There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

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Visual Art
All ages
Monument Façade

Language: Non-verbal
Company: James Webb

James Webb’s THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT is part of an ongoing series of neon text works in which he has appropriated the title of a 1986 song by iconic British band The Smiths and translated it into carefully selected languages – Chinese, Arabic, Tupi Guarani, isiZulu. Cast in sky-white neon, the anthemic lyrics are transformed from their musical origins into a visual event that conjures open-ended cultural and site-specific associations.

Alternating between local and national forms of community and identity, the isiXhosa version brings to bear the history and geography of the site, its festival. The isiXhosa translation “Kukho Ukukhanya Okungasoze Kuphele” can be personalised in different ways by the incidental audiences that come across it, offering those who know its meaning a sense of hope and wonder. The work plays out a dual sense of romance and longing, as well as having spiritual and political overtones.

  • This work is mounted on the facade of the Monument and is best viewed from sunset, around 17:00

About James Web

Webb is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is framed as large-scale installations in galleries and museums or unannounced interventions in public spaces. Informed by his academic studies in advertising, comparative religion and theatre, he often makes use of ellipsis, displacement and détournement to explore the nature of belief, and the dynamics of communication in our contemporary world. Webb’s practice employs a variety of media including audio, installation and text, referencing aspects of the conceptualist and minimalist traditions.

In 2012, Webb was the subject of the survey show MMXII at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Recent projects include La Syzygie, a multi-dimensional reading of the Théâtre Graslin in Nantes, and the creation of Prayer (Stockholm) for Historiska, Stockholm (both 2016). His first solo exhibition in France, Hope Is A Good Swimmer, was presented at Galerie Imane Farès in Paris. In 2017, Webb participated in Tamawuj, the 13th Sharjah Biennale curated by Christine Tohme, Afriques Capitales curated by Simon Njami at La Villette, Paris, and presented his first major work for radio, The War Of The Worlds, as part of Every Time A Ear Di Soun, curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and co-curated by Marcus Gammel for documenta 14.

  • James Webb is represented by blank projects, Cape Town, and Galerie Imane Farès, Paris.
  • This installation forms part of the Creativate Digital Arts Festival – see the FULL CREATIVATE PROGRAMME



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