Archive: Issue No. 58, June 2002

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01.05.02 South African artists at the 10th DAK/ART Biennial

01.06.02 South African artists at Documenta11 in Kassel, Germany
01.06.02 Kendell Geers at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Camouflage, Brussels
01.06.02 'Tracing the Rainbow' at the Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle, Germany
01.06.02 Jane Alexander at DaimlerChrysler, Stuttgart/Berlin
01.06.02 Steven Cohen and Elu at French Spring Festival
01.06.02 Frances Goodman at De Appel, Amsterdam
01.05.02 Johannes Phokela - inIVA commissions at The Gallery, London
24.04.02 David Koloane at Galerie Seippel, Cologne
03.04.02 Kendell Geers - 'Mondo Kane' at Galleria Continua, Siena

01.06.02 Ledelle Moe and Carol-anne Gainer at Decatur Blue, Washington
15.05.02 'CON/TEXT + I.D./OLOGY' at Axis Gallery, New York
10.04.02 'AIDS and South Africa' exhibition at Wellesley College

Donovan Ward

Donovan Ward
Leisure Time
Billboard for 'Returning the Gaze' in Cape Town

Lisa Brice

Lisa Brice
Walkeasy (detail)
Hand-stitched cotton, plastic bathroom towel rails, mirrors
each panel 43.5 X 32cm

South African artists at the 10th DAK/ART Biennial

Under the directorship of Ousseynou Wade, the Biennial of Contemporary African Art, DAK/ART 2002, opens in Dakar, Senegal, on May 10. This year, DAK/ART celebrates its 10th anniversary, thus showing considerably more staying power than the Johannesburg Biennale. Unlike the late lamented Johannesburg event, the focus of DAK/ART is purely on contemporary African art, with artists of 13 of the 39 countries of the continent represented. Of the 12 artists from South Africa under consideration, three were selected: Lisa Brice, who is now living in London; Rodney Place of Johannesburg and Donovan Ward of Cape Town.

The theme of this year's DAK/ART is "Contemporary creation and new identities". Is contemporary African art a succession of innovations, or rather, a pale copy of form and content which is already in existence in Western art? What are the components of African artistic contemporaneity? How does the work reflect the socio-economic climate and the current emphasis on identity? When artists move into the diaspora, is there a fertile dialogue between these artists, and their new environments? These are some of questions which will be raised in open discussions and seminars at DAK/ART.

The official part of the biennial encompasses the International Exhibition, the Salon for African Design, nine individual exhibitions, a retrospective of the past 10 years of DAK/ART, a homage to the master of "sous-verre" (under glass) painting, Gora Mbengue, and a programme of meetings and exchanges. On May 15, a round table on international biennials will consider how to foreground the work of the contemporary artists of Africa on international art events - a debate which seems to find its place on an increasing number of agendas.

With the participating artists for this year's Documenta to be announced by Okwui Enwezor at the Goethe Institute in New York on May 8, one wonders if the über-curator from Africa himself will be in attendance in Dakar, and how much crossover of artists between the two events there might be.

Artthrob's founding editor, Sue Williamson, will be in attendance to report back from Dakar. DAK/ART runs from May 10 to June 10.


Confessions of Zeno

William Kentridge
Confessions of Zeno
with actor Dawid Minnaar

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
Shooting Gallery
Slide installation

South African artists at Documenta11 in Kassel

Under the directorship of Nigerian-born curator Okwui Enwezor, the Documenta11 exhibition has been long anticipated, with four preceding "platforms" of lectures and discussions taking place over the course of the past year. The list of 116 participating artists was announced at the beginning of May (see story). The broad theme or dominant issue of this edition is globalisation and the relationship between centre and periphery, so it is more than appropriate that a healthy number of Africans are included on the list. Among them are four South Africans: William Kentridge (who was also on Documenta X), Kendell Geers, and photographers David Goldblatt and Santu Mofokeng.

Kentridge's new multimedia production, Confessions of Zeno (which will have its South African premiere at the Grahamstown festival), will be staged at the Staatstheater Kassel on June 8 and 9. Combining puppetry, song, theatrical acting, a string quartet and video, the production is a collaboration between Kentridge, the Handspring Puppet Company, composer Kevin Volans and writer Jane Taylor.

Geers (see also below) will be showing existing works selected by Enwezor: Suburbia (1999), a series of 33 photographs showing South African properties adorned with security signs; and Shooting Gallery, a slide installation in which a shooting scene from The Godfather is projected to the repeated click of the slide carousel.

