Culture Review - 'Man of the Hour'

Published 17 November 2022 in Press

Culture Review

Samson Mnisi's paintings ask one core question: What is Africa? His reply? It is not a begging bowl, a raised fist, bankrupted state, black face, but a subtracted and abstracted forcefield. Mnisi projects a psychic inscape - inner worlds explosive, turbulent, crossected, circled, obsessive signaling of Nietzsche's Eternal Recurrence. Motifs repeat themselves, life seen as variations of a single dance. Colours are bold, sometimes noisily acidic. But it's the artist's physical drive that emerges most powerfully - the muscularity of vision, fearless, dionysian. One senses an artist who, like Nietzsche's Superman, will not be checked by custom, who would rather hurl us into a maelstrom and watch us sink or swim. Here lies Samson Mnisi's daring. He is not locked in the boxes and binds of thought, though there is a striking grid in his works which repeats itself - sliced circles, for example.

However, his circles and lines are never clean or mathematical, instead they tremble and grind as though alive, even cosmic, because Mnisi's vision is not of South Africa as an idea, or place corrupted by a psychopathological colonial inheritance - or the bankruptcy of its current failed democracy - but a spirit world. Mnisi sings our hidden lives into existence, thrusts us deeper into ourselves, while also thrusting us outward into the cosmos. He is unbounded, calculatedly ungoverned, as mortal as he is beyond the pale - free. Which is why Nietzsche comes to mind, why Mnisi seems a living embodied of a creative and personal struggle that has been brilliantly whipped into shape.

His creative signature is unmistakable. He has fused symbols and geometry with Abstract Expressionism, an interstellar vision of God with a dervish-like mania that echoes the ghost of Jackson Pollock. But what he has most potently achieved is a vision singularly his own, which is why he is the Man of the Hour, of this moment in time, this slice in history. When those from the future revisit our world, our life and our time, Samson Mnisi's paintings will surface - if they are not already indelible markers - to reveal all that was great and good and most profoundly intuitive - ever unflinchingly searching.


Man of The Hour by Samson Mnisi
In collaboration with Asisebenze Art Atelier and Studio Nxumalo
Date: 06 October 2022
Time: 18:00 pm

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Culture Review - Man of the hour

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