Tuesday, April 1
Every artist looks forward to being able to have a catalogue of work to show, an essential item to have on hand for studio visits from visiting curators. Even artists who are starting out can make their own, using digitally printed images and artist's statements, but it may take years before a properly printed one to go into general distribution can be attained. I have finally reached this exciting point. This is the week my catalogue for the Brussels show which opens at the Centre d'Art Contemporain on April 23 is being printed. Dash out to ABC Press to look at the first sheets to check the colour.
Have decided to make a CDRom with additional video and sound material to go into the back of the catalogue, and am working with Tracy Gander and Arnold Erasmus of Fur, who do all the design and maintenance on www.artthrob.co.za, on this. Old video tapes of past art projects have been hauled out and viewed and mostly rejected. Dozens of slides have been scanned. How to get all of this material into some kind of structure? We work on it.
All this work had been planned for November last year, but then I spent the time working on a proposal for two sculptural installations for the new Convention Centre in Cape Town - a commission which went to Gavin Younge in the end. Then in the beginning of December I went to an artists' workshop in Argentina for 12 days. More time lost. But I think we will make it.
Wednesday, April 2
It was Veronique Malherbe's opening at Joao Ferreira last night, but I was too busy to go. The work included some of Veronique's staged photographs of incidents, and three tents on the floor. There is a programme of the launch of a cd, readings by Veronique, a cake sale and a dinner. The gallery sends me some pix for possible inclusion in ArtThrob.
Thursday, April 3
The printers phone to say there are grey streaks on the cover plates of the catalogue, and the plates will have to be remade, and in the meantime they have pulled the job off the machines. How depressing.
Friday, April 4
Phone the printers. I assume with new plates in hand the cover will get printed today? I'm told it will now be next week. I point out the catalogues are supposed to leave for Brussels on Wednesday, and eventually we agree that the cover will be printed over the weekend.
Saturday, April 5
The opening of Brett Murray's 'White Like Me' at the National Gallery, his Standard Bank Young Artist award show. Can't miss this one. Murray's work hangs in the Lieberman Room, most recently occupied by the large charcoal drawings of William Kentridge, hung against sombre grey. The SANG had hoped Murray would not mind puttting his work up against the grey walls, citing shortage of funds to buy white paint.
In the end, the artist went out and got sponsorship for the paint, the crisp whiteness an essential foil for his acerbic images worked in steel and perspex. Based visually on the sophisticated cartoons of New Yorker magazine, the sting in the tail of the works are punchlines which could only be South African. St Peter at the gate, addressing a pyjama suited, balding white businessman, says, "Could all of you who are white, and think you are African, stand to one side please." Cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro a.k.a. Zapiro opens the show, commenting on Murray's fearlessness in cutting to the bone. What strikes me is how easily Murray has taken the ephemeral nature of the cartoon, a quick laugh before a page is turned, and by treating it as seriously technically as any other subject produced a powerful body of art. These cartoons are constructed of painted metal, and hang almost two metres high.
Sunday, April 6
The printers are working overtime. Can I go out and approve the cover? I certainly can. A feeling of relief when I see the clean colour of the first proof.
Monday, April 7
Willie Bester opens at the AVA tonight, and the Goodman Gallery's Linda Givon has flown down from Joburg to do the opening pleasantries. The centre of attraction is a major new sculpture from Willie - assembled and welded from scrap materials, the piece is a pair of outsize figures - a policeman and his snarling dog. Linda ticks off the major pieces of Willie's work which have gone to institutions in other parts of the world, and wonders if this one will manage to stay here.
Tuesday, April 8
All the work to go to Brussels is picked up to be packed into the crates which have been made. The catalogues should be ready tomorrow, and will go with them.
Wednesday, April 9
'Whatever, wherever' is the take-it-or-leave-it title of photographer Abrie Fourie's show which opens at Joao Ferreira tonight. Random images of urban life - plastic shopping bags caught on barbed wire, for instance - hang on walls, or are illuminated on lightboxes standing on the floor. These lightboxes keep tripping the electricity, so it's an on/off event. I enjoy the randomness, though some of the images have been showing up in Abrie's work for a long time, and more new ones would have been welcome.
Thursday, April 10
Hear from Kings that the work did not go yesterday, as planned, as the customs officials, who have to go and inspect the work before it leaves, will only be able to go today. It will leave tonight. Oh well.
Friday, April 11
Hear from Kings that the work did not go yesterday after all, as the customs officials came too late and even though British Airways especially held the flight up, it was still too late.
Monday, April 14
Hear from Kings that the work did finally leave Friday, and has reached Brussels.