Opening: June 8
Closing: September 15

Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany
Tel: +49 561 70 72 70

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
'Spy in the House of Love'
Installation detail

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
The Terrorist's Apprentice

Kendell Geers at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and Camouflage, Brussels

South African-born Kendell Geers is now based in Brussels - home also to the Europan branch of Camouflage, whose Johannesburg gallery closed last year. It's here that Geers is currently showing 'A Spy in the House of Love', billed as a "prequel" to his major solo show at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, which opened on June 1.

'Spy in the House of Love' is Geers' first solo show in his new home town of Brussels, and specifically addresses the city's art history - in the form of Rene Magritte and Marcel Broodthaers. As the press blurb states, "Geers has translated the challenge of art historical icons into contemporary practice in the context of recent global political developments": the exhibition includes red and blue emergency lights displayed in a suitcase, and a series of prints showing scenes of terror and carnage, including the World Trade Centre attack, superimposed with the words "Ceci n'est pas une pipe".

At the Palais de Tokyo, Paris's new "site de création contemporaine" in the recently transformed building where Jean-Luc Godard used to have a studio, 'Sympathy for the Devil' plays off the title of the Rolling Stones album, in turn the subject of a Godard documentary made in 1968 - the year of the Paris uprising and, not coincidentally, the artist's birth. A single work is displayed in a room painted black, accessible only by pushing through layers of heavy black curtaining, and removing one's shoes to walk on a black carpet - a sensual experience that the artist describes as a new development in his work. The work, titled The Terrorist's Apprentice, comprises a single, unlit match.

Geers also has a solo show in San Gimignano, Italy, until June 22, and is included on a group exhibition titled 'To Actuality' in Bozen/Bolzano. The exhibition explores "the possibility of art as an actuality within contemporary urban experience", and Geers' contribution consists of canned laughter amplified through outdoor speakers at different malls in the city. The work is titled Your Tongue in My Cheek - which is also the title of Geers' just launched monograph. See this month's Artbio for more on the artist.

'A Spy in the House of Love'
Opening: May 21
Closing: June 14

Camouflage, 37 Rue de Prince Royal, 1050 Brussels
Tel: 32 2 502 0117

'Sympathy for the Devil'
Opening: June 1
Closing: July 28

Palais de Tokyo, 13, avenue de Président Wilson, F-75116 Paris

Andrew Tshabangu

Andrew Tshabangu
Joubert Park Food Sellers
Black and white photograph

'Tracing the Rainbow' at the Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle, Germany

Kay Hassan, David Koloane, Berni Searle, Sam Nhlengethwa, Jane Alexander, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Claudette Schreuders, Andrew Tshabangu, Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi and Pat Mautloa are included on the travelling South African exhibition 'Tracing the Rainbow', which opens at the Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle on June 7. The exhibition celebrates post-apartheid art and literature, and discussions and readings by South African writers will take place on July 27 and 28 (the official opening night is July 26). The exhibition will travel to the Kunstverein Zehntscheuer, Rottenburg. A catalogue is being produced.

Opening: June 7
Closing: August 31

Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle, Germany

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander
African Adventure
Installation view, Cape Town Castle

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander
African Adventure
Installation detail

Jane Alexander at DaimlerChrysler, Stuttgart/Berlin

Cape Town-based artist Jane Alexander won the DaimlerChrysler award for sculpture 2002, her work praised by a jury including Richard Flood of the Walker Art Centre and the Venice Biennale's Harald Szeemann for its successful expression of "the fragility of a multicultural society". As part of the substantial prize, her work is now on view at DaimlerChrysler headquarters in Stuttgart and will travel to the home of the DaimlrChrysler collection in Berlin in July.

Alexander's exhibition effectively offers an overview of the artist's oeuvre and is her first solo show outside South Africa. The central work on display is African Adventure (1999-2002), an installation comprising 14 figurative sculptures made over the past three years. Placed in a sand-filled pit, Alaxander's characteristic animal-human hybrids are variously threatening, comic and imbued with pathos. In addition to the sculptural ensemble, the exhibition includes monitors showing video presentations, 10 large-format and 15 small-format photomontages, and four other installations dating from the early 1980s onwards.

A monograph on Alexander has been published by HatjeCantz Verlag, Ostfildern, as part of the award and will be available at bookshops in South Africa shortly.

DaimlerChrysler AG Stuttgart, Forum Möhringen
Opening: May 17
Closing: June 16

DaimlerChrysler Collection, Haus Huth, Berlin
Opening: July 26
Closing: September 15

The exhibition comes to South Africa later this year, opening at the Pretoria Art Museum on November 12, travelling to the Oliewenhuis in Bloemfontein in January 2003, and ending up at the National Gallery in Cape Town from April to July 2003.

Steven Cohen and Elu

The Goatfoot God Pan

Steven Cohen and Elu at French Spring Festival

With the support of the South African Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, the French Institute of South Africa and the French Embassy, three South African contemporary dance companies will present a very representative range of talents and creativity to French audiences at the Danses du Loin International Festival in La Rochelle between June 6 and 8.

