Kudzanai-Violet Hwami‘s exhibition “A Making of Ghosts” at Victoria Miro in London through May 13, 2023, presents a collection of new works that explore memory and grief through a combination of paintings and large-scale photographic images. The exhibition reflects on how we construct a sense of self in a digitally saturated world, using autobiographical fragments from personal archives and online sources.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami’s paintings incorporate visual elements from a variety of places, including personal photographs, online archives, and images that evoke internal and private curiosities. Her works probe how we perceive and understand ourselves and others in a complex social reality that is increasingly image-based.
The exhibition is spread across two levels of the gallery, with large-scale photographic images suspended in the space or printed on vinyl that stretches from floor to ceiling. Many of the images represent family photographs, which serve as touchstones for reflections on grief and the fragmentary and disorienting effects of memory.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami‘s work often references the fallibility of memory, exploring how images are produced and reproduced, imposing themselves on us while becoming detached from their original sources. Through her process, the artist questions things that seem fixed or definitive, opening up spaces of imagination and discovery that draw on her childhood in Zimbabwe and South Africa, her interest in metaphysics and spirituality, and contemporary expressions of black and queer identity.
Kudzanai-Violet Hwami uses a collage approach that folds historical painting into an analog layering of formats, similar to the layering of images we associate with social media platforms. “I think I’m looking for freedom,” Kudzanai-Violet Hwami said. “Collage, which is a process I use to create an image, has given me absolute freedom as a strategy…”
In the context of “A Making of Ghosts,” the digital and physical processes employed by Kudzanai-Violet Hwami – collage, repetition, layering, and scaling – are intrinsically linked to notions of proximity in time and space, and how images and the stories that accompany them are infinitely constructed and reconstructed, living within us and beyond us.
“A Making of Ghosts” by Kudzanai-Violet Hwami is a poignant and evocative exhibition that invites viewers to consider the role of images in shaping our experiences and memories. Through her layered approach, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami creates a space for reflection and contemplation, inviting us to engage in our own lives.