SANTIAGO MOSTYN - Your Shadow is a Mirror: Stockholm

7 January - 20 February 2021

It is with great pleasure we announce the opening of Your Shadow is a Mirror, Santiago Mostyn’s second solo-exhibition at the gallery, opening on Thursday, January 7, between 2-8 pm.


Santiago Mostyn (b. 1981) makes films, installations and performances that test the divide between disparate cultural spheres, employing an intuitive process to engage with a knowledge and history grounded equally in the body and the rational mind. He is based in Sweden but maintains strong ties to Zimbabwe and Trinidad & Tobago, the countries of his upbringing.


In the exhibition project Your Shadow is a Mirror, Santiago Mostyn puts the mechanics of photography into play as he extends his thinking around the fragility and potential of the ecstatic body.


The large, projected video triptych Altarpiece, explores the choreography of state control, and the euphoric release that can be triggered in the body under these conditions. The images and audio recordings in Altarpiece have been gathered over four years, starting with footage of the inauguration of the 45th American president, and going back in time to reflect the artist’s personal memories of major political events in Zimbabwe and the Caribbean. The reactionary gestures of individuals in two distinct, but connected, cultural spheres are the focus of this work. How do gestures carry over time, or across generations?


The second video work in the exhibition, The Promise, extends the timeline to prehistory. It is a rendering of the vertebra of an Alligator gar, a fish which is known as a “living fossil” as it has existed continuously since the Early Cretaceous era (more than 100 million years). Found by the artist during his travels on the Mississippi River, the vertebra hovers like a sculptural form, inviting a process of deep looking, and even giving a sense that the bone, with all its evolutionary knowledge, is looking back at us.


Flex is a found photograph presented first in the original format, and again as a monumental reproduction, too large to be unfolded in the exhibition space. Two people share a “flex,” an intimate moment on the dance floor. But how do we read this charged space as a viewer? The man is Black, the woman is white, and depending on one’s outlook it could read as a moment to believe in, a moment of unity – or a moment of fetish, and of cultural consumption. The scaling of this image, the “blowing up” of a thrown-away photograph, speaks to Mostyn’s desire to question neat assumptions about identity politics, and to open up a space for monumentality in the everyday.


Mostyn has exhibited widely at venues including the 12th Rencontres de Bamako (2019), Institut Suédois Paris (2019), Gothenburg Biennial (2017), Moderna Museet (2016), Kunsthall Stavanger (2014), and Performa13 in New York. Upcoming research fellowships in 2021 include Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, and Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. Mostyn also co-curated the Moderna Exhibition 2018: With the Future Behind Us, Moderna Museet’s most recent survey of contemporary art in Sweden.


Installation Views