Eye spy? More artworks by the enigmatic Nano le Face have been be popping up across the South African art scene. The artist explores a world of glamour, melodrama and the dichotomy of white womanhood in satirical scenes infused with a distinctive, wry wit. Nano’s world of Bettys and Veronicas pulls us in - but who is Nano le Face?
Let’s start from the beginning. Adopting and adapting phrases from his immediate environment, text sets the stage for Nano’s artworks. Reminding us of the late Robert Hodgins (who also favoured a satirical title), Nano’s artworks provide audiences with sharp, succinct critiques of and insights into the current zeitgeist with a focus on capitalism, consumption and popular culture. The phrases may be strangely specific but the accompanying scenes often lend to an air of mystery, ultimately leaving the interpretation thereof in the viewer’s hands.
Nano’s selective use of colour and his bold approach to line are reminiscent of the comic books that defined our youth. Le Face’s snapshot scenes are further enhanced by his visual lexicon; this was developed in response to an impossible-to-forget era of raunchy print magazines, drawing inspiration from popular culture and luxury advertisements. Interesting enough, a few of Nano’s subjects form a part of this lexicon, allowing the artist to seamlessly build up his characters over time.
Wearing short skirts (if anything), smoking cigarettes in 2023, cloaked in melodrama, these women are simultaneously distant from and relatable to Nano’s audiences. Who is The American? What did The Italian do? Their opacity reinforces the enigmatic savoir-faire that has come to define Le Face’s oeuvre.
Initially gaining traction on Instagram, Nano le Face developed a dedicated base of collectors, catching the eye of many prominent art folks. He has since been exhibiting sporadically with the gallery in Johannesburg and has recently finished up his stint at the prestigious GUILD residency. We can’t wait to see where his voice takes us.
things to consider, R1,800, ex. VAT
those days, R2,000, ex. VAT
Curated by Denzo Nyathi.
Further Reading In Articles
African Artist Directory