Kadist: Jota Mombaça, “The Sinking Ship/ Prosperity”
Location: San Francisco CA, USA
Dates: 27 October 2022 – 28 January 2023
For THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY at KADIST San Francisco, interdisciplinary artist Jota Mombaça presents a new large-scale sculptural installation accompanied by sound and video works exploring water’s restless, elemental properties and “the radicality of sinking.” During the course of the exhibition, Mombaça will install these works in stages, activate them through conversation and performance, and expand them with an artist publication of drawings and poetry, in a series of subversive actions that gesture toward the possibilities of a foreboding future.
This exhibition continues a cycle of work that Mombaça began earlier this year: in the tired watering (2022), a performance at the future site of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo on the island of San Giacomo in Venice, what is coming for you is only dawn (2022), a performance in Stockholm commissioned by the International Artists Studio Program, and sinking could be (2022), a performance that was part of the ‘Super Feelings’ program at de Appel Amsterdam. These performances moved between the mediums of sculpture, poetry, and installation, introducing performance objects, poems that guided the performances, and surrounding atmospheres.
THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY expands on and makes material connections to this body of performance works. Ghost 0 (2022), a sculpture made from 160 feet of cotton that has been submerged in a Venetian lagoon, dredged up, and dried to reveal the sediments of the waters in its creases and folds, will flow through the gallery space supported by steel armature resembling whale rib bones. Alongside Ghost 0 will be a trio of newly commissioned sculptures: fabric works comprised of bleached and dyed cobalt and black linen sunk in the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay that will be resurfaced and installed before and during the exhibition. These supernatural sculptures will be joined by a video projection and a two-channel sound installation, creating a transportive experience of submersion, which Mombaça describes as a “wordless spectral realm” and a “place of letting go.”
Mombaça’s artistic research engages both the continuing traumas of the Transatlantic slave trade and the rapidly increasing impact of climate change. Absorbed by the inherent tensions of these urgent subjects, their work traverses topics such as displacement, environmental racism, and time travel. In THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY, the artist carries on a deep practice of radical transfeminist activism by asking what we might learn about decolonialism and combating climate change by listening to the water.