27th Mar, 2017 15:00

Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 172
Lot 172 - Moshekwa Langa (South Africa 1975-)


Moshekwa Langa (South Africa 1975-)
she thought of him often

mixed media on paper,

Signature details: scribed with the title

Sold for R102,312
Estimated at R100,000 - R150,000


mixed media on paper,

Signature details: scribed with the title


140 x 100 cm


Moshekwa Langa’s somewhat enigmatic work She Thought of Him Often, rendered in mixed media, encapsulates his preoccupation with relations between disparate entities and between different people. Critic Nicola Brandt has identified Langa’s four main areas of expression as mapping, portraiture, figurative subjects and abstract works that include collage (2005:78).It is in the last that the present lot belongs although in its simplicity and sentimentality it evokes the idea of a figure, however absent. A characteristic, curved line presents “a lyrical and romantically personal creation,” according to Brandt (2005:79).The contrasting colours tell of a location or object in the darkness. We are divided in what it could be: a rosy letter or a bloody house. Either way, there is a sense of arrival and departure, gain and loss. Of the common element in his intentionally random (an oxymoron), but well-worked style, Brandt tells us, “A mysterious soft light glows from within. The scrawls, dripped and dragged paint activate the surface, drawing the viewer into the alchemy of the work” (2005:79).A naively rendered, entwined thread holds the image together. Langa provides us with a canny insight: that the absent couple may still tie the knot.Langa was born in 1975 in Bakenberg, 300 kilometres outside Johannesburg near Potgietersrus. Much has been written about his journey from the country to the city, first to the old Bantustan capital of KwaMhlanga in KwaNdebele and then to Pretoria where he schooled at the Max Stibbe Waldorf School founded on the principals of Rudolf Steiner. Through graffiti-like mapping and connecting of coloured thread he explores his own sense of place and “placelessness”.This he does while working abroad (mostly in Amsterdam), navigating the expectations people have of an African artist. It’s an element that has brought an inevitable tension to his work.In a very universal way, She Thought of Him Often tells us that while the object of affection may be far away, he is certainly not forgotten.

Matthew Krouse


Colombo, P. Brandt N, et al. (2005) Moshekwa Langa. Electa, DARC, Maxxi.

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Auction: Historic, Modern & Contemporary Art, 27th Mar, 2017

The Inaugural Cape Auction offed a diverse range of top-quality historic, modern and contemporary works. With a focus on critically engaged art and a curated approach, seasoned and new collectors competed to acquire significant works.

Aspire’s commitment to the growth of the art market saw international records broken in recognition of exiled South African artists. Louis Maqhubela’s Exiled King, a definitive, politically motivated work, sold for R341,040 - three times his previous record, and Albert Adams’ Untitled (Four Figures with Pitchforks), his first appearance at auction, sold for R136,416. Top prices were also achieved for established artists including J.H Pierneef, William Kentridge, and Edoardo Villa, and contemporary artwork fared exceptionally with record prices for David Brown, Steven Cohen, Mohau Modisakeng, Moshekwa Langa, and Mikhael Subotzky.


Friday 24 March 2017 | 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday 25 March 2017 | 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 26 March 2017 | 10 am – 4 pm

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