Herman de Klerk | The Hunks of Muscle City
Solo Exhibition at Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg
08.06.19 – 26.08.19
Muscle City (est. 1923) is built on the pillars of strength, independence and community in Central Africa. It is a fortress of belonging for those alienated in contemporary society due to their love for the bodybuilding lifestyle.
The founders were a group of bodybuilders estranged due to their physical appearance and an increased industrial society. The movement was originally funded by a politician and strongmen from the former USSR. At its inception the movement drew members from 74 different nations and was hailed at the time as a multicultural haven. A big turning point came in 1939 after Muscle City declared itself an independent state and due to split opinions took a neutral stance on WWII. This amplified the cultural and moral divisions in the city and the dissociation between expatriates and from various countries is still visible today in the behaviour of the current generation.
In recent times the ruling party (The Social Democratic Party of Muscle City, or SDP) has been accused by critics of misleading propaganda practices, most notably the UFO crash-landing of 1999, as well as creating a biased border policy towards individuals from developing countries.
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Exhibition catalogue is available for view here.