun, The Sunday Times, British Journal of Photography, Vogue and i-D magazines. Her work is in the permanent collections of The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; International Center of Photography, New York; and Saatchi Gallery, London.

This program is supported, in part, by Dennis Elliott Founder’s Fund, Greenwich Collection Ltd., New York City Council District 34, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.