Archive: Issue No. 68, April 2003

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.

15.04.03 Kendell Geers at the Centre Pompidou
15.04.03 Sue Williamson's solo show opens in Brussels
01.04.03 'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' in Amsterdam
15.03.03 Nelson Mandela's Robben Island in Germany
01.10.02 South African Family Stories in Amsterdam

01.02.03 'How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age' opens in the US
01.02.03 Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa
01.02.03 Zwelethu Mthethwa's Photographic Portraits in Ohio
01.02.03 The World Moves - We Follow: Celebrating African Art in Tennessee
01.02.03 Human Rights Prints in Tennessee
01.02.03 Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
'Red Sniper'

Kendell Geers at the Centre Pompidou

'Red Sniper' is a new project piece by Kendell Geers and Patrick Codenys.

European industrial music fans will know Codenys as founder of the influential late 1980s, early 1990s musical group Front 242. Belgium-born Codenys founded Front 242 in 1982 and earned the band a reputation within the industrial/avant garde community for their compelling series of experimental exercises in sound. The band morphed into a trio and as the 1980s progressed the band became a more distinctive unit, using politically motivated samples in their work. Influenced by the German anti-rock movement (Can, Neu, Faust), cinema and architecture, the band now functions as duo (Codenys and Daniel Bressanutti) and continue to run the Art & Strategy design company and record label.

Kendell Geers, who is due to show at Johannesburg's Goodman Gallery in May, is not averse to incorporating pop musical elements into his work. A previous work, shown at London's Delphina Project Space two years ago, included elements of a Sex Pistols song. This new project also follows close on the heals of his appearance at the Palais de Tokyo last year, when the artist launched his monograph My Tongue in Your Cheek. If you can't afford to import it, the latest issue of Art South Africa has Geers as its featured artist.

Although no details are available on the aegis of the 'Red Sniper' show/project, it will doubtlessly be interesting. It stems from an imaginative pairing of individuals.

Opens: April 25, at 8.30p.m

Centre Pompidou, Grande Salle, Level -1, Paris, France
For further details in French, visit

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson
The cover

Sue Williamson at the Centre d'Art Contemporain, Brussels

The first solo show of Sue Williamson's work in Europe will open at the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Brussels on April 23, 2003. It will be a focussed retrospective of the artist's work, and will also serve as the occasion at which a monograph on the artist will be launched.

The Centre, under the direction of Fabienne Dumont, has a programme of showing contemporary Belgian and international artists. Situated in an art deco style building in Brussels, it has a lobby and two floors of exhibition space, and a top floor devoted to an art library and documentation centre.

The monograph Sue Williamson: Selected Work is a co-publication of the CAC, the Goodman Gallery of Johannesburg, Africalia '03 in Brussels, and Double Storey Books, in Cape Town, a division of Juta Books.

The work on the exhibition will include pieces from the From the Inside series, the interactive video installation piece, Can't Forget, Can't Remember, which like the Truth Games series, looks at issues which arose from the proceedings of the TRC, and For Thirty Years Next to his Heart.

Opening:April 23
Closing: June 14

Centre d'Art Contemporain, 63 Avenue des Nerviens, Brussels 1040
Tel: +32 2 735 05 31
Fax: +32 2 735 51 90

'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' in Amsterdam

Following a highly successful tour in South Africa, 'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness', a multimedia exhibition on migration and identity in South Africa, will be travelling to The Netherlands at the end of March 2003.

Originally shown at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town and the Gertrude Posel Gallery in Johannesburg, 'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' has been revised and updated. In addition to historical photographs, archival films and television news footage, 'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' includes work by a number of contemporary photographers, filmmakers and artists, including: David Goldblatt, Themba Hadebe, Henion Han, Randolph Hartzenberg, Jae Maingard, Zola Maseko, Gideon Mendel, Malcolm Payne, Jo Ractliffe, Berni Searle, and Penny Siopis.

'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' is travelling to Amsterdam at the initiative of the Netherlands Institute for South African Africa (NiZA), a NGO founded in 1997 out of the merger of three organisations involved in the anti-apartheid struggle: the Holland Committee on Southern Africa, the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Eduardo Mondlane Foundation. NiZA is committed to the continued development of southern African region and focuses on three areas of activity: media and freedom of expression, human rights and peace building, and economic development.

