Epheas Maposa og Nanna Starck: Ugly Feelings
11 maj 202324 aug 2023

Nanna Starck: Anal Loss II 2020. Pressefoto, Collega.

Anbefalet under Det skal du se! uge 19.


Collega præsenterer UGLY FEELINGS i med værker af Epheas Maposa og Nanna Starck, kurateret i samarbejde med Harare, Zimbabwe-baseredeVillage Unhu.

In collaboration with Harare, Zimbabwe-based art platform Village Unhu, Collega presents Ugly Feelings with works by Epheas Maposa (b. 1994) and Nanna Starck (b. 1976) investigating the aesthetics of emotions. The exhibition title comes from Sianne Ngai’s 2005 book, a central text in the cultural field of affect theory. In her book, Ngai uses literature and contemporary culture to describe how negative, ambiguous emotions such as envy, irritation and paranoia, block or suspend action. Ngai further explores how ugly feelings are specifically experienced by minority groups — how envy, considered a shameful emotion, is an understandable response to perceived inequality.

Through grotesque imagery, Maposa and Starck comment on social structures and psychological states: In her drawings, reliefs and sculptures depicting grotesque bodily scenarios, Starck plays with ancient art historical concepts and ugliness to provoke emotional response in viewers. In his paintings, Maposa takes European and African painting traditions and creates optically distorted scenarios that bear witness to the collapse of Zimbabwe’s political structures and subsequent effect on the Zimbabwean national psyche. Epheas Maposa is a self-taught painter who joined Village Unhu in 2013 where he received mentorship from painter Misheck Masamvu. Maposa’s colourful paintings depict surreal and macabre scenarios, between dream and nightmare, often with half-human, half-animal figures with frozen smiles. Ugly Feelings co-curator Georgina Maxim from Village Unhu writes: “Maposa’s work is marred by scenes of decapitated and mutilated figures, but has remained rich in colour, leaving various feelings of mangled positions, suffocating heads and painful frowns…” For the exhibition Maposa is presenting a new work painted directly on the walls of Collega. The painting will only exist for the duration of the exhibition.

Alongside Maposa, Nanna Starck will show new reliefs made for the exhibition. In her sculptures and reliefs, Starck merges absurd depictions of contorted bodies with everyday objects such as acrylic nails, cigarettes, tennis socks and Crocs sandals. Influenced by the philosopher Julia Kristeva’s theorisation of “the abject” in her 1980 book Powers of Horror, Starck frames the human body in unexpected compositions, aiming to remind viewers of their own body and corporeality. With her new bas-reliefs made in foam, painted concrete, wax and everyday objects, Starck depicts bodies with open holes, objects and fingers passing in and out of them. Starck pokes the eye, picks at the wound and sticks her fingers in, trying to provoke ugly feelings.

Accompanying the exhibition guide is an essay by co-curator Georgina Maxim. “Bewitching Hour Drawings” relates the after-effects of the civil conflict in Zimbabwe between 1964–1979 to ugly feelings: “We have become war veterans in how we hide feelings and emotions. We have come up with a dictionary to console ourselves, slang in its nature that has held back these ugly feelings of no change, no better future and no reprieve.”

Village Unhu, based in Harare, Zimbabwe, is an artist-led platform that evolved from a grassroots initiative into an established residency space, studio space, workshop and gallery space.

Collega presents exhibitions developed in collaboration with international artists and curators. The foundation of the space is co-curation as practice. Collega emphasises the collective process in exhibition-making as a patient gathering of works – on loan, in care, as nourishment.


Flensborggade 57
1669 København V

Tors kl 13-17


22 76 65 74

Epheas Maposa og Nanna Starck: Ugly Feelings
11 maj 202324 aug 2023


'Epheas Maposa og Nanna Starck: Ugly Feelings'