Dallas Contemporary presents "We are Chorus," the first exhibition in the United States by South African artist Gabrielle Goliath. Goliath situates her practice within contexts marked by the traces, disparities and traumas of colonialism and apartheid, as well as socially entrenched structures of patriarchal power and rape-culture.
Following its initial debut at Goodman Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa in 2021, Goliath’s moving and monumental two-channel video and sound installation Chorus will open to new audiences in America. Housed in an immersive, elegiac audio-visual environment in which participants are encouraged to linger, two videos are projected onto large, free-standing blocks which are positioned in relation to each other and occupy darkened space with funeral gravity - and for good reason.
The work is an elegy to Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old student from the University of Cape Town who was brutally raped and murdered in 2019. The murder, which sparked national and international outrage, shone light on the epidemic of violence against women, children and LGBTIQ people in South Africa. Goliath’s work Chorus remembers and honors these victims of gender-based violence.
The searing 23-minute video captures a performance by the University of Cape Town Choir, who collectively sound a lament for Mrwetyana. Over the course of the performance, the choir sustains a collective hum - a single note spread across the vocal range of the choir. On the other block is projected an empty choir rostra, which sits in silent relation to the performance - its quietude marking the absent presence of women, children and LGBTIQ individuals killed in South Africa.
In its first showing, the work recalled the names of 463 victims on a commemorative roll within the exhibition space, covering the period of August 2019 to August 2021. The 2022 installation at Dallas Contemporary will include an updated list, as the work tracks the ongoing crisis of femicide in South Africa, calling participants to engage in the long, collective, and as we must hope, transformative work of mourning. Following its presentation at Dallas Contemporary, Chorus will travel to the Kochi-Muziris Biennale later in 2023.
The exhibition will remain on display through March 19, 2023.