'Kwere Kwere/Journeys into Strangeness' is curated by Rory Bester and edited by Hedwig Barry. To coincide with the presentation of the exhibition, Bester will also present a public lecture on migration and media at the KIT Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam on March 30, 2003.

According to Time Out Amsterdam Arti is "home to excellent, conversation-inducing temporary shows."

Opens: March 22
Closes: April 15

Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Nelson Mandela's Robben Island in Germany

'My Robben Island' is the title of artwork by ex-president and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela. Sketched and completed by Nelson Mandela between March and June 2002, the series is made up of charcoal sketches of subjects from Robben Island.

The chosen images are said to have resonated with Mr Mandela during the period of his incarceration on the island, and are meaningful both symbolically and emotionally. The sketches have been executed in simple black charcoal lines with selected elements highlighted in pure pastel colours.

Each of the lithographs consists of an edition of 500 signed and numbered, six colour lithographs and 50 artists proofs, made from hand-drawn colour separations by Nelson Mandela. The lithographs have been printed on Velin BFK Rives paper. The processing, proofing and printing of the series was done under the supervision of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. All the printing materials and plates were destroyed on completion of the printing of the lithographs. Proceeds from the sale of the lithographs will be awarded to the Nelson Mandela Trust, an organisation that has been specifically created to distribute funds to programmes and projects that Nelson Mandela personally supports.

Opening: Sunday, March 9 2003 at 4p.m

Inaugural speeches by Dr. Uschi Eid, Secretary of State at Ministry for Development and Cooperation, and Mr. Sibusiso Bengu, Ambassador of South Africa in Berlin, commence at 7 p.m.

To view the sketches, follow this link:

Peter Herrmann Gallery
Torstr. 218, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
Tel: 0049-30-88 62 58 46
Mobile: 0049-172-720 83 13

David Goldblatt

Popo Molefe, Tsholo Molefe, Boîtumelo 'Tumi' Plaatje

Foto: David Goldblatt, 2001

South African Family Stories in Amsterdam

The rich narrative history of nine South African families is revealed in a significant exhibition opening at the KIT Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

'South African Family Stories: A Group Portrait' describes the origins of South Africa through the experiences of nine individual families. Each family story unfolds across four or five generations, with one or two persons representing each generation. Some of the families selected for the exhibition include well-known public figures, such as Sol Plaatje, Marthinus Steyn and Dolly Rathebe, but in general most of the families claim no special public significance. The exhibition is presented as a multimedia presentation, using artwork, photography, film, sound, original documents and objects. A different team of South African artists, photographers, writers and designers was employed to produce each of the nine family stories.

Penny Siopis and photographer Ruth Motau worked on the Plaatje family, while Sam Nhlengethwa and photographer Mothlalefi Mahlabe present the family story of the singer Dolly Rathebe. David Goldblatt paired-up with Claudette Schreuder to profile the Steyn family, Berni Searle interpreting the experiences of the Manuel family from Simonstown. Andrew Verster worked on the Juggernath family from India, while photographer Paul Weinberg and artist Langa Magwa focussed on the family of Zonkezizwe Mthethwa, a respected sangoma living near Ngudwini. The overall composition of the families selected aims to be representative of the social, cultural and geographical variety of people in South Africa.

The exhibition is complemented by a 240-page publication featuring the output of nine writers-researchers interpreting the major moments in the respective families' lives. Each contribution is illustrated with the individual artworks and photographs commissioned for the project. The book also features an introductory essay by Cape Town University's Njabulo Ndebele.

In an effort to offer audiences as comprehensive a portrait as possible of South Africa, the exhibition includes an independent exhibit known as 'the archive'. The installation, supervised by Penny Siopis, offers visitors a chance to browse through a variety of books, magazines and audio-visual material, the hope being that the archive will offer a contemplative space for visitors wishing to answer questions raised during the exhibition. South African Family Stories: A Group Portrait appears at KIT Tropenmuseum from October 4, 2002. After is closure in September 2003, the show will travel to South Africa where it will run at Johannesburg's Museum Africa from January 2004.

