Tracey Rose’s Waiting For God

Tracey Rose’s Waiting For God


Tracey Rose, Tales of The Cockpit – The Back o’ God, 2008–2010.
Courtesy: The Artist and The Goodman Gallery.
© The artist.

September 16, 2011
Tracey Rose’s Waiting For God

25 September–20 November 2011

Sunday, 25 September, 2pm

Tracey Rose and the curators Khwezi Gule and Renaud Proch participate during the opening.

901 87 Umeå

Bildmuseet is proud to present Tracey Rose: Waiting for God, the South African artist’s first international large-scale solo exhibition. Spanning over 15 years of work, the show examines Tracey Rose’s unique and complex visual language and her performance-based practice represented through her photographs and video work.


Tracey Rose belongs to a generation of artists charged with reinventing the artistic gesture in post-Apartheid South Africa. Within this fold, she has defined a provocative visual world whose complexities only reflect those of the task at hand. Refusing to simplify reality for the sake of clarity, the artist creates rich characters that inhabit worlds as interrelated as the many facets of one’s personality. Her reference to theatre and the carnival tradition also places her work in the realm of satire.


Working with performance, often for the lens of a camera, Tracey Rose places her body at the centre of her practice. She inhabits the roles given to Africans, to African women, and to women in a male dominated world, swallowing stereotypes whole. In her quest to understand the source of such cultural meanings and of what defines human condition, Rose is inevitably led to religious myths of creation. In the series Lucie’s Fur, version 1.1.1 (2003), human origins are explored in all directions, from Lucifer to Lucy, the first discovered hominid – with no relation to Adam’s rib; while in Ciao Bella (2001), a seminal operatic video triptych of the Last Supper, created for the 49th Venice Biennale, twelve female characters all enacted and embodied by the artist herself, provide a unique outlook on deep-seated Western notions of femininity.


In Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Children So Different, So Appealing? (2005–2007), Rose unveils the jarring realities of her own surroundings in a creative collaboration with a group of children from Johannesburg’s Riverlea Extension, dubbed Zombie Town. As its title suggests, the work plays on early Pop Art’s interest in popular experience of modernity. This vision of the modern culminates in a movie scripted and acted by the children, whose candid rendering of daily life unapologetically encompasses blatant violence, cinematic magic, and hope in a generation that confronts reality head-on.


The Cockpit (2008) tackles issues of misery very directly, intolerance and hatred that form a doomed scenario for humanity. The play, filmed in the studios of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and broadcast on national TV, is a surreal soap opera which turns into a trial of the highest possible entity to be held responsible for human destiny: God himself.


Tracey Rose: Waiting for God is jointly curated by Khwezi Gule (Johannesburg) and Renaud Proch (New York), in association with Linda Givon (Johannesburg). A publication accompanying the exhibition is forthcoming. The exhibition is a co-production with the Johannesburg Art Gallery and Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden and premiered at the Johannesburg Art Gallery earlier this year. The exhibition marks the return of Tracey Rose to Bildmuseet where she participated in the exhibition Democracy’s Image: Photography and Visual Art after Apartheid in 1998.




Contact Information:
Katarina Pierre, Director Bildmuseet
+46 90 786 52 27, [email protected]


Related events 


Guided tours every weekend during the exhibition period.


Tuesday, September 27, 6.30 pm
Lecture with curator and writer Khwezi Gule: Through Rose Coloured Glasses: An exploration of identity, violence and silence through the work of Trace Rose


Tuesday, October 4, 6.30 pm
Lecture with Anna Rådström, ass. professor in Art history: A Now and a Then – About Performance and Photography


Tuesday, October 11, 6.30 pm
Lecture with Rory Bester, curator, art historian, critic and filmmaker: The making of the documentary Right Through the Arts: Tracey Rose (2008)




More information in the events calendar:


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September 16, 2011

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