Archive: Issue No. 61, September 2002

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LISTINGS/INTERNATIONAL

EUROPE
01.09.02 History/Now in Stockholm
01.09.02 Upstream commemorates VOC in Holland
01.08.02 Jane Alexander at DaimlerChrysler, Berlin
01.06.02 South African artists at Documenta11 in Kassel, Germany

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
01.09.02 Siemon Allen: 'Newspapers' at Fusebox, Washington DC

NORTH AMERICA
19.08.02 Media art in Mexico City

AFRICA
01.09.02 Julia Tiffin : 'Body Art' at the Arthotheque, Reunion
EUROPE

Willie Doherty

Willie Doherty
Incident
Invitation image for History/Now

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson
Can't forget, can't remember
interactive projection
Still


History/Now in Stockholm

An exhibition with the theme of the role of photography in documenting or framing history opens at the Liljevalchs Konsthall in Stockholm on September 7. The key concepts of 'History/Now' are historical processes, slowness, social and economic structures, identity, power and resistance, documentary and construction, private matters as political issues, narratives parallel with the official position. After the exhibition closes in October, it will tour under the auspices of Riksutställningar, the Swedish Travelling Exhibitions programme. The curators are Magnus af Petersens, producer at Riksutställningar and Niclas Õstlind, curator at Liljevalchs Konsthall. 'History/Now' will be the principal exhibition at Xposeptember - Stockholm Photo Festival 2002.

A curatorial statement reads: "With the exhibition 'History/Now' we want to show how the presence of the past in the present is portrayed in contemporary art, particularly art that uses photography and video. But also how people consciously take the narration of history in their own hands to give their own picture of events and people in our own time, thereby giving them a role in the history which will form our future. The exhibition will contain works of art that, because of their visual strength and their content, create both a discursive and experiential space in which one can reflect on history's varying meanings and expressions.
"Our common history is daily created through the media but the news reports seldom leave room for reflection on the structures and the slow processes that form our own world and that of history. We can see the centres of catastrophes and the venues of conflict in live broadcasts all round the clock. But such reporting focuses on the decisive moments and it is presented in dramaturgical form with very obvious similarities with Hollywood films. Also, it is a media world which, despite the choice of programmes and the number of actors is controlled by a handful of global corporations with interlocking ownership. In the best instance, art can be the field where one can portray experiences and problem areas in a way that stimulates a more complex analysis and also provides alternative portrayals of what is formulated on TV and radio as well as in the newspapers".

Participants include Marcelo Brodsky, Miriam Bäckström, Willie Doherty, Carl Johan Eriksson, Alfredo Jaar, Carl de Keyzer, Maria Miesenberger, Zineb Sedira, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Carrie Mae Weems, Sue Williamson and Jasmila Zbanich. On Monday, September 9, the Argentinian photographer Marcelo Brodsky and South African Sue Williamson together with writer Stanley Cohen will participate on a panel which examines the possibility of reconciliation in a post-traumatic society.


Rob Moonen

Rob Moonen
Goede Hoop 2002
Installation view at Amsterdam Historisch Museum
Rusted steel

Rob Moonen

Rob Moonen
Goede Hoop (detail)

Senzeni Marasela

Senzeni Marasela
Good Hope
Proposal drawing


Upstream commemorates VOC in Holland

Upstream is an international art event which commemorates the founding of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) 400 hundred years ago. On an art route taking in 11 locations in Amsterdam and 14 in Hoorn, the small town from which the sailing ships of what many regard as the first multinational company in the world set forth on their trading voyages.

All the work has been made especially for this occasion by artists and composers from the Netherlands and countries along the former VOC trade route. South Africa is represented by Senzeni Marasela of Johannesburg. For Upstream, Marasela has created two works. Rainbow stories, at the Hortus in Amsterdam, deals with the legacy of spoiled identities in South Africa. Marasela tells stories of her own growing up in one of the extreme right-wing areas of the country. Rainbow stories responds and makes reference to the way in which history has been documented, particularly that of the Afrikaners. This work also attempts to fill in the gaps and tell �rainbow stories� that otherwise would not have had the chance to be heard.

Castle of Good Hope, an installation with light, metal lanterns, pepper and music, can be seen in Hoorn. The Castle of Good Hope was constructed by the VOC in Cape Town. It belongs to South Africa�s cultural heritage, but its meaning is not the same for all South Africans. This work investigates the gaps in the history of the VOC, focusing on the perspective of the original inhabitants of the Cape, the San and the Khoi.

Dutch artist Rob Moonen who has made a number of visits to Cape Town also makes reference to the Castle in his piece, Goie Hoop, which records all the names of the VOC ships which visited the Cape, emblazoning them on rusted steel posts.

The installations can be seen from September 7 until October 20. For more information, check the website www.up-stream.nl.


Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander
African Adventure
1999-2002
Installation view, Cape Town Castle

Jane Alexander

Jane Alexander
African Adventure
Installation detail


Jane Alexander opens in Berlin

The DaimlerChrysler 2001 Award show of sculptor Jane Alexander opened at DaimlerChrysler Contemporary in Berlin on July 26, moving from its first German showing in Stuttgart. Alexander is internationally recognised as one of the most talented and powerful sculptors ever to come out of South Africa, and this exhibition provides audiences with the opportunity of viewing the 'African Adventure' series which the artist has been working on since 1999.

