Southern Guild is pleased to announce Honey, I’m Not Doing So Well by emerging artist, Nano Le Face, opening on 26 October and running until 15 November 2023.
The solo presentation stitches together Nano’s expanding world through an immensity of snapshot-like vignettes that capture the lustre, aspirational hedonism, social media obsession, melodrama and melancholy of contemporary youth culture. The immediacy of Nano’s chosen medium – coloured pencil and wax crayon on paper – is an apt vehicle for an insatiable maker. Drawing on discarded packaging, pulled pages from old books and the back of used envelopes, his work acts as a conceptual conduit for his lived and virtual experience. The artist’s social exchanges, his overheard conversations and consumed digital content are urgently filtered through a prolific process of making.
Born in Tshwane in 1999, Nano came to art-making during the COVID pandemic after a stint studying film. Self-taught, he spent a two-month period as an artist-in-residence at the GUILD Residency in Cape Town earlier this year. The residency prompted a notable upscaling in his works, largely informing the presented series of drawings.
Within each flattened frame – reduced to cross-hatched colour and line – Nano uses a lexicon of popular iconography and text as a means of sardonic storytelling and visual processing. His scrawled witticisms and borrowed aphorisms from film, music and literature contemplate the assimilated aspirations and existential hunger of his generation. The viewer becomes a privy voyeur, gaining access to moments of intimacy and confidential longing. These subjects’ temporal desires chronicle a broader observation of the Americanised models of success, visibility and beauty that characterise today’s virtual realm.
The artist’s sorority of female figures emotionally span both self-obsession and self-deprecation, come-hither bravado and raw vulnerability. Some of these idolised figures have been drawn from women in the artist’s life; their likenesses reflect the dichotomous reality of coming of age in a world whose social structures are in a state of dissolution and perpetual reinvention. Nano’s creative output is indicative of an artist born of this ‘Instagram generation’, the sheer repetition of his female figures echoes the mass production of consumerist culture and the ubiquity of content-producing influencers.