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Pirelli HangarBicocca | Dineo Seshee Bopape
Pirelli HangarBicocca | Dineo Seshee Bopape


06/10/2022 - 09/01/2023    
10:30 - 20:30


Pirelli HangarBicocca
Via Chiese, 2 , Milano, MI, 20126, Lombardia

Event Type

Sto caricando la mappa ....

Dineo Seshee Bopape

Born in the first light of the morning [moswara’marapo]
October 6, 2022–January 29, 2023

Pirelli HangarBicocca


Via Chiese, 2
20126 Milan
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 10:30am–8:30pm

T +39 02 6611 1573


From October 6, 2022 to January 29, 2023, Pirelli HangarBicocca presents Born in the first light of the morning [moswara’marapo], the first survey exhibition dedicated to Dineo Seshee Bopape. Through a distinctive combination of moving images, sound elements, wall drawings, and a thriving earthly vocabulary—comprising of soil, water, clay, bricks, herbs, wood, and natural light—the artist conjures up a poetic visual landscape at Pirelli HangarBicocca, offering insights on the ideas of memory—corporeally, materially and socio-politically—and reconciliation of self and story.

The work of Dineo Seshee Bopape (b. Polokwane, South Africa, 1981; current resident of Johannesburg) is characterized by the use of organic and highly symbolic materials, often juxtaposed with digital and technological aesthetic vocabularies. Drawing on her own experiences related to her home country of South Africa, and its threads, tentacles and mirrors to elsewheres, the artist weaves narratives in which maternal and female corporeality, take on a substantial role in investigating mythologies and ancestral archetypes (rock, water, fire, air), often ‘questioning’ the archived, the aftereffects of colonialisms and the political and spiritual function(s) of memory.
The exhibition, curated by Lucia Aspesi and Fiammetta Griccioli, presents a series of installations, wall drawings and videos, including a new production: Mothabeng (2022), a sound sculpture especially conceived and created from recordings made in a marble quarry in the Tuscan Apennines during one of Bopape’s stays in Italy. The title of the show evokes both a state of re-birth and states of transitions and transmutations: with these words, Bopape encourages us to rethink the notion of a work of art itself, seen as a conduit between material and immaterial worlds and transdurational experiences. In particular, the artist’s choice to use both English and SePedi, one of South Africa’s BaNtu languages, and her mother-tongue, extends the conceptual parameters of the work.

Light, evoked in the title, also performs as a visual element in the exhibition, bringing up a reflection on the spatial and nonlinear dimension of time, as linked to the complementary physical-perceptual relation between light and darkness, dawn and dusk. Upon entering the exhibition, the visitors are welcomed in the half-light by works where the moving image is central—such as lerato laka le a phela le a phela / my love is alive, is alive, is alive (2022) and (Serithi) The rest, as they used to say, is story (2021). By contrast, as viewers move through, natural light directly enters the space through large windows open on both sides of the building, shaping spatial installations that make use of organic materials—for example, Lerole: footnotes (The struggle of memory against forgetting) (2017). Through these juxtapositions, the artist provides an unprecedented topography of her work, in which material installations and indigenous African architectural structures mingle with digital and immaterial pieces: an iridescent landscape that transforms according to the time of day and weather conditions.
Special thanks to the Henraux Foundation for the production of Mothabeng (2022). The work lerato laka le a phela le a phela le a phela / my love is alive, is alive, is alive (2022) is commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with Pirelli HangarBicocca.


The catalogue

The exhibition at Pirelli HangarBicocca will be complemented by the first monograph devoted to the artist. The catalogue brings together a plurality of visions and voices, including contributions from international art historians and critics such as Chus Martínez, Dr. Uhuru Phalafala and Kwanele Sosibo, as well as a text by the exhibition curators. Along with extensive photographic documentation of the exhibition project at Pirelli HangarBicocca, it includes an in-depth look at the work Lerole: The Struggle of Memory Against Forgetting (2017): a chronology compiled by the artist from her research on acts of rebellion and resistance claimed by generations of African people in the face of oppression and colonialisms.


The exhibition program

“Born in the first light of the morning [moswara’marapo]” is part of the 2022-2023 exhibition programme, conceived by Artistic Director Vicente Todolí in collaboration with the curatorial department: Roberta Tenconi, Curator; Lucia Aspesi, Assistant Curator; Fiammetta Griccioli, Assistant Curator. The program continues, in the Navate space, with the exhibitions of Bruce Nauman (until February 26, 2023); Ann Veronica Janssens (April 6 to July 30, 2023); and James Lee Byars (October 12, 2023 to February 18, 2024). The Shed space hosts Gian Maria Tosatti (February 23 to July 30, 2023); and Thao Nguyen Phan (September 14, 2023 to January 14, 2024).