In the installation piece, Alexander plots out what one takes to be her vision of South Africa in the process of transformation, and whether you find this bleak and threatening in the isolation of her characters, or challenging in the suggestion of quirky cross cultural possibilities and making-do will probably depend on your view of the state of the country. Here are the figures from past Alexander scenarios, changing and regrouping for a new engagement. The frozen male figure, with fixed gaze, here has cords tied round his waist supporting all manner of old farming implements and toy metal trucks. Hovering in one corner of the earth arena is the neatly suited Japanese businessman, symbol of globalisation, ever alert for a new investment possibility. The trickster hyena/dog character has a springbok skin thrown over his back, and far from following on behind his master, has turned away from him. Girl with gold and diamonds with her golden-horned mask and arms without hands is little sister to the battered Oh Yes Girl of 1995. Strange but familiar hybrid bird and animal figures complete the tableau.

It is interesting to consider that in this art world era where a majority of international artists depend ever more heavily on the digital image, two of the most successful South African artists are Alexander and William Kentridge, both of whom in her and his own way use traditional drawing and sculpting skills to draw on South African archetypes in writing scenarios which give poetic depth to the contemporary history of this nation.

Videos and photographs complete Alexander's DaimlerChrysler exhibition, and the accompanying catalogue, documenting as it does all Alexander's most important works, is an important addition to the growing body of work on South African art. The show moves to the Pretoria Art Museum in November, and from there to Oliewenhuis in Bloemfontein and the SANG in Cape Town.

A monograph on Alexander has been published by HatjeCantz Verlag, Ostfildern, as part of the award.

Opening: July 26
Closing: September 15

DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin


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), was 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) is 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

See REVIEWS

Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel, Germany
Tel: +49 561 70 72 70
Email: info@documenta.de
Website: www.documenta.de

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Siemon Allen

Siemon Allen invitation


Siemon Allen: 'Newspapers' at Fusebox, Washington DC

Opened this weekend in Washington DC was Durban artist Siemon Allen's 'Newspapers'. 'Newspapers' continues Allen's investigation into the idea of "imaging" South Africa - in this instance through the lens of the news media - as well as his ongoing interest in collections. Whereas 'Stamp Collection' (2001) exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Artists Space in New York and the Renaissance Society in Chicago, explored how a nation images itself through the official channel of government issued stamps, 'Newspapers' examines how a country is imaged externally through coverage in the foreign press.

Allen's research brought to light questions and concerns regarding the news media, including how coverage defines the importance given to a place and how the nature of that coverage perpetuates or dispels limited or stereotypical notions of that place.

Begun a year ago as a research project documenting US coverage of the 2001 United Nations Racism Conference in Durban, 'Newspapers' has since evolved as a part of the most comprehensive and methodical of the artist's collection projects. In the past year Allen collected newspapers from a number of US cities as a record of how each constructs an image of another place. For his exhibition at Fusebox, Allen collected both the 'Washington Post' and the 'Washington Times'. Subsequent versions of 'Newspapers' will be exhibited in St Louis, Boston and New York.

Fusebox, 1412 Fourteenth Street NW, Washington DC 20005
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday 12 - 8pm, Sunday 12 - 6.00 pm
For further information contact Sarah Finlay (202) 299-9220

SOUTH AMERICA

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson
Can't forget, can't remember
Interactive video projection


Media art in Mexico City

The International Festival of Video Art - Vidarte 2002 - will take place at the Palacio Postal, the Postal Palace, in historic downtown Mexico City from August 27 to September 7. The festival was started in 1990, with the aim of dissolving the geographic frontiers and enhancing the relationship between Mexican and foreign artists, and has become one of the most popular cultural events in the city.

This year, the festival pays tribute to Bill Viola, the renowned American video artists, who will give a master conference and a retrospecive of his single channel videos.

One of the curators of the festival is American based curator Olu Oguibe, who has invited Cape Town artist Sue Williamson to send the CDRom projection Can't forget, can't remember, made in collaboration with Tracy Gander and Arnold Erasmus. Currently showing at the South African National Gallery, the piece examines two cases which came before the TRC. (See Project)

AFRICA

Julia Tiffin

Julia Tiffin
'Buried Alive'
2001


Julia Tiffin : 'Body Art' at the Arthotheque, Reunion

South African Julia Tiffin, last seen on a well received solo show at João Ferreira in Cape Town, is showing together with the Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie and Thierry Fontaine of France on an exhibition entitled 'Body Art' at Artothèque of La Reunion Department of France which opened at the end of August and continues till December.

Curated by Caroline de Fondaumière, 'Body Art' seeks to investigate the complicity between the photographic medium and the body of the artist as revealed by the experiences of three plastic designers of different origin and culture.

What is a body, what is matter? Modern science is still wondering about it. The artist can also perceive this indecisive, fragile notion. By choosing to use a two-dimensional surface as a means of expression, the artist invents a new reality.

Opening: August 30
Closing: December 20

Artotheque du Departement de la Reunion
34, Rue Roland Garros, 97400 Saint-Denis, Reunion
Tel: ++ 262 41 7550
Website: www.cg974.fr
Email: artotheque@cg974.fr
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 6pm; Sunday 9am to 5pm

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