Opens: October 4, 2002
Closes: September 21, 2003

See Reviews

KIT Tropenmuseum, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Hours: Daily from 10a.m - 5p.m


Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode
Basketball, 2000
Performance photographs

Wang Jian Wei

Wang Jian Wei
Living Elsewhere, 1999-2000

Going global at the Walker Art Center

An exhibition with the engaging title of 'How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age' opens with an exhibition preview party at the prestigious Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, February 8.

Long in preparation, the exhibition is part of a major four-year initiative in which the institution is seeking to expand its horizons to a global perspective.
Issues at the heart include how art from other parts of the world is being conceived, made and displayed, and if the original intentions of the artist are met or mutated when the work moves away from the locale where it was made and into an international arena.

"Embracing a sense of civic responsibility that redefines activism, these artists seem to prefer 'making art politically' rather than 'making political art'," reads the publicity.
"Taken together, their works explore concepts of the local and the global, but avoid making a distinction between the two".

Of the 27 artists from countries such as US, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, India, and China on the exhibition, many of them are new names to an American audience, and three are from South Africa - Moshekwa Langa, Usha Seejarim and Robin Rhode.
Rhode is one of the artists invited to give a performance on opening night - known for making charcoal drawings on the gallery wall, then interacting with them, the street wise Rhode seldom fails to entertain his audience with his sharp, humorous approach.

Others who will perform on opening night include LA band the Melvins, who will provide a live soundtrack to Cameron Jamie's film, B.B. and Cabelo, of Brazil who will present a new piece accompanied by a band of Rio compatriots.

A full programme of events around the exhibition includes a panel discussion on Artists in Action: Performative Elements in Contemporary Art on February 6, and one on Global curating in the 21st Century on Sunday, February 9.

The exhibition runs until May 4.


Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa

One often underestimates the difficulty of presenting South Africa internationally, more particularly contemporary South African art. This is amply borne out by this cursory overview of the press release to a new show at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. 'Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa' is a show which presents contemporary art from South Africa, "where artists have played a significant role in redefining the social and political identity of the region. This show promises art that reflects both Third World history and First World influence on this area, challenging African and Western notions of art."

Quoting further: " 'Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa' presents a wide range of creative activity in the young nation. South African policymakers have recognized the value of art and artists in the social, economic and educational development of their young nation. In the decade since the abolition of apartheid in 1990 art in South Africa has shifted from resistance art to art committed to the social transformation of the country.

"The works in 'Coexistence' represent the various ways in which the categories of "European" and "indigenous" arts are coexisting and mutually influencing each other. Six major works from the South African National Gallery (SANG) collection, all from 1995, form the exhibition's core. As a group, they contrast the vastly different spaces of the suburb, the township, the rural village, and the central city, and the racial and economic divisions that they mark. With one foot firmly planted in the Third World and the other striding forth into the First World, the art of contemporary South Africa challenges both African and Western notions of art."

'Coexistence' will feature artist Sue Williamson, amongst others, and is co-organized by The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, and the South African National Gallery, Cape Town, and curated by Pamela Allara, Associate Professor, Fine Arts Department, Brandeis University, Marilyn Martin, Director, Art Division, Iziko Museums of Cape Town, and Zola Mtshiza, Assistant Curator, SANG. There will be an exhibition catalogue.

For those unfamiliar with the Rose, it houses Brandeis University's collection of modern and contemporary art. Widely recognized as the finest collection of twentieth century art in New England, the collection includes pieces by the leading artists throughout the century, focussing on post WWII American art including de Kooning, Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Mangold, and Taaffe. Portions of the collection are always on display at The Rose.

Opens: January 22
Closes: June 29, 2003

Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
Lois Foster Wing and Mildred S. Lee Gallery
415 South Street in Waltham, MA 02454, USA
Tel: 781. 736 3434
Fax: 781. 736 3439
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 p.m - 5 p.m

Zwelethu Mthethwa's Photographic Portraits in Ohio

It is certainly a busy season for Cape Town's Zwelethu Mthethwa. 'Zwelethu Mthethwa Photographs: Portraits' is a solo exhibition featuring 10 of his trademark large-scale images (38 x 51 inches), capturing in vivid colour the detailed surroundings of his impoverished subjects.

