Archive: Issue No. 53, January 2002

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23.01.02 Hentie van der Merwe on 'Forms of Violence' in Cologne
23.01.02 SA artists at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris
09.01.02 Jo Ractliffe - artist in residence at CRIC/ECAV, Switzerland
09.01.02 Johannes Phokela on 'There is No Redemption' at Nottingham University
09.01.02 'Unpacking Europe' at Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam
21.11.01 Robin Rhode and Bitterkomix on 'Shelf Life' at the Gasworks, London

16.01.02 'Africaine' at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
09.01.02 Sue Williamson at symposium on biennales in Washington
09.01.02 Siemon Allen on 'Context and Conceptualism' in New York
03.10.01 William Kentridge tour moves to Chicago


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

Jo Ractliffe

Jo Ractliffe
Snow White, 2001/2002
Installation view

Jo Ractliffe - artist in residence at CRIC/ECAV, Switzerland

Jo Ractliffe is artist in residence at the Centre de Réflexion sur l'Image et ses Contextes (CRIC) and the Ecole Cantonale d'Art du Valais (ECAV) in Sierre, Switzerland from December 8 to January 25. Overcome by the ubiquitous snow, she has produced an installation titled 'Snow White' as part of her residency - "a little bedroom - two walls (about 2 x 2.5 metres) on a raised platform, like a stage set - with a single bed and desk, all covered in fake snow ..." A window cut into one of the walls has a video playing through it - footage of snow, filmed from images taken with Ractliffe's trademark plastic toy camera.

Opening: January 14 at 5pm
Closing: January 18

Hall de l'Ecole Cantonale d'Art du Valais, Rue Bonne-Eau 14, CH3960, Sierre-Siders

Johannes Phokela

Johannes Phokela

Johannes Phokela on 'There is No Redemption' at Nottingham Trent University

'There is No Redemption', a group show curated by Michael Forbes at Nottingham Trent University, includes new work by Johannes Phokela, as well as Forbes and Godfried Donkor. The show seeks to explore "the relationships between the past and the present focusing in different ways on the distorted social relationships embedded in the different generations and the construction, and re-construction of African and European histories".

For the show, South African born Phokela has transformed mirror images of Dutch and Flemish old masters. The aim is to question illusions of aesthetic purity and notions of cultural certainty. Altering the colour and gender of central characters from their European origins, the work is said to challenge social and ethnic historical narratives.

Phokela's work will also be toured by INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts) during 2002/2003.

Opening: January 7
Closing: January 25

Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, Dryden Street, Nottingham, England
Tel: 44 (0)115 848 6443/6131
Fax: 44 (0)115 848 6132

Willem Boshoff

Willem Boshoff

Ni Haifeng

Ni Haifeng
Self Portrait as a Part of Porcelain Export History

'Unpacking Europe' at Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam

For 'Unpacking Europe', curators Salah Hassan and Iftikhar Dadi invited an international group of artists to show work with the theme "How European is Europe today?" South Africans Willem Boshoff and Johannes Phokela are among the 18 artists "focusing on the contradictions between the official picture and an everyday reality in which the norm is influenced by heterogeneity, hybridisation and widely differing cultural influences". Boshoff shows the work Panifice, first seen on the 2001 Venice Biennale.

Most of the participating artists come from Africa or Asia, or originate from the diaspora and live in Europe or North America. Apart from the two South Africans, they include Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons (Cuba/US), Heri Dono (Indonesia), Coco Fusco (Cuba/US), Ni Haifeng (China/Netherlands), Fiona Hall (Australia), Isaac Julien (Great Britain), Rachid Koraichi (Algeria/France), Ken Lum (Canada), Nalini Malani (India), Keith Piper (Great Britain), Anri Sala (Albania/France), Yinka Shonibare (Nigeria/Great Britain), Vivan Sundaram (India), Nasran Tabatabai (Iran/Netherlands), Fred Wilson (US) and Shi Yong (China).

The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive publication in two parts. The first examines the exhibition themes from a global perspective, with essays by Susan Buck-Morss, Jimmie Durham, Okwui Enwezor, Stuart Hall, Frederic Jameson, Natalie Melas, Olu Oguibe, Irit Rogoff, Gilane Tawadros and Slavoj Zisek. Part two focuses on the lives and work of the participating artists.