Of special interest to contemporary art and performance, Steven Cohen and Elu will be performing Kudu Dance and Pan, Pointe-Shoes of the Future, Broken Bird and Chandelier in addition to being invited for a six-month research residency in La Rochelle.

They have also been invited to perform in the Rencontres Chorégraphiques de St Denis, another contemporary dance festival happening near Paris from May 25 to June 8. They will perform The Goatfoot God Pan, part 1: Beaten Stag, Broken Bird: 1. Bird on land, 2. Bird in flight and The Goatfoot God Pan, part 2: Fetish Dance.

Frances Goodman at De Appel, Amsterdam

De Appel regularly offers up a programme of 'Cinema. Sounds. Synergy'. It's the Sounds slot that South African artist Frances Goodman is filling this month, in collaboration with Michael Sharon. Their work, titled 'Portrait', is described as "a study in self-portraiture somewhere on the crossways of fiction and reality. It uses as its medium the opinions and memories of a group of people to construct an ever-changing outline of an 'individual'. The answers to the ceaseless questions reveal as much about the people interviewed as the anonymous subject of the piece."

Opening: June 1
Closing: July 4

De Appel, Niewe Spiegelstraat 10, 1017 DE Amsterdam
Hours: Tues - Sun 11am - 6pm

Johannes Phokela

Johannes Phokela
Candle Bathing (detail)
Oil on canvas
Courtesy British Arts Council Collection

Johannes Phokela - inIVA commissions at The Gallery, London

Johanes Phokela, a South African artist living in London and resident at the Gasworks, has been commissioned by inIVA (the International Institute for the Visual Arts) to produce eight large-scale paintings for its Jubilee season, which explores internationalism and what it means from a British perspective. Four of these works are apparently based on Jacob de Gheyn's 'Allegory of Death', a series of paintings that looked in an overtly moralistic and heavy-handed way at mortality and human vulnerability.

A press statement reads: "Phokela's beautifully painted takes on iconic images by Rubens, Jacob de Gheyn and others weave a personal history into the historical canon of Dutch and Flemish old master painting. Working deliberately from reproductions found in art-history tomes, the gender and colour of key protagonists are often altered from their Northern European origins to result in unsettling images that challenge nationalistic and ethnic narratives around contemporary and historical art. Undoubtedly Phokela's Soweto roots and subsequent move to the UK, where he studied at the Royal College of Art, are intrinsically linked to his reinterpretation of the Golden Age and his interests in parallel histories of the Enlightenment and the African continent. His paintings are as much about the violent and twisted history of the Dutch in Africa as they are about the history of painting."

Phokela, born in Soweto in 1966, was recently included on the group show 'Unpacking Europe' (Rotterdam, 2001), and completed a residency programme in Stockholm in September 2001.

The exhibition will tour to Cape Town and New York in 2003.

Opening: Tuesday May 14, 6-8pm
Closing: June 16

The Gallery, Café Gallery Projects, Southwark Park, London SE16 2UA
Tel: +44 20 7237 1230
Websites: and
Hours: Wed - Sun 11am - 5pm

David Koloane

David Koloane

David Koloane at Galerie Seippel, Cologne

'Johannesburg Blues' is the title of Jo'burg artist David Koloane's solo show at Galerie Seippel. Coinciding with the exhibition, a discussion on post-apartheid South African art will take place at the gallery on June 5 from 6pm. Koloane is also one of the South African artists included on the group exhibition 'Township Blues - Artists from the Rainbow Nation' which will open at the Kunst:Raum Sylt-Quelle in June.

Opening: April 26
Closing: June 29

Galerie Seippel, Zeughausstr 26, 50667 Cologne, Germany
Tel: 0049 221 25 5834

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


Ledelle Moe

Ledelle Moe
Installation view of concrete and steel construction

Ledelle Moe

Ledelle Moe
Colour photograph

Ledelle Moe and Carol-anne Gainer - 'Dogs' at Decatur Blue, Washington

In the artist-driven, appointment-only Decatur Blue gallery in Washington, Ledelle Moe and Carol-anne Gainer, friends from the heyday of the FLAT Gallery in Durban during the mid-Nineties, are showing work based on their respective dogs.

Showing under the banner of FLAT International - the global version of the original FLAT Gallery that originated in the apartment of Ledelle Moe, Siemon Allen, Thomas Barry and Neil Jonker, Moe and Gainer continue in the spirit of the original space. Destroyed by fire in 1995, the permanent space catalyzed into a project that was less site dependent and initially took the form of a newsletter with artist interviews. FLAT International soon evolved into the publication of limited edition artist's books and the presentation of sculptural installations in temporary spaces. As original participants travelled or moved, FLAT activities became even less bound by geography.

