Patrick Mautlao

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Full Biography

From the Bag Factory (Fordsburg Art Studios), his artistic home base in downtown Johannesburg, which he helped to set up in 1992, Mautloa observes and draws inspiration for bold, vivacious canvases and assemblies composed of objets trouvés from the vibrant street life around him. People are at the centre of his work, shown in shadowy, rather mask-like outlines as surfaces for projection of their social environment, with multiple layers of paint, textiles, etc. evoking hidden complexities and giving the spectator space to explore the underlying imagery. Integrated random objects, urban debris or construction works elements reveal our society as a work in progress and are at the same time mementoes of the personal histories that people carry with them. All the more important that the observer/spectator keeps an open mind for unexpected and enlightening encounters.

Mautloa works in an abstract form language as well as with figurative elements, both intensified in an interplay with different textures and base materials. Apart from people in their urban surroundings, music is a defining theme, because like the fine arts, music is a means to overcome the restrictiveness and absoluteness of the spoken/written word and to explore subconscious perception.

Born in Ventersdorp, South Africa, in 1952, Mautloa lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied art at Rorke’s Drift Art Centre, KwaZulu-Natal, where he obtained a Fine Art Diploma in 1978 and at the Mofolo Art Centre in Johannesburg. Before concentrating on his career as an artist, Mautloa worked in the Graphic Design Studio of the SABC from 1981-1992. With David Koloane, Bill Ainslie and other South African artists he was involved in the formation of the Thupelo Workshops in 1985, which are part of the international Triangle Network. He taught at FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists) from the early 1980s and was instrumental in the Thupelo Gallery there.

Selected exhibitions:

  • 1988 The Neglected Tradition, Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • 1989 Sponsored by USSALEP to attend Triangle Workshop, New York State
    Two-person show with Bongi Dhlomo, Grassroots Gallery, Durban
    Triangle Workshop Exhibition, Third Havana Biennale, Cuba
  • 1994 Unlocked, first solo show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 1995 Hassan, Koloane and Mautloa, Newtown Galleries, for Africus Johannesburg Biennale
    Kunst aus Südafrika, Adenauer Foundation, St Augustin, Germany
    Ubuntu, Kunst aus Südafrika, Museum of Ethnology, Vienna
  • 1996 Naledi, Deutsche Welle, Cologne, Germany
    Colours: Art from South Africa, House of the Cultures of the World, Berlin, Germany
  • 1997 If You Scratch, Two person show with David Koloane, Gallery on the Round, Grahamstown, then to Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
    Installed Wall, a reconstructed façade of a shack in a dead space in the Generator Room at the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997
  • 1999 Kagiso in Johannesburg, Solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2003 Tracking, Solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2012 In the Viewing Room, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2014 Mid-Career Retrospective, Mashumi Art Project in cooperation with Eyethy Lifestyle Centre, Soweto

Mautloa’s work is included in many important South African public and private collections.