Archive: Issue No. 54, Februray 2002

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.

20.02.02 'Ubuntu' at the Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie in Paris
13.02.02 Frances Goodman on 'Unprincipled Passions', Southampton
23.01.02 Hentie van der Merwe on 'Forms of Violence' in Cologne
23.01.02 SA artists at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris

20.02.02 William Kentridge - Parkett edition/'The Armory Show', New York
06.02.02 'Shooting Resistance' - SA photography at Axis Gallery, New York
30.01.02 Zwelethu Mthethwa at the Forum for Contemporary Art, Washington
30.01.02 'The Short Century' at PS1 in New York
16.01.02 'Africaine' at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
09.01.02 Siemon Allen on 'Context and Conceptualism' in New York


Shona doll

Shona doll

'Ubuntu' at the Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie in Paris

'Ubuntu: Art and Culture in South Africa' is a major exhibition of South African traditional art, with objects borrowed from public and private collections. It is the first time that a French national museum has held an important exhibition of this kind. It focuses on everyday, personal and utilitarian objects based on four themes: authority and power, everyday life, cult of the ancestors, and individual and collective identities. As part of a training programme sponsored by the French Embassy, Churchill Madikida will spend six weeks in Paris to follow the preparation of the exhibition. A researcher of traditional cultures at the University of the Witwatersrand, Madika has also been trained as curator for the African Collection of the Gertrude Posel Gallery.

Opening: February 19
Closing: June 17

Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris

Frances Goodman on 'Unprincipled Passions', Southampton

Work by South African artist Frances Goodman, best known in South Africa for curating the 'Juncture' exhibition in 2000, is currently included on a group show exploring observation and the private/public gaze at the University of Southampton.

"As observation, surveillance and communication based media have developed during the 20th century, the oppurtunity to maintain a distinction between public and private identities has become increasingly difficult. Reflecting an artistic fascination with the penetration of these technologies into the public and private spaces of everyday life, 'Unpricipled Passions' presents the work of a number of artists whose concern with autobiography, confession, emotion and intimacy allows them to, on the one hand infiltrate this controversial territory and, on the other, offer a critique."

Other artists on the show are Vito Acconci, Sophie Calle, Philippine Hoegen, Mako Idemitsu, Mark Lewis, Hayley Newman and Gillian Wearing.

Opening: February 5
Closing: March 23

John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, S017 1BJ
Tel: 023 8059 2158
Fax: 023 8059 4192

Hentie van der Merwe

Hentie van der Merwe
Transvaal Horse Artillery (Colonial), Officer (1903-1913), South Africa

Hentie van der Merwe on 'Forms of Violence' in Cologne

Johannesburg artist Hentie van der Merwe is part of a distinguished line-up including Jenny Holzer, Rosemarie Trockel and Abramovic/Ulay on 'Forms of Violence' which opens at the Galerie Gabriele Rivet on January 25. Van der Merwe's contribution is a piece linked to a series last seen on his show at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg in which he photographed old army uniforms from a military museum.

The artist will also be part of the Galerie Gabriele Rivet's show at Art Brussels 2002 at the beginning of May. And at about the same time, one will be able to see his work in Torino, Italy - he has been invited to make an installation for 'Big Torino 2002', the 2nd Internationale Biennale of Young Art to take place from April 19 to May 19. Check out the website for that event at

'Forms of Violence' will run from January 25 to March 9.

Galerie Gabriele Rivet, Jülicher Str 27, 50674, Köln, Germany
Tel: 0221 31 92 54
Fax: 0221 31 96 28

SA artists at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris

Paris's new site for contemporary arts - previously home to the Musée national d'art moderne, before itmoved to the Pompidou - the Palais de Tokyo opened its doors on January 22 for a free five-day preview, before its official launch on January 29.

An extensive programme of events is planned, full details of which can be accessed on the website. Among the numerous names cited is Kay Hassan, one of 18 artists presenting solo projects that herald "the various directions in which the Palais de Tokyo will be working in the coming years". And Kendell Geers is listed as a participating artist in Tokyo TV. Rather than a collection of artists' videos, Tokyo TV is described as "a group of artists' viewpoints laid over a TV programme grid (current events, talk shows, commercial advertisements, sports, scientific or cultural programmes) ..."

Also of particular interest is the appearance of Beninoise artist (now resident in Amsterdam) Meschac Gaba's Museum of Contemporary African Art. This is an ongoing work, a "travelling museum" that Gaba has been developing in various art institutions since 1997. The Salon is the 11th "room" of the museum, and visitors are invited to "drop in and spend some time there, read a book or play the different games that are provided" - including an online game developed by the artist, called Awélé. The work will be on view until September.