Moe is a sculptor known for working with monumental figurative sculptures in rough materials such as distressed concrete. Her work on this show includes 14 photographs of her dog, Wolfgang, as well as a one-ton concrete and steel construction that the viewer can enter. Focusing on that most vulnerable of areas, the male groin, Moe creates what Glenn Dixon of the Washington Post describes as "three towering canine crotch reliefs [that] are bolted together into a triangular configuration, outlining an area that can be entered through a narrow, birth canal like passage". Thus Moe constructs an ambiguous space that is both male and female, intimidating yet comforting, harsh but tender, establishing a dialectic of uncertainty.

Gainer's video of the belly of her bulldog breathing while asleep is even more nebulous. Filmed close-up, it is difficult at first to discern what aspect of which living creature is under scrutiny. Whorls of fur enticingly call for interpretation as possible orifices from which the rhythmic snores are emanating. Amplified the sound of breathing, while reassuring in its rhythmic beat, is both alien and comic.

Supported by a performance by Noah Angell, an emerging artist who is presently an incoming senior in the Fine Arts Department at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, the exhibition creates a sense of intimacy disturbing in its intimations of familiarity.

Closing: June 8

Decatur Blue, second floor, 919 Florida Ave, NW Washington DC
Hours: Sat noon to 5pm, Mon - Fri by appointment
Tel: (202) 518-8969

'CON/TEXT + I.D./OLOGY' at Axis Gallery, New York

CON/TEXT + I.D./OLOGY are two related exhibitions, both of which feature Axis's South African artists. 'CON/TEXT' closes the (northern hemisphere's) spring season with a selection of works that include text. 'I.D./OLOGY' opens the autumn season with works focused on identity and ideology. Artists included are Fritha Langerman, Brett Murray, Rudzani Nemasetoni, Berni Searle, Ian van Coller and Sue Williamson.

'CON/TEXT': May 17 - June 22
'I.D./OLOGY': September 10 - October 12

Axis Gallery, 453 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212 741 2582
Fax: 212 924 2522
Hours: Tues - Sat 11am - 6pm; Summer (June 25 - Sep 7) by appointment

Andries Botha

Andries Botha
Mixed media (cotton, paper, latex, acrylic, human hair)
100 x 100 cm

Penny Siopis

Penny Siopis
Baby in Red
Cibachrome photograph
100 x 80 cm

'AIDS and South Africa' exhibition at Wellesley College

An exhibition of work by South African artists addressing HIV/AIDS will form part of a larger conference titled 'AIDS and South Africa: The Social Expression of a Pandemic' at Wellesley College, near Boston, this month.

The conference, to be held on April 19 and 20, will focus on the causes and consequences of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa, with the understanding that the AIDS crisis in Africa is "one of the most important social and public health problems in the world today".

Curated by the South African National Gallery's Marilyn Martin and Kyle Kauffman, associate professor of economics at Wellesley College, the accompanying exhibition features existing and commissioned works by 11 artists: Clive van den Berg, Andries Botha, Lien Botha, David Goldblatt, Senzeni Marasela, Gideon Mendel, Neo Matome, Karel Nel, Sam Nhlengethwa, Penny Siopis and Sue Williamson.

Martin writes: "This selection includes South African artists who are internationally known and others who are rising stars. ... These works illustrate the new face of artistic activism in contemporary South African art and will hopefully contribute to the ongoing debate, as well as to a better understanding of and caring for those who are affected."

The artists have written statements about their work for a catalogue, to be published by UCT Press and launched when the exhibition moves to the South African National Gallery, opening on December 1, World AIDS Day.

In one of these statements, Van den Berg writes of his work Love's Ballast (2000-01): "Much of my recent work has been concerned with imaging the love between men. I became aware of AIDS as a threat to love in the early 80s. As I make love now, I honor the men who have died. They are often in my thoughts as I experience pleasure and enact in and on skin the proof of my being. They are dead, and their death haunts me most powerfully in the act of love. The ballast of pleasure is memory and it is that new geography of love that I am picturing."

In another statement, Senzeni Marasela writes about The Invisible Martyr (2001), a work using ladies' handkerchiefs, thread and beads to reflect on the death of Gugu Dlamini, who was stoned to death in 1998 after revealing her HIV-positive status: "After her death many were forced into silence and live with guilt and shame. Very little is known about the life of Gugu Dlamini. She dared to think that she could, through herself, show the reality of this virus. Dlamini perished at the hands of those she thought she could help. HIV continues to spread. This is positively frightening."

Marilyn Martin will give a presentation on the exhibition during the conference at 1.30pm on April 20 (venue: Pendleton West 212).

Opening: April 19
Closing: June 15

Pendleton Hall, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481