Opening on October 7, Remai Modern is excited to present the first major survey exhibition in Canada of Canadian-French artist Kapwani Kiwanga. Kiwanga creates installation, sculpture, and performance as well as video and sound pieces to explore the relationships between historical narratives, systems of power, and the use of material within these contexts.
The exhibition Remediation focuses on Kapwani Kiwanga’s most recent research into how humans and the natural environment respond to toxicity and undertake regeneration. Kiwanga investigates these events, their intended and unintended outcomes, and the repercussions they pose for the present and future.
Be sure to join co-curators November Paynter and Johan Lundh for a talk and tour of this powerful exhibition on October 6 at 6 PM. Co-organized by Remai Modern and MOCA Toronto, see some of the first installation shots below and learn more about the natural occurrences that Kiwanga draws from in her work.
“I like to look at cycles and things that are changing, constantly moving, and pockets of knowledge and how we move between them and are richer for it.”
—Kapwani Kiwanga for Canadian Art
Kiwanga’s artistic practice has long underscored the importance of nature’s role in our society. She focuses on how the environment responds to human intervention and the role that plants have in our own health and quality of life. As she has delved more deeply into environmental events, Kiwanga’s installations offer an interesting look at form and texture, while demonstrating how human histories often shape the natural world.
“All the organic or geological material I use, I see all these materials as witnesses… I am quite frustrated with text and image as the main witnesses or documents of a past event. I think the natural world is a different kind of witness to human history and it can help us think about documentation in different ways. The materials I use are always chosen for their historical or political importance, it’s never simply because I love their materiality.”
—Kapwani Kiwanga for Artnet
The exhibition includes new works by Kiwanga that look at the impacts of different natural phenomena. She explores fire as a destructive and regenerative force, the pollution of waterways and regeneration through plant-life, and the importance of shade, all of which are all of critical concern in Saskatchewan and around the world today. Kiwanga specifically references the botanical gardens in the city of Hamilton, where she grew up. There, plants have been carefully nurtured near a prominent industrial area that has been degraded. The exhibition title, Remediation, is based on this delicate relationship between the environment and human activity.
“Ongoing in my work is the notion of plants as allies in various human endeavours… I don’t believe in a pristine, untouched, pre-contact place.”
—Kapwani Kiwanga for Designlines Magazine
Down to the roots
Take a deeper look at Kiwanga’s practice through these selected interviews and articles, elaborating on concepts that stem from her knowledge in anthropology, history, and documentary filmmaking.
Kapwani Kiwanga: Remediation is on view at Remai Modern from October 7, 2023 – February 26, 2024.
The exhibition is co-organized by Remai Modern and MOCA Toronto.
About the artist
Kapwani Kiwanga is an artist who has emerged in recent years as a highly acknowledged figure within the international contemporary art scene. In 2018, she received both the inaugural Frieze Artist Award (USA) and the Sobey Art Award (Canada), and in 2020 she won the Prix Marcel Duchamp (France).
After completing studies in Anthropology and Comparative Religion at McGill University, with a focus on medical anthropology and an idea of going into documentary filmmaking, Kiwanga turned to the visual arts and attended École normale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she is now based. Drawing on her education, experiences, ongoing research and commitment to observation, Kiwanga produces work across a wide variety of artistic mediums to explore the plurality of histories.