Ralph Ziman, Untitled, moab entrada paper w/ultrachrome hdr ink, 2015. Image courtesy of the artist
The Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present South African born artist, Ralph Ziman’s, Ghosts. Ziman’s work confronts the complex socioeconomic and political circumstances of the multinational; multibillion-dollar African arms trade industry that moves weapons exclusively to Africa’s interior borders.
Intrigued by the duality of terror and worship that firearms, particularly the AK47, hold in African culture, Ziman collaborated with artisans working in the streets of Johannesburg to create a complex body of work that subverts the international arms trade plaguing African culture. The nonlethal weapons mimic the shape of the most infamous and widely used assault rifle world wide, along with thousands of rounds of beaded ammunition rendered in traditional Shona style beading. The photographs in GHOSTS document the six months of full time work provided for six African craftsmen who paused their usual production of wire animals for tourists, while simultaneously critically exploring the almost fashion-like obsession the culture has with these deadly weapons.This exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Joseph F Gross Endowment, Lionel Rombach Endowment, and the University of Arizona School of Art.
Ralph Ziman is a writer/director/producer whose work includes Hearts and Minds, the first independent South African feature film to be completed after apartheid, which premiered at the Berlin and Montreal International Film Festivals, and Jerusalem (Gangster’s Paradise in the US & UK), released to critical and box office acclaim and South Africa’s official entry to the 2008 Academy Awards Foreign Language section. Ralph lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children where he maintains a studio in Venice Beach and is focusing on his art practice and a planned documentary component to the Ghosts series. He has also directed over 400 videos for artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Michael Jackson, Shania Twain and Rick James, winning numerous MTV awards.