Om streken tillater, er formen med

Herman Mbamba

April 14 – May 9, 2021

BGE Contemporary is proud to announce our first upcoming exhibition with Herman Mbamba, "Om streken tillater, er former med". This will be Mbamba’s first presentation in several years consisting of both paintings as well as drawings.

Herman Mbamba (b. 1980, Namibia) began his studies in 1999 at the John Muafangejo Center, in Windhoek, Namibia, and continued on to receive a BA and MA degree at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo, Norway (2003-2008). He currently lives and works in Haugesund, Norway.

Stimulated by life and what life entails, Mbamba works with painting and drawing. Mbamba describes his work as a-political. The paintings are not limited to a nation or identity and is being incorporated from a subconscious point of view, based on what works in his practice.  Instead, his work focuses on the intimate process that lies in the painting, resulting in something in between the unrepresentative and the recognisable. 

In his practice, his body’s relationship with the surface is essential to his work. Mbamba does not work from sketches. His work develops during a fast pace process, before gradually slowing down as the art work develops. The finishing touches are completed on the floor, from a birds-eye view. The change in intensity of work, movements and point of perspective creates exciting compositions and influences the way the work is perceived by the viewer.  

Mbamba´s paintings are filled with layers upon layers of sensitive colour compositions, that provides the viewer with experiences of intense colour encounters. By narrow terms one could argue that his visual vocabulary is a shift between abstraction and figuration; a hybrid relationship between the two is highly fundamental within his visual vocabulary. The artist’s recent work has increased elements of these subtle transformations towards a distorted figuration, layered upon “landscapes” of abstraction. The lines of his strokes and pencil interplay between line and form, where the form gives way to content, and the lines function as a way of connecting the compositions into recognisable figures. Within the abstraction, shapes are born.

Herman Mbamba has participated in several group exhibitions, including We don’t need another hero (2018), the 10th Berlin Biennale curated by Gabi Ngcobo; the worldwide travelling exhibition Lumières d’Afriques (2016) where he represented Namibia; Chanting all glamouring, chirping(Munch Museet, Oslo, 2016); and Africa? Una Nuova Storia (Complesso Del Vittoriano, Rome, 2009). He is a founding member of the artist collective El Parche, who has exhibited work on La Otra Biennale in Bogotá, Columbia (2013), Hypocrisy: The Site Specificity of Morality (Museum He has taken part in several residencies and workshop programmes, including the BAT Centre residency in Durban, Caversham International Artists and Writers Centre in Kwazulu Natal (2002), Tulipamwe International Art Workshop(2002 – 2003) and the Thapong International Art Workshop (2002). 

Furthermore, Mbamba’s work is represented in several notable institutional and private collections, including the National Art Gallery of Namibia, the National Museum of Botswana, the Arts Association Heritage Trust of Namibia, the Tulipamwe International Artists Collection, Equinox Art Collection and Du Pisano Art Collection, Stavanger Kunstmuseum and Haugesund Billedgalleri.

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