//THREAD THK Gallery
By Linda Pyke

Thread is a flexible word. A signifier in a complicated tangle of signified. Straddling definitions like “a filament, a group of filaments twisted together”, it neatly side-steps into “a continuing element”, and leaps boldly through time and space to form “a series of electronic messages following a single topic or in response to a single message.”

Limber and elastic, this etymological mash-up spans both the material and immaterial and has at its core the idea of connection: a restless search, the ever-wandering line.
The artists in ‘//thread’ are conceptually and formally connected by this wandering line. From connections woven through society to experimental fabric use, they bring objects and concepts into dialogue: forging connections through a layering of concepts, materials and references.

Julio Rizhi, Mapping the Now Part 1

Pierre Henri le Riche is a conceptual artist with a practice spanning many mediums and techniques, and widely recognised for his dynamic use of string and textiles. He uses thread as structural element – both a connection point, an unravelling, and a space demarcation – and evokes a complex set of ready-made associations through material and colour use: exploring permeable gender roles and liminal identities. Weaving a complex set of associations, the threads running through his practice tap into a rich seam of metaphor and ambiguity.

Pierre le Riche Almost Gold, 2020 Cotton and acrylic thread on canvas 49 x 67 cm

Situating a personal search for meaning against a complex web of societal connections and relationships, Amanda Shingirai Mushate’s practice is rooted in identity. Deftly employing both the aesthetic qualities of the line and its abstract connotations, she depicts the complicated tangle of relationships that define us and that we in turn define, as we navigate our daily existence. Restless and suggestive, her abstract compositions evoke a dynamic ebb and flow.

Defying ready-made references and associations, Julio Rizhi’s tactile assemblages are meticulously crafted from found materials – plastics, wire – that were manufactured to satisfy a brief consumer need before being relegated to landfill. An obvious critique of our consumer society, the works are laced with a dark humour and subversive beauty, confusing cultural constructs by elevating the humble throw-away, and challenging conventions on aesthetics and value.

Amanda Mushate Inkanyezi (Star), 2020 Oil on canvas Courtesy of First Floor Gallery, Harare 185 x 170 cm

Weaving its way through ‘//thread’, a restless line connects the works, and snakes its way into a complex sea of ambiguous associations. In these divisive times, perhaps it’s the threads – the loose ends that bind and twist us together – that we should seek out.
//thread includes a special collaborative project between Nonzuzo Gxekwa and Pierre le Riche.

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