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October 27, 2022–January 28, 2023

Opening reception: October 27, 5–7pm

in the absence of place
the planet’s foreigner exits any sense of geography
locality is lost, not here
nor there. stuck in movement (in the tide)
–Jota Mombaça, excerpt from what is coming for you is only dawn (2022)

The interdisciplinary artist’s first solo show in the US, Jota Mombaça: THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY, is presented by KADIST San Francisco and features a sizable sculptural installation together with sound and video pieces that investigate how water behaves and “the radicality of sinking.” This body of work by Brazilian-born, Amsterdam and Lisbon-based Jota Mombaça continues and arises from a cycle of performances focused on elemental ways of sensing that started earlier this year at the International Artists Studio Program in Stockholm, Sweden, de Appel Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and the future location of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo on the island of San Giacomo in Venice, Italy. These performances enmesh materiality and performativity with social and political commentary.

Drawing and writing are combined with installation, performance, sculpture, sound, and video in Jota Mombaça’s practice. Their research, which explores issues including global water transport, displacement, water control systems, queer mourning, and time travel, engages the ongoing horrors of the Transatlantic slave trade and the growing effects of the climate catastrophe.

The Venetian Lagoon, an Amsterdam canal, as well as brand-new commissions made in the San Francisco Bay Area’s San Pablo Bay, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean are just a few of the water-based sculptures made from cotton and linen fabrics that Jota Mombaça is showcasing for THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY. These three textile sculptures, Ghost 0, Ghost 2, and Ghost 1 (all 2022), seem to float around the exhibition and are held up by a steel framework that resembles whale rib bones. The gallery is changed into “a wordless spectral realm” and a “place of letting go” by Mombaça in reference to and as a holding location for the artist’s most recent performance pieces. A fourth fabric sculpture, Ghost 4(b), and two newly commissioned video pieces will be unveiled as part of an exhibition that reflects on the shifting dynamics of water.

THE SINKING SHIP/PROSPERITY by Jota Mombaça takes into account both the “climates” surrounding the artist’s most recent performances and the development of their material ties. The influence of Jota Mombaça’s acts, objects, and atmospheres carries on a long tradition of radical transfeminist activism by posing the question of what can be learned about decolonization and climate justice by paying attention to the water.

A monthly public program series called Currents animates Jota Mombaça’s exhibition, with a conversation between the artist and critic and philosopher Darla Migan; a performance for the debut of waterwill (2022), a video drawn from footage of the sculptures being sunk and resurfaced that will be projected onto Ghost 0, produced in collaboration with Anti Ribeiro and Darwin Marinho; and the release of a limited-edition publication of the artist’s drawings and poems. 

Current 1: Conversation with Jota Mombaça and Darla Migan, November 14, 2022

Current 2: Performance by Jota Mombaça and Debut of waterwill (2022), December 8, 2022

Current 3: Artist publication release, January 12, 2023

KADIST San Francisco 3295 20th Street
SF, California 94110
United States
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 12–5pm

[email protected]