Palais de Tokyo, 13 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France
Tel: (33 1) 47 23 38 86
Hours: Tues - Sun noon - midnight
Admission: 5 euros


William Kentridge

William Kentridge
Medusa, 2001
Edition for Parkett 63
Anamorphic lithograph on chine collé with mirror-finish steel cylinder

William Kentridge - Parkett edition/'The Armory Show', New York

William Kentridge adds another notch to his belt this month as he joins the pantheon of artworld luminaries who have been invited to create editioned works for Parkett art magazine. Available for order online, Kentridge's edition is Medusa, a circular lithograph printed (by the Artist's Press, in an edition of 60) on six different pages from the 1906 French Larousse Encyclopedia, with a mirrored cylinder attached. The price tag is $1 400.

In accompanying text for Parkett 63, Susan Stewart writes: "No stranger to tragedy in life and on the stage, [Kentridge] truly has served as a messenger of the ob-scene and has taken on the burden of drawing ethical conclusions from historical events that are often overwhelmingly evil. His is an art not only of politics, as it has often been viewed, but also an art of theodicy that considers with great deliberation the problems involved in witnessing, telling, and concluding in the face of unremitting state violence."

Parkett commissions three artists per issue, and Kentridge's fellow invitees are Gregor Schneider and Tracey Emin (the latter's Polaroid self-portraits are going for $900 a pop). The new works will be on view at an exhibition of out-of-print and available Parkett editions at 'The Armory Show 2002' in New York from February 22-25.


Jürgen Schadeberg

Jürgen Schadeberg
Miriam Makeba, 1955
Silver gelatin-toned archival print
16 inches x 12 inches

'Shooting Resistance' - South African photography at Axis Gallery, New York

Axis Gallery celebrates Black History Month in the US with the exhibition 'Shooting Resistance: South African Photography 1976-1994', featuring works by 22 leading South African photographers who documented the struggle against apartheid and the first democratic elections.

Beginning with Sam Nzima's iconic 1976 photograph of Hector Petersen, the show includes the haunting, harrowing photographs of Omar Badsha, Gille De Vlieg, Paul Grendon, Louise Gubb, Themba Hadebe, Alf Kumalo, TJ Lemon, John Liebenberg, Peter Magubane, Motlhalefi Mahlabe, Greg Marinovich, Gideon Mendel, Santu Mofokeng, Nkosi, Nkosini, Sam Nzima, Ken Oosterbroek, Jürgen Schadeberg, Joao Silva, Brent Stirton, Guy Tillim, Paul Velasco, Paul Weinberg and Graeme Williams. The exhibition is dedicated to Oosterbroek, one of a number of photographers who lost their lives during this period.

Opening: February 1
Closing: March 16

Axis Gallery, 453 West 17th Street, New York
Tel: 212 741 2582
Fax: 212 924 2522
Hours: Tues - Sat 11am - 6pm

Zwelethu Mthethwa

Zwelethu Mthethwa
Untitled, 2000
C-print on plexi
38 x 51 inches

Zwelethu Mthethwa at the Forum for Contemporary Art, St Louis

Zwelethu Mthethwa is one of three artists chosen for an upcoming photography exhibition at the Forum for Contemporary Art which examines the role of staging in contemporary portraiture. Organised as three solo exhibits, 'Staging' presents Mthethwa's familiar portraits of squatter camp residents in their homes, alongside works by Janieta Eyre and Julie Moos.

Eyre photographs herself dressed in elaborate costumes set within fantastical rooms, which suggest scenarios that do not exist in real time, while Moos addresses the complexities of human relationships, particularly larger societal structures like schools, churches and corporations. Here she photographed St Louis farmers working with biogenetic engineered seed.

All three artists will attend the opening of 'Staging' on Friday February 22.

Opening: February 22 at 6pm
Closing: May 4

Forum for Contemporary Art, 3540 Washington Ave, St Louis, MO 63103
Tel: 314 535 4660

Kay Hassan

Kay Hassan
1995 - 2001

Photo: Virtual tour of 'The Short Century' by Universes in Universe

'The Short Century' at PS1 in New York

'The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945-1994', first seen at the Villa Stuck in Munich, move to its final destination in New York. (Despite the efforts of the National Gallery's Emma Bedford, the exhibition will not be coming to South Africa.) Curated by Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition encompasses the many faces of African modernism and redefines Africa's place in the annals of 20th century history. 'The Short Century' documents the history of Africa since its partition in 1884/5 during the Berlin Conference, and thus focuses on the second half of the century, a period which began with the liberation from colonialism of certain countries and ended with the first democratic election following the abolition of apartheid in South Africa in 1994.

