Archive: Issue No. 58, June 2002

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Paul Desfonteines

Artist and C3 owner Paul Desfonteines

Paul Desfonteines

A view of C3 from the street in Jeppestown

Paul Desfonteines

The transformation of C3 in process

New-look C3 launches in Jeppestown
by Kathryn Smith

After the demise of the (in)famous 206, and before that Bob's Bar, Johannesburgers looking for a night out were hard-pressed to find a similar spot that matched clubbing with community. And I'm not talking about rave culture. Cue C3, a venue in an early 20th century building in Jeppestown, wedged between the borders of the inner city's eastside and Troyeville. It opened last year and has since seen numerous internal and external facelifts as artist and owner Paul Desfonteines tries to perfect an environment conducive to contemporary art and clubbing.

C3 has always had art on its walls, admittedly of uneven quality. Then again, the walls were often paintings in their own right - Desfonteines' penchant for bold pinstripes and brightly coloured checkerboard designs, mosaics, stained glass and local graffiti artists made sure that the venue received almost every kind of visual treatment possible. Neither was it unusual, as a regular visitor, to find that Desfonteines had removed and rebuilt walls, doors and stairs, almost, it would seem, on a weekly basis.

From the mayhem of its previous design and colour palette, C3 is now becoming a modest version of the secular cathedrals we so often refer to as art galleries. With white walls, floors and ceilings, its regular clubbing customers probably won't recognise the place. Desfonteines has been careful to remove and disguise as many of the visual interruptions as possible to make the space, both upstairs and downstairs, as art-friendly as possible. It should also make for a very interesting dance floor experience.

So it's entirely appropriate that Desfonteines has titled the launch of the new-look space 'Transformation of Our Human Installation'. It is a title which also exposes his attitudes towards artmaking, his customers and the space itself - the space is "the blank canvas", and you and surrounding objects are the colour palette and subject matter. A website is on the way, which will keep people informed of C3 events and parties.

Invited artists are showing a bit of everything from video and painting to installation. The highlight of the night is 'New Works in Crochet' by Barend de Wet. Desfonteines himself (aka Priest) will be showing paintings.

The exhibition opens on Friday June 7 at 8pm with cheese and wine. The Liquid Sounds of the Underground 'Up In Smoke' party starts at 10pm; if you get there after 9.30pm, you pay R40 at the door.

C3 is usually open every Friday, but call first to check what's on - different organisers take control of the party sessions. Likewise, the launch exhibition, which Desfonteines plans to run for about two weeks, will be on view during the day, but by appointment only.

Secure parking and a scenic night drive through the City of Johannesburg is guaranteed.

C3, corner Fox and Betty Streets, Jeppestown, Johannesburg