Archive: Issue No. 55, March 2002

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20.03.02 Lien Botha and Geoff Grundlingh in Florence
13.03.02 Greta Matthews in Amsterdam
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

20.03.02 Thabiso Phokompe at Axis Gallery, New York
28.02.02 William Kentridge tour moves to Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston
20.02.02 William Kentridge - Parkett edition/'The Armory Show', 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

20.03.02 South Africans at the Sã Paulo Bienal

Lien Botha

Lien Botha
'Radio Maria'

Geoff Grundlingh

Geoff Grundlingh
'Figures in a Desert Landscape'

Lien Botha and Geoff Grundlingh in Florence

Under the banner of the 2nd Cape Town Month of Photography, Lien Botha and Geoff Grundlingh are simultaneously exhibiting works in Florence as part of an exchange programme with SACI (Studio Art Centers International).

Lien Botha's 'Radio Maria' is a two-part work, the first half a portfolio of imgages taken during a recent residency in Florence. In an extract from the Month of Photography catalogue, Botha writes: "... I encountered three Marias of whom the main protagonist was a silk trader, Maria Pezzatini, who in exchange for English lessons presented me with a red radio the size of a human heart. The transmission was concluded when I arrived back home in South Africa to discover that an heirloom had been destroyed by clothes moths. ..." In the second part of the work Botha documents the life cycles of indigenous moths.

Grundlingh is showing a series of "environmental portraits" of mannequins photographed in the desert around Swakopmund, Namibia, titled 'Figures in a Desert Landscape'. Grundlingh describes the works as "obliquely concerned with issues of identity and displacement in an African context".

In Cape Town Botha's and Grundlingh's works are on view at the Castle and the Everard Read Gallery at the Clocktower, V&A Waterfront, respectively. The SACI exchange also sees Scott Brightwell showing Italian landscapes at the Castle in Cape Town.

Opening: March 15
Closing: April 14

Palazzo dei Cartelloni, Florence, Italy

Greta Matthews

Greta Matthews
Amongst Shadows
Mixed media on paper
45 x 45 cm

Greta Matthews in Amsterdam

Michaelis printmaking graduate Greta Matthews has held a number of solo exhibitions in Ireland and the Netherlands over the past couple of years, and also showed recently at the AVA in Cape Town. At Gallery SAAM in Amsterdam she exhibits 'Amongst Shadows', a series of mixed media non-figurative paintings, drawings and collages.

As the artist describes the work, "lines and cellular shapes appear with underlying traces of earlier formations. These are partly hidden and partly revealed beneath the semi-opacity of the surface. Paint residues and thin washes build the surface and the images emerge as if from within. ... The work is a culmination of fleeting moments, each of which has left its mark, echoing feeling and dialogue. It is about discovering and embracing the invisible, which influences our everyday journey through a pathless land. [It] is also about acknowledging the shadow side of existence. ... It is about the conscious and sub-conscious states of being, moments between darkness and light."

Opening: March 21
Closing: April 27

Gallery SAAM, Prinsengracht 626 sous, Amsterdam

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 comprises two pieces 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 - Commemorative War Ribbons (2002) and Transvaal Horse Artillery (Colonial), Officer (1903-1913) (2001).

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' has been extended until April 13.

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


Thabiso Phokompe at Axis Gallery, New York

Axis presents the debut New York solo show of Thabiso Phokompe, one of the South African artists included on the exhibition 'Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa' which opened at the Museum for African Art in New York in 1999. Now resident there, Phokompe studied at Fuba in the 1980s and then at the Johannesburg Art Foundation.

Phokompe uses found objects in his work and draws on site-specific and abstract traditions, while remaining grounded in African concepts and materials such as natural fibre and earth. He incorporates and hides medicinal materials and objects similar to those he witnessed his mother use in her work as a diviner and herbalist in the Zulu tradition. The Axis press release continues: "South Africa may be the birthplace of humanity, and archaeologists recently uncovered there the oldest known work of art, an engraved piece of ochre 77 000 years old. It is this same ochre that Phokompe uses in his work, asserting a present that overleaps history."

Opening: March 22, 6-9pm
Closing: May 4

Axis Gallery, 453 West 17th Street, fourth floor, New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212 741 2582
Fax: 212 924 2522
Hours: Tues - Sat 11am - 6pm

William Kentridge

William Kentridge
Casspirs Full of Love, 1989

Photo: New Museum of Contemporary Art

William Kentridge tour moves to Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston

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 show has subsequently toured to the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Opening: March 2
Closing: June 2


Contemporary Arts Museum, 5216 Montrose Blvd, Houston, Texas
Tel: 713 284 8250
Fax: 713 284 8275

The exhibition next travels to the following venues:

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

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.


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


Jo Ractliffe and Sebastian Diaz Morales

Jo Ractliffe and Sebastian Diaz Morales

Jo Ractliffe and Sebastian Diaz Morales
One Year Later
Still from video

South Africans at the Sã Paulo Bienal

Johannesburg artist Pitso Chinzima is South Africa's "national representative" at this year's São Paulo Biennale - the 25th. With an overall theme of 'Metropolitan Iconographies', the biennial sets out to explore the influence of urban energy on contemporary artists - for which Chinzima's proposed work using actual minibus taxis along with slide and video footage relating to the taxi industry and the daily life of commuters seems right on the mark.

For the central biennial exhibition '11 Metropolises', South African National Gallery director Marilyn Martin has curated a show of photo-based work by five Johannesburg artists who engage with that city. David Goldblatt, Santu Mofokeng and Ruth Motau document complex and shifting relations between people and spaces/structures through their photography. Bonita Alice will create a variation on her site-specific work Turf, exploring notions of roots and territory, and Jo Ractliffe shows the video work One Year Later, a collaboration with Sebastian Diaz Morales (Buenos Aires/Amsterdam) that was filmed using a Holga toy camera.

There will also be a focus on African video art including works by Zwelethu Mthethwa and Moshekwa Langa. For full details on Sã Paulo, see News.

Opening: March 23
Closing: June 2

25th Bienal de São Paulo
Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, Parque do Ibirapuera, São Paulo, Brazil