Trans, 2016

Basel 2018
Goodman Gallery
Oil on canvas
Artwork size
156.0 x 130.0 (cm)
61.4 x 51.2 (inch)
Zimbabwean artist Misheck Masamvu uses painting as a way in which to show the “breakdown of the pursuit of humanity”. His emotionally charged paintings express the artist’s psychological state as he experiences the socio-political strife taking place in his home country. Masamvu, who studied at the Atelier Delta and Kunste Akademie in Munich, is influenced by the German Expressionist and Neo Expressionist movements. His works consist of layered painted surfaces, abstracted forms and brushstrokes which are almost visceral and which exist as remnants of the physical action of painting. One gets the sense that multiple temporalities have been included in one picture plane and that beneath the surface of one painted image, an infinity of others exist. Although beautiful and powerful, his paintings can also be violent depictions of distorted bodies twisted in pain against a turbulent landscape. Masamvu does not shy away from difficult subject matter. His work speaks to Zimbabwe’s painful past and the cruelty of the contemporary systems of power. In employing the techniques of Abstraction and of Expressionism, the painter makes manifest the historical relationship between humans and land, and examines both the legacy of colonial control of the land and the way in which it exists in the post- colony now.