Mar 28, 2018-Aug 26, 2018
After the Thrill is Gone
After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion, Politics and Culture in Contemporary South African Art features fourteen artists who read the political climate of post-apartheid South Africa through fashion’s embrace of the “new.” Signaling an end to race-based legislation and the often violent, discriminatory practices of apartheid and its colonial antecedents, Nelson Mandela’s victory in the 1994 elections marked the transition toward a new South Africa.
Similar to the use of quotation and repetition in fashion—modes endlessly reiterated each season—South Africa’s continued legacies of dispossession and inequality render the present day country insubstantially different from its apartheid predecessor. These cycles of repetition expose the reality of South Africa’s social conditions. And yet, despite fashion’s appearance as unchanging, its capacity to anticipate the future endows it with a power to radically transform the present.
The artists in After the Thrill is Gone use fashion to shape narratives of representation, identity, memory, xenophobia, violence in the domestic sphere, and allegories of nationalism. Both individually and collectively, these artists locate fashion as a political language and reinterpret the historical terrain of South Africa after the thrill of apartheid’s end is gone.