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Cinga Samson (2023)


Edited by Honey Luard
Editorial assistance by Alex Bennett
Designed by
Text by Lwandile Fikeni and Tamar Garb

Printed by Pureprint, London
310 x 241mm
92 pages, colour illustrations throughout
ISBN 978-1-910844-61-8
Published by White Cube, 2023

A monograph on Cinga Samson, featuring the South African artist’s dreamlike large-scale tableaux and enigmatic portraits, is published on the occasion of his solo exhibition at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London (7 July – 26 August 2023).

Possessing qualities at turns hallucinatory and ceremonial, Samson’s work speaks to the fusion of material and metaphysical realms. Numerous full-bleed details display the complex gestures at work in Samson’s ritualistic compositions, where a privileging of communal belonging often invokes a mysterious, funereal atmosphere. Navigating the unknown, the devotional and divine, an essay by Lwandile Fikeni responds to Samson’s interest in the spiritual and philosophical systems of amaXhosa and their native language of isiXhosa – where Fikeni finds ‘a multidimensional system at play’ likewise present within Samson’s paintings. An essay by Tamar Garb explores the artist’s work and its relation to place. Despite the seemingly specific context of Cape Town’s urban landscape, Garb situates this hyperreal yet oneiric figuration in a space between the real and the imagined.

Designed by, the monograph features detailed reproductions of Samson’s cryptic portraits and scenes of collectivity. Interspersed are a sequence of studio photographs printed with inverse colouration which provide glancing notice of the meticulous and methodical labour involved in the artist’s work.

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Lwandile Fikeni lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a writer, creative director, art critic, award- winning arts journalist and the recipient of the Ruth First Fellowship.

Tamar Garb is Durning Lawrence Professor in the History of Art at University College London and a curator and scholar of modern and contemporary art.

Cinga Samson

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