Neo Matloga

Stroom Den Haag (4 Sept. – 3 Oct. 2021)

Installation view Neo Matloga, my hero is always next to me (2021), Stroom Den Haag. Photo Franz Mueller Schmidt. All rights reserved by Hartwig Art Foundation.

Neo Matloga’s work can be characterised as political, personal and universal. The South African artist is known for his monochromatic collages in which he presents diverse and vivid images that are at the same time loaded with intimacy and politics.

Matloga was born in South Africa a year before the official end of apartheid (1994). In his collages he reworks images of his world, sometimes opting for intimate, joyful everyday moments between individuals, and sometimes for public, iconic and generally known im- agery. Stories of love and belonging can exist in stark contrast to the ever-persistent reality of a society characterised by colonialism and racism. A tension that can always be felt in his work.

Matloga’s search for new imaginations is a combination of choreography, composition, and creative intuition. The visual material from media, magazines, photo albums and soap op- eras is distorted and painted over with ink, paint and liquid chalk. By cutting, tearing and building up different layers and stories, new connections are always created between past, present and future

In the exhibition entitled my hero is always next to me at Stroom Den Haag (4 Sept – 3 Oct 2021), Matloga chose a new approach that differs somewhat from the large monochrome works on canvas which many know and which is the result of a (for Matloga) new experimental practice of collage on canvas. With the selection of smaller works — consisting solely of portraits — he shifts the scale, inviting the public to make active viewing also a personal and intimate experience.

About the artist

Neo Matloga (lives and works in Mamaila, South Africa and in Amsterdam) studied at the University of Johannesburg and at De Ateliers, Amsterdam. His work was on view at a.o. Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town (2019); Tell Freedom. 15 South African artists, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort (2018); South African Constitutional Court, Johannesburg (2016); Time Line, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg (2015); South African and Chinese exchange, Workers Museum, Johannesburg (2015). Matloga is the recipient of various awards including the Royal Award for Modern Painting in 2018 and was nominated for the Volkskrant Visual Arts Prize in 2019. Recently Matloga was the winner of the ABN AMRO Art Prize and later this year he will have an exhibition in the Hermitage Amsterdam.