Opening: December 13 2001
Closing: February 14 2002

Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Museumpark 18-20 3015 CX Rotterdam
Tel: 010 441 9400

Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode
He Got Game
Live performance

Robin Rhode and Bitterkomix on 'Shelf Life' at the Gasworks

Curated by Smith + Fowle, who were recent visitors to South Africa, 'Shelf Life' presents 13 artists from Europe, South Africa, North and South America, who recognise and utilise the framework of consumer culture in their practice. The exhibition takes place at London's Gasworks Gallery, in the eponymous studio complex affiliated to Johannesburg's Bag Factory and Cape Town's Greatmore Studios.

Alongside young international luminaries such as Kerry James Marshall, Dario Robleto and Will Rogan, South Africans Robin Rhode and Bitterkomix have been included in the mix.

In the project outline, Deborah Smith and Kate Fowle state: "At a time when branding has become an art form, political debates are played out like soap operas, and fashion is successfully making a commodity out of any 'alternative' street-style, artists are challenging the commercial motivation with independent voices. In 'Shelf Life' some artists use appropriation to the point where language is both created and unravelled. Others make visible the incidental or transient situations which create the personality of a city. Together their practice forms an invisible network of resistance to the homogenisation of culture, inevitably crossing social and political boundaries as a result."

Rhode, having recently completed a residency in Berlin, is now in residency at Gasworks as part of this project. The project has also set up affiliations with the Spike Island artists' residency program in Bristol. The touring exhibition, which has been designed by architect Andrea Lang, will consist of commissioned and loaned work, including performances and site-specific installations.

Other artists on the exhibition include Maria Hedlund, who produces photographs that reveal the imprints and scars left on everyday objects and architectural features through constant use. Paul Khera has created a freely available typeface for the post-Soviet generation, which includes characters that contain slogans only visible when the type is used on a large scale. In his ongoing project Rhythm Mastr, Kerry James Marshall takes inspiration from the tradition of Marvel comics to produce his own comic strip, where black superheroes take centre stage in a story that critiques inner-city American culture, by pitching African archetypes against the forces of cyber-technology.

Opening: November 23
Closing: January 13 2002


Gasworks Gallery, 155 Vauxhall Street, London SE11 5HR
Tel: 020 7582 6848
Fax: 020 7582 0159
Hours: Wed - Sun 12 - 6pm or by appointment


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

Sue Williamson at symposium on biennales in Washington

Three curators and one artist will participate in a symposium entitled 'Who defines the contemporary? Biennials and the global art world' to take place in Washington on January 12 under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution's International Art Museum Division. It will be the first in a series of events and panel discussions related to issues of contemporary art with a global perspective.

This inaugural symposium will examine how artists from outside the dominant metropolitan centres of the West have entered the domain of the contemporary, and address the role of the international biennial in the emergence of non-Western artists into the global art world.

The speakers on the panel will be Dan Cameron (moderator), a senior curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art; Hou Hanru, a curator of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale and recent co-curator of 'Shanghai Spirit: Shanghai Biennale 2000'; Paulo Herkenhoff, chief curator of the São Paulo Biennial from 1997-99 and an adjunct curatgor of the Painting and Drawing Department at MoMA, New York; and Sue Williamson, Cape Town artist and founding editor of Artthrob.

Questions that will be debated include: how the structures of the "post-Venice alternative biennials" differ from that of the tradition-bound model of the Venice Biennale, and why the younger biennials are so determinedly postnationalistic.

The first part of the day of January 12 will be taken up with tours of the work of three artists: Juan Munoz, Sue Williamson's The Last Supper Revisited, and 'Word Play: Contemporary Art by Xu Bing.' Williamson's piece focuses on the demolition of the District Six area in Cape Town in the 1970s, and was first shown at the UCT Irma Stern Museum in 1993.

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

William Kentridge

William Kentridge
Casspirs Full of Love, 1989

Photo: New Museum of Contemporary Art

William Kentridge tour moves to Chicago

The 11 animated films of William Kentridge are getting the full tour treatment with a survey show currently travelling through the United States and scheduled eventually to end up at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. Organised by Dan Cameron, Staci Boris and Neal Benezra, the tour's first stop was the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington. Here, each film was given its own viewing space - as Jeff Gibson of Artforum puts it, "a must for cutting an interpretive swathe through the prickly thicket of Kentridge's content-laden parables". The second venue was the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, and now the exhibition moves to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, where 'The Short Century' is also currently on view.

Opening: October 20 2001
Closing: January 20 2002


Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611
Tel: 312 280 2660

The exhibition next travels to the following venues:

Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
March 1 - May 5 2002

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
July 21 - October 6 2002

South African National Gallery, Cape Town
December 7 2002 - March 23 2003