Opens: February 15, 2003
Closes: April 23, 2003

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Gallery 105
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA
Tel: 216-421-7340

The World Moves - We Follow: Celebrating African Art in Tennessee

The title of 'The World Moves - We Follow' is taken from a Yoruba proverb, speaks to the inevitability of change, in this instance regarding African art. "Many still see African art as primarily being comprised of exotic masks and figure carvings coming from a nebulous time-period," comment the organisers referring to the so-called "ethnographic present."

Seeking to introduce African art to a new audience (eastern Tennessee has never had a major, general exhibition of African Art), this exhibition intends to present a broad survey of African art forms. African Art survey exhibitions have been presented in a number of world venues. Many surveys are focused on particular collectors and their tastes for figures and masks, or permanent collections (for example, the Field Museum of Chicago and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's recent reinstallations, which reflect museums' own collection history and the story they currently want to tell about Africa).

Having neither local museum collections or many private collectors of African Art, the challenge was to come up with a way to celebrate the artistic richness of the African heritage as inclusively as possible. It was imperative to incorporate some of the newest research on previously neglected artforms and geographic areas and include these arts under the umbrella of what represents African Art. The neglected geographic areas of Madagascar, southern and eastern Africa and Ethiopia and the largely ignored art forms such as weapons, furniture, currency tokens, textiles, and contemporary art are therefore incorporated into this exhibition.

" We have chosen to completely integrate the widest possible range of art forms, and thus confirm their incorporation into the canon of African Art," state the organisers. "To do this successfully it was critical to select the very best examples of many categories of objects." The exhibition has thus been organised into a number of themes: Leadership and Status, Death and the Ancestors, Utility and the Art of Living, Transitions, and Connecting with the World. Objects to be included cover a variety of forms (masks, figures, textiles, paintings, weapons, furniture); time periods (ranging from a bronze head and plaque from the ancient kingdom of Benin up to contemporary times with factory-printed cloth and art about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa); and geographic areas (ranging from Madagascar to eastern and southern Africa, through central and western Africa, to northern and north-eastern Africa).

'The World Moves - We Follow' is complemented by a number of events (musical and dance performances by the Soweto Street Dance Company, lectures, a play, a conference, film series, etc.), held under the umbrella of the "Africa Semester, Spring 2003".

Opens: January 10
Closes: May 18, 2003

Frank H. McClung Museum of the University of Tennessee
701 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0470, USA

For More Information on Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

Human Rights Prints in Tennessee

As part of 'The World Moves - We Follow' exhibition, the University of Tennessee is presenting a collection of prints illustrating the clauses of South Africa's Bill of Rights. 'Images of Human Rights' is a portfolio of prints produced by Artists for Human Rights - a group of artists described as coming "from the diverse cultures of South Africa."

Several lunchtime talks are being planned at the College of Law in connection with the exhibition. Professor Ebrahim Moosa, formerly of the University of Cape Town and now of Duke University, will speak on how the Bill of Rights deals with questions of religious freedom, addressing the relationship between Islam and constitutionalism in South Africa. His talk is tentatively scheduled for late March.

The exact time and place for the showcasing of 'Images of Human Rights' is yet to be determined. More information on the portfolio can however be found at the Images of Human Rights web site, which includes an introduction by Desmond Tutu.

Opens: February 1
Closes: May 18, 2003

College of Law Building
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Tel: 865. 974 1000

For More Information on Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950

The Peter Weiss Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind. Consisting of more than 10 000 postcards, published between 1890 and 1950, all of them depicting blacks, the collection represents an invaluable source for understanding the role of Africa and blackness in European popular culture in the first half of the 20th century.

During the Africa Semester 2003, 'Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950', an exhibition at the Black Cultural Center, will offer the public the chance to view a representative, thematically focused excerpt of the collected materials. Approaches range from 'entertaining' caricatures through to expressionist paintings to advertisements and political propaganda. This will be the first exhibit of the Weiss Collection on the American continent. (See NEWS.)

For more information on 'Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950' and the Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

For further information please contact: