Lerato Shadi
Mmitlwa, 2010

Mmitlwa refers to a Setswana saying that describes an intricate, thorny situation which one is responsible for resolving. It literally translates as ‘thorn’. The artist appears naked and sitting on a white pedestal in front of a white background. Shadi wraps herself in white adhesive tape, and then, rather more painfully, removes it. The video appears to be divided into two sections, although there is no break between the two. While the ‘cocooning’ is rather graphical and meditative, with playfully erotic connotations, the removal of the adhesive tape is rough, violent and almost masochistic. The whole performance, which lasts a little over 25 minutes, was documented from three different camera angles, and elicits a physical, almost painful reaction from anyone viewing the video. From an emotional point of view, this artwork is a parable for self-determination and for taking responsibility for one’s own life. If one analyzes Shadi’s references to social processes in South Africa, it soon becomes clear that Shadi’s conceptual work centers on the repetition of the banal and the everyday and above all on how we interact with time.

Lerato Shadi

* 1979 Mafikeng, ZA
Lives and works in Berlin, D
Lerato Shadi
Sugar and Salt, 2014
Single channel video work, stereo sound, color
Lerato Shadi
Hema (or six hours of outbreath captured in 792 balloons), 2007
single channel video projection

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