The interdisciplinary approach of the exhibition links historical documents with contemporary artistic standpoints, and confronts the creations of colonial and anti-colonial propaganda - film and photography, but also poster art, print media and textiles - from both private collections and government archives. This exhibition means that unique examples of regional artistic currents, from the Egyptian awakening to South African resistance art, can now be seen in America for the first time. Architecture and town planning are shown here as an expression of a new, collective self-confidence manifest in the young African states.

The exhibits show personal and collective self-representations of an Africa undergoing urbanisation which is in constant dialogue with the major cities of Europe and North America - many of the continent's leading artists and intellectuals live permanently abroad. Official representations of history are reframed by private pieces of memorabilia: family albums, shrines to memory, memoirs, fashions in dress and popular music take their place alongside traditional art and revolutionary kitsch.

Opening: February 10
Closing: May 5

PS1 Contemporary Art Center and Museum of Modern Art, New York
Tel: 718 784 2084

Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz
'Ghost Series', 1994-6
Rephotographed tourist postcard with white-out

Tracey Rose

Tracey Rose
Ode to Leoness (detail), 2001
Video for three screens

'Africaine' at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

Curated by Christine Y Kim, 'Africaine' features photo-based works by four African-born artists, two of whom hail from South Africa. Candice Breitz and Tracey Rose exhibit alongside Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) and Fatimah Tuggar (Nigeria). In their photographs, collages, digital montages and videos, the artists manipukate and dissect the popular imagery of the postcard, fashion magazine, mail-order catalogue and snapshot, among other things, to comment on represenation of the African female body.

Breitz is showing works from her 'Ghost Series' (1994-96), rephotographed tourist postcards in which the female figure is erased using white-out. The curator's statement reads: "The absence or erasure of their bodies remind the viewer that this tourist image often mirrors a portrait of the consumer rather than the subject of the tableau, and that exotic desire often narrates the elision of cultural tropes." Tracey Rose is exhibiting videos and photographs that "portray parodies of stereotypes, myths and fantasies" - including Ode to Leoness, the tribute to a drag queen that was shown recently at the World Wide Video Festival in Amsterdam.

Mutu creates calendar pin-ups with legs, lips and limbs gleaned from magazines and collaged to create "primitivistic" figures, while Tuggar digitally edits characters from African, European and American magazines, catalogues and films into enigmatic depictions of domesticity and consumerism.

Other exhibitions on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem include 'Yinka Shonibare' curated by Thelma Golden, and 'Race in Digital Space', guest curated by Erika Dalya Muhammad.

Opening: January 24 with opening function on January 27 from 2-6 pm
Closing: March 31

The Studio Museum in Harlem, 144 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027
Tel: (212) 864 4500
Fax: (212) 864 4800

Siemon Allen

Siemon Allen
Stamp Collection

Melissa Gould

Melissa Gould
From Adler to Zylder

Siemon Allen on 'Context and Conceptualism' in New York

Siemon Allen's Stamp Collection gets another outing, this time in New York, on the exhibition 'Context and Conceptualism', curated by Lauri Firstenberg at the Artists Space. Allen is one of three featured artists, with Coco Fusco and Melissa Gould (MeGo).

In a curatorial statement, Firstenberg cites Okwui Enwezor's 1996 article, "Altered States: The Art of Kendell Geers", in which Enwezor "questions what happens to context when artists negotiate conceptualism according to museological interests in the 'new internationalism'". In the context of South Africa, Enwezor interrogates the particular problematic of working "across cultural and contextual borders".

Allen's Stamp Collection "appropriates materials specific to South Africa's political history and cultural legacy, engaging with larger discursive narratives of global conceptualism". Melissa Gould's From Adler to Zylber, described by the artist as an "alphabetic cosmology of the dead", comprises pictograms representing visual translations of names from a transport list of Jews, including Gould's grandfather, who were deported from France to Auschwitz on Convoy #42; November 6, 1942. Coco Fusco's documentary-style video Els Segadors (The Reapers), in which actors sing traditional Catalan songs, questions notions of nation, citizenship, language and identity.

Opening: January 12 at 6pm
Closing: March 2

Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212 226 3970
Fax: 212 966 1434