Coded Inscriptions: Blessing Ngobeni's "Chaotic Pleasure'
July 6, 2020 - Review by Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti | Artthrob
The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines Stockholm Syndrome as ‘the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with their captor.’ It is hard to make sense of the multiple problems we face in this fast-moving world, so we soldier on like we are addicted to the disorder. Blessing Ngobeni’s ‘Chaotic Pleasure’ invites us to pause and reflect on the complex issues of power and abuse. It is also an ideal critical response to the confusing, dramatic, and uncertain times we are caught up in. The exhibition includes large scale mixed media paintings, sculpture and drawings in the artist’s trademark animated form. The artist also incorporates fascinating coded inscriptions. The work is featured in the inaugural virtual National Arts Festival (vNAF), itself a response to the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Ngobeni is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art for 2020.
The work in this exhibition addresses many issues traversing from the intensely personal – A Thing Of The Past Haunts I-VI finds Ngobeni reflecting on a troubled past in the countryside, and in the urban jungle that is Johannesburg – to the pressing forces of the everyday. Key national problems like the contentious land ownership issue, tribalism, and corruption that derails progress are not spared in this conceptually rich, raw, and uncompromising show. Ngobeni is a proud African who wants to see a united continent moving forward, embracing progress. This is seen through his damning critique of xenophobia and the genocides of the past. In Shopping For Black Skin I & II, the artist also problematizes conflicts fueled by the outside world bent on stealing the continent’s resources amidst the chaos they create in cahoots with greedy African puppet leaders.
To read more, follow the link to full review here: https://artthrob.co.za/2020/07/06/coded-inscriptions-blessing-ngobenis-chaotic-pleasure/