“I want to make images that are both hard to look at, and hard to look away from.” Black Koki’s name originates from the definitive line and the uncompromising nature of working with a permanent marker, which is a trait that he has harnessed and applied to paper, canvas, glass and the streets since 2004. His recent work reflects an interest in the warped spaces, textures and decay of an urban reality augmented by the digital world. Inspired by the form of fences, signage, skylines, analogue screens, iphones and city lights, his works imbibe the strange connect and disconnect of human relationships within space and data. Social media quips meet organic, expressive forms in the synthetic hues of his enamel on glass paintings. Oddly digital in reference, the works also speak to an intuitive and spontaneous mark making of art historical lineage, inhabiting both the monochromatic, flat or elaborately layered surface. His works on glass embody an unmistakable nostalgia for the 1990s from the perspective of a contemporary digital age. The flavour of urban subcultures persists in his forms, merged with his personal experiences of city spaces such that his works become an abstract coding of the contemporary experience.
Selected Exhibitions: 2017 – AO group exhibition, Salon91; Turbine Art Fair with Salon91. 2016 – Static, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg; Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm; Fierce Now, Art Festival, Amsterdam. 2015 – Laugh Now, Cry Later, (solo show), Black Box Gallery, Cape Town. 2014 – Time Through Space, World Art Gallery, Cape Town; Windows, Black Box Gallery, Cape Town; Windows 0.2, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg. 2013 – Future Positive (Black Koki + Ello Xray Eyez), Black Box Gallery, Cape Town; Look 2, Side Street Studios, Cape Town; Afro Vibes, Amsterdam. 2012 – Beautiful Losers, A Word of Art Gallery, Cape Town; Klick Klack, The Pit, Cape Town. 2011 – Stroke/03, Art Festival, Berlin; Independent Publishing Project, Blank Projects, Cape Town; Urban Contemporary, 34Fine Art, Cape Town; Rendezvous, Travelling Exhibtion. 2010 – Those Who Live In It, (With Ello Xray Eyez) MU Gallery, Eindhoven; Nothing is Everything, group exhibition, Word of Art Gallery, Cape Town; Toffie Pop Culture Festival, Cape Town; Deconstruction, M Contemporary, Sydney; Love and Hate, (solo) Gaënge Viertel Gallery, Hamburg, Germany. 2008 – aKing, Kunsthaus, Cape Town; Urbanstretch, Trinity Session Gallery, Johannesburg. 2007 – Boerekitch, KKnK National Arts Festival; The Auction Exhibition, The Bin, Cape Town. 2006 – The Inevitable, Moja Modern, Johannesburg; New Suburbia, Platform on 18, Pretoria. Camp Zero, Curated by Asha Zero, Stolen Goods, Pretoria.