fbpx Biennale Arte 2024 | Ernest Mancoba
La Biennale di Venezia

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Ernest Mancoba

Johannesburg, South Africa, 1904 – 2002, Clamart, France

  • TUE - SUN
    20/04 > 30/09
    11 AM - 7 PM
    01/10 > 24/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Ernest Mancoba, a descendant of the migrant Mfengu people, was born to an Evangelist miner and educator mother. He received a missionary Anglican education before discovering his talent for sculpture. Danish Linien artists and his visit to the British Museum, where he explored a collection of Central African masks, underpin his crossover into the medium of painting and his adoption of abstraction. Evident in the top half of Composition (1940) is a distinctive diamond pattern, which is coupled with a V-shape and chevron repetitions. Together, these motifs bear a striking resemblance to the Kuba Mbwoom helmet-masks from the Congo. It is believed he saw this kind of mask while at the British Museum. Composition was created eight years before Mancoba joined the international CoBra art collective. In its abstract style, it is strikingly apparent that Mancoba had already done away with the realistic representations that typify the earlier sculptural work he had produced before leaving South Africa.

This is the first time the work of Ernest Mancoba is presented at Biennale Arte.

—Zamansele Nsele

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte