Nolan Oswald Dennis is a Zambian interdisciplinary artist based in South Africa. Through drawing, painting and installation, his work takes you on a journey through time, space and memory. His art is often a reaction to African history, popular memory, and information systems. 

“I am interested in aspects of social fiction: mapping the contours of our highly coded human environment, reading the signs/ciphers/markers of blackness in thisness, the mechanics of imaginary topologies and the collapse of social certainty. Through distorting, dismantling and dissenting archival notions of memory, my current work tries to map a history, write a present and trace a future. Using African counter-memory to populate the liminal space between the tactical fictions and strategic realities of contemporary South Africa and Africa. By reprogramming mythologies, fragmenting superstitions and exploring vernacular imaginings of the future and self, I try to stretch the possibilities of my own existence. I aim for collaborative processes and locating work in the negotiated public spaces of the metropolis – walls, surfaces, pavements, vectors, openings, spaces between, ” writes Dennis, who has exhibited in South Africa, Ghana and France. 

Dennis's latest work, Options, is his second solo exhibition with Goodman Gallery. Consisting of a new series of drawings, diagrams and systems, the exhibition considers our present moment in which 20th-century social fictions have re-emerged. Dennis grapples with this idea in relation to the linguistic and visual limits of (post)colonial language, attempting to map the terrain of local and global power through work that subverts our idea of linear time and space. For Dennis, this approach is an intrinsic part ‘of thinking, being in, making, fixing, breaking, changing, or ending the world’. This translates to work that envisions a transformed world that exists 'somewhere beside the dream'.

The exhibition opens at 18H00 on Thursday 24 January.


Dennis holds a degree in Architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and a Masters of Science in the Art, Culture and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).