Archive: Issue No. 63, November 2002

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SUE WILLISON'S DIARY

Tom Cullberg

Tom Cullberg is showing at Joao Ferreira

Framed

AVA invite



Wednesday, November 6

Two weeks ago I was verbally attacked at length at an opening by the husband of an artist. He was objecting to a review I wrote on his wife's work some years ago, which of course, is still online, in our archives. The experience was most upsetting. I had no desire to hurt her personally, just the opposite. I would hope that any artist whose work comes under question would think about what I say, and consider whether I have a point or not, in the same way that I have to when I am on the other end of the critic's lens. It led me to conclude - again - that I don't actually enjoy writing crits much. The pond here is too small. I know all, or almost all the other fish, and they are my colleagues. But one just has to cope with the fact that being an artist involves putting your work out in public, however painful the experience. And as the Americans say, and I am probably fond of quoting, "If you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen".

So why am I here at another opening - this one Tom Cullberg's, at Joao Ferreira's - with an assignment to write a crit for 'Art South Africa'? Tom is Swedish, though he trained at Michaelis. His show is a mixture of small paintings and larger ones, carefully balanced so the show looks very good as a whole. The small paintings are fresh and lively, moments in the life of the artist captured with a loose immediacy which has a lot of charm. There is a noticeable reduction of freedom in the larger paintings. What is the solution? Some artists, like Karl Gietl has done in the past, simply choose to paint only in a small format. Or it might be an interesting exercise to take much larger brushes and apply the paint on the bigger work in the same brushy way as the smaller ones. One of the interesting things about not being totally successful in a show, is to build on the aspects that do work. Tom's father, an artist himself, and a member of the Swedish Art Council gives the opening speech, and during the course of the opening, lots of red dots appear on the walls.

Thursday, November 7

Plenty of interactive fun at Matt Hindley's show at the Cold Room. One can see oneself appearing on the monitor as seen by a camera in a ball rolled back and forth by viewers, or in another room, after standing very very still for a what seems a long time, the image of doorway in a blank wall suddenly switches to one of oneself. The black and white monitors add an interesting surveillance element.

Friday, November 8

First year anniversary party of Peet Pienaar's and Stacy Hardy's ad agency, Daddy won't you buy me a pony, in the agency premises, a converted Bree Street club. The music: a boere orkes in white shirts and black pants: squash box, Hammond organ and all. The food: plates of droe wors and white bread fingers with peanut butter and banana slices. The drink: Brandy and coke. The mood: Hilarity uncontained.

Saturday, November 9

Gary van Wyk and Lisa Brittan of New York's Axis Gallery have effected a good swop - their New York apartment and the work of looking after the gallery in their absence for a stunning beachfront house at 4th Beach, Clifton. Tonight there are cocktails for local artist friends, and Gary looks three times more relaxed than he ever does in New York.

Monday, November 11

Johannesburg artist Penny Siopis is in town I meet her at the opening of the new show at the AVA - gentle paintings by Nicholas Hales and 'Frames' a show of work by young photographers. My favourite is a large grid of photographs of the view of Table Mountain from his flat by architectural student Solam Mkhabela called 'Moodlines'. Mkhabela lives in Disa Towers, and tells me he made them because it occurred to him that this beautiful closeup view would not have been available to him, as a black person, a few years ago. He would have had to live in the townships.

DIARY ARCHIVE

01.11.02
Gavin Younge's opening and a parcel from Sweden


05.10.02
Visit to Jo'burg


01.10.02
History/Now in Stockholm


18.09.02
Documenta at speed


19.08.02
Sue Williamson is out-and-about in Cape Town


01.08.02
Sue Williamson catches the opening of Big Brother II


19.07.02
'Grime' at Bell-Roberts, Jo'burg Art City & the CT Convention Centre


17.06.02
Gallery-hopping in Cape Town


01.06.02
The Dak/Art Biennnial in Senegal


24.05.02
Sue Williamson in Jo'burg


06.02.02
'Who defines the contemporary? Biennials and the global art world'


23.01.02
Smithsonian's National Museum for African Art, Washington


12.12.01
Homeport at the V&A Waterfront


28.11.01
Jo'burg & the Joubert Park Project


07.11.01
Artist Matthew Hindley at the World Wide Video Festival


24.10.01
Exhibitions in Chicago and Washington


10.10.01
A visit to South Africa House in London


11.09.01
Joubert Park Project; Art Spaces in Gender Perspective, Germany


26.09.01
'Homeport' collaboration; Joubert Park Project; Omar Badsha

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