'Authentic/Ex-centric' - praise from the world press
Lynn Macritchie, "Out of Africa into the limelight"
Financial Times, June 22 2001
"Some of the most interesting exhibitions at the Venice Biennale are often not in the national pavilions of the Giardini or the ancillary spaces around the Arsenale nearby, but in the assorted palazzi, churches and buildings throughout the city pressed into service to accommodate the ever-growing diaspora of Biennale-related exhibitions and events.
"This year, the Palazzo Fondazione Levi in San Marco houses 'Authentic/Ex-centric', a group show of seven artists from Africa. ... The black South African artist Berni Searle in her video installation, Snow White, makes a simple point clearly and well. As she kneels naked on the ground, her black skin appears to turn white as it is dusted by white flour poured over her head. It gleams black again as a stream of water follows the flour, washing it from her skin. Scooping the fallen flour and water into her hands, she kneads them into dough to make flat bread, a process she learned from her mother.
"Also using the metaphor of bread is white South African artist Willem Boshoff in his installation, Panifice. In the inner courtyard of the Conservatorio di Musica near the palazzo, Boshoff has laid out on the ground a circle of 'loaves' made of granite, each on its own granite 'breadboard'. Each breadboard is inscribed in a different language, African or European, with the Biblical quotation 'What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will give him a stone?' Reading these ever-varying words with the sounds of the voices and instruments of the music students at their practice floating down between the dark, crenellated walls of this usually inaccessible space is one of this Biennale's more delicious moments."
Kim Levin, "Panic Attack: Navigating the Venice Biennale's Sprawling Interzone", Village Voice, June 25 2001
Full review: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0126/levin.shtml
"The demographics of the biennale ... are as myopic as ever, perpetuating stereotypes on all sides. Latin American artists are a long boat ride away, replicating their geographical distance. The few works from Africa are folksy or folkloric. 'Authentic Ex-centric', one of the best satellite exhibitions, provides an antidote with installations by nine artists of African ancestry, including Berni Searle, Yinka Shonibare, Godfried Donkor, and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons."
Coco Fusco, "When in Rome (or Venice)"
The Thing - http://bbs.thing.net, June 26 2001
"... the parallel exhibition 'Authentic Ex-centric' showcasing by African and African diaspora artists was a remarkable first step toward establishing a permanent and serious presence for African art in Venice."
Christine Temin, Boston Globe, July 1 2001
"My favorite works outside the Arsenale and Giardini were two installations from the show 'Authentic/Ex-centric: Africa In and Out of Africa': Willem Boshoff's commentary on which of the world's languages are propped up by officialdom and which are slated for extinction; and Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons's Spoken Softly With Mama."