M I L K is an interdisciplinary project founded in February 2022 by Zimbabwean painter Gillian Rosselli, the South African photographers Neena Borrill and Tosca Marthinus and Zimbabwe based Austrian photographer Martina Gruber. M I L K emerged as a necessary pop-up collaborative laboratory during the 2022 Cape Town Art Fair in celebration of visibility off the mainstream commercial art world. The 4 artists spontaneously shared a studio space in Cape Town for the initial period of 1 week and embarked on a journey of multiple performances, photo shoots, investigating and exploring frameworks of diverse socio-economic-political circumstances and realities. The work evolved under the umbrella of ‘Current Affairs 2022 – Conversations about the Body’

Morphogenic Distortia 2022

M I L K’s aim is to work as a collective in multiple safe, accepting environments where new narratives of this kind will be open to engaging conversations, allowing the artists to integrate individual ideas and explore possibilities of a common vision.

“The body of works M I L K creates and performs together with their bodies and the
camera are personal reactions to situations they witness, in person or from a
distance, in the past and in the present. Using their bodies as a language that communicates where words fail“.

As artists working in different mediums and coming from different social-cultural backgrounds we look at possible and extended areas of collaboration, cross-cultural, cross-national, cross-continental. Where does one individual end and the other begin? Where do we speak in one voice, where do we draw the line and where do we see possibilities and necessities to cross over and reach out and step into the other’s fields, and occupy fields together? Where do we agree and where do we disagree? How does the practice of using our bodies across various fields and practices indicate boundaries between 4 individuals resonate with the current practices of a collective?

The project is a creative, mutual, open, interdisciplinary and interactive approach of exploring the form, concept and presence of ‘collective’, translating and shifting a ‘collective’ into a variety of diverse fields and discourses, through performance, painting, drawing and photography. Where do we come across lines, how do we draw them, who draws them where, open or hidden?

Gillian Rosselli
Zimbabwean, b. 1962
Rosselli’s work reflects her preoccupation with social injustices of migration and the impacts of colonialism. Her recent performance series discusses identity constructions, wearing queer labels, family constellations and the need to imagine freedom. Rosselli has exhibited locally and internationally including the ground breaking exhibition, ‘Five Bhobh – Painting At the End of an Era’ first major exhibition of contemporary Zimbabwe practice, exhibited at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town in 2018.

Martina Gruber
Austria, b. 1968
In the tradition of American writer Joan Didion, Gruber photographs solely to find out what she is thinking, what she is looking at, what she is seeing and what that means. Gruber is a photographer, social anthropologist, a wanderer, a gatherer of inspiration from journeys. As an artist Martina explores the medium of still and moving images, printmaking and is drawn to the seemingly unremarkable, peoples’ stories, reflections and the wide view. Her works are observations of her changing surroundings in the social landscapes and tell narratives around the beauty and challenges of everyday life.

ToscaNeena is a photography couple originating from Cape Town, South Africa, formed by Tosca Marthinus and Neena Borrill in 2019.

They unify their ideas when creating a shoot. Their focus medium is photography; however, they explore other mediums as well such as mixed media, video and sound installation. Their subject matter is comprised of objects or people in a simplified frame, all shot in black and white. They use manual in-shot techniques to manipulate or distort the final idea, without any post production. They use their creative liberty to bend the rules of commercial photography and aesthetic conventions to portray themes of psychology and social conditioning. Matching visuals to human emotions or states of psyche is achieved through camera techniques which blur the subject.

From the series ‘Not the Ladies’ 2022 by ToscaNeena


From the series ‘Femizide’ 2022 by Rosselli Gruber


From the series ‘Love is Love’ 2022 by Rosselli Gruber


From the second M I L K Edition 2022


From the ‘Umbilical Cord’ series 2022 by Gill Rosselli


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