Archive: Issue No. 66, February 2003

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

15.02.03 'Curating the Waves ' in Paris
16.01.03 BG Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2002
01.10.02 South African Family Stories in Amsterdam

15.02.03 Intersections: South African Art from the Billiton Collection at the RMIT Gallery

01.02.03 Berni Searle's 'A Matter of Time' at Berkeley, California
01.02.03 'How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age' opens in the US
01.02.03 Body and the Archive: Four South Africans in New York
01.02.03 Roger Ballen at San Diego's Museum Of Contemporary Art
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
01.02.03 The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions
16.01.03 Zwelethu Mthethwa and Nicholas Hales in Detroit

'Curating the Waves' in Paris

Curating the Waves, Gavin Younge's meditation on African wars and the persistence of memory will be premiered in Paris at the Cinéma l'Arlequin. The work will be shown as part of the 'Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin' festival. The 10 minutes DVD projection evokes three distinct sites: the private swimming pool as a cypher of colonial space; the seabed as the cypher of colonial exploration; and literature as the cypher of colonial expansion. The piece was filmed in Angola (1977) and Cape Town (2002).

The video will be shown alongside 300 other productions, from Paris and Berlin, France, Germany, and 70 other countries, including Kazakhstan, Estonia, Uzbekistan, Correa and Thailand, as well as the USA, Russia and Japan. Short, medium and full-length films, including feature films, documentaries, experimental cinema and video installation work in 35mm, 16mm, super 8 and video form will be shown.

Alongside the work of internationally acclaimed artists and filmmakers will be that of film d�buts and pieces by artists who are just starting out. Over fifty of the films that have been selected are by art and cinema students. This year's festival will include, amongst others, Dani�le Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub and Jonas Mekas. Over 90% of all screenings will be premiéres in Paris.

'Curating the Waves' will be shown on the February 22 and 23, 2003.

Opens: February 18
Closes: February 28, 2003

6th 'Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin'
Movie Theatre the Arlequin, 76 rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris
Subway station: Saint Sulpice, or Saint-Germain-des-Pres.
For further information and to receive the program by email:
Free entrance for all exhibition spaces and permanent program.

BG Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2002

18,500 entries from over 60 countries were received for the 19th annual wildlife photography contest. Organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, with sponsorship from the BG Group, South Africa's Richard du Toit received a Highly Commended award in the category Wild Places for his photograph of the Chobe River at sunset.

Closes: Spring 2003

Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD
Tel: 020 7942 5020
Hours: Mon - Sat 10am - 5.30pm, Sun 11am - 5.30pm

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 4 October 2002. After is closure on 21 September 2003, the show will travel to South Africa where it will run at Johannesburg's Museum Africa from January 2004. For more information about the exhibition, visit

See Reviews

The KIT Tropenmuseum is open daily from 10.00 -17.00, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Berni Searle

Berni Searle
A Matter of Time, 2003
Video still

Berni Searle at Berkeley, California

'A Matter of Time', Berni Searle's first solo museum show in the United States opened at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum on February 2, Searle, who creates performative video works in which her own body is used as a site for exploring issues of race and gender through the filter of her personal experiences as a South African woman of mixed race, here uses olive oil as medium for an evocative inquiry into the connotations of skin tone and texture. In the past, Searle, who is this year's Standard Bank Young Artist, has used substances such as spices and flour and water in her investigations. This new work was especially commissioned for this show. 'A Matter of Time' was curated by Heidi Zuckerman, who will lead a walkthrough of the show, part of the Matrix series of art exhibitions, on Thursday, February 20, at 12.15 p.m.

Opening: February 2
Closing: March 23

UC Berkeley Art Museum
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California
Tel: (510) 643-4547

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.


Hentie van der Merwe

Hentie van der Merwe
Cape Mounted Rifles (Dukes),Bandsman (1913-1926), 2000
Lambda/diasec print

courtesy Galerie Gabriele Rivet, Cologne

Body and the Archive: Four South Africans in New York

'Body and the Archive' is a group show featuring work by Kay Hassan, Senzeni Marasela, Zwelethu Mthethwa and Hentie van der Merwe. Curated by Lauri Firstenberg the show takes its name from an essay by Alan Sekula. 'Body and the Archive' also references Sekula's essay as its framework for addressing the photographic archive in the context of South Africa.

All four artists represented in 'Body and the Archive' can be seen to be engaged with either literal appropriation of archival material or a kind of metaphoric negotiation of the classification of subjects that the archive maintains. The artists produce various brands of photographic portraiture and anti-portraiture in an effort to challenge and defeat the archive. They often explore and locate new ways to reconstruct the subject by reinventing or negating the colonial archive by means of subversion and refusal.

While Hassan, Mthethwa and van der Merwe have all established themselves as emerging talents on the international scene, Senzeni Marasela is a relative newcomer. A recent artist in residence on Emma Bedford's FRESH programme of events at the SANG in 2001/2, Marasela is one of South Africa's few young black female artists. Her work probes at the gaps in South African history.

Opens: January 18, 6 - 8:30pm
Closes: February 22, 2003

See News

Artists Space
38 Greene Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10013
Tel: 212. 226 3970
Fax: 212. 966 1434
(Due to an overwhelming number of emails sent to Artists Space, please allow 1-2 weeks for a response. Thank you for your patience.)
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11-6 p.m Admission is free.

Roger Ballen

Roger Ballen
Portrait of a sleeping girl, (2000)
From Outland

© Phaidon Press Ltd, London

Roger Ballen at San Diego's Museum Of Contemporary Art

A native New Yorker, Roger Ballen has lived in South Africa since the 1970s. Although well established in South Africa and Europe, his work has only recently begun to receive critical recognition in his homeland. 'Roger Ballen: Photographs' is a major retrospective that will introduce American audiences to his photographic tableaux and abstracted still lives, presenting work ranging from his doom laden investigations into apartheid's outland, the nature of contemporary photographic practice, and the artist's intensely introspective nature.

A somewhat controversial figure in South Africa, Roger Ballen creates startling, confrontational, and intensely personal photographs. Blurring the boundaries between documentary photography and constructed installations, his art confounds expectation and challenges assumptions about the medium, his subjects, and the role of the photographer. Not too long ago it occasioned some heated debate in The Sunday Independent.

'Roger Ballen: Photographs' opens with photographs from Ballen's book Dorps, the photo essay that launched Ballen's career in 1986 with straightforward architectural images made in the tradition of Walker Evans. The exhibition also includes work from Platteland (1994) in which Ballen moved beyond the intrigue of rural structures to photograph the people who live in these environments. Shot with a direct flash, his poor white subjects, their personalities and their flaws, are depicted in stark relief set against the walls of their homes.

Also included in this exhibition is Ballen's more recent work. In these images he continues to portray human tableaux, but the walls take on a new prominence and draw attention to the abstract nature of his work. The walls frame Ballen's subjects and what he calls "installations" of electrical wiring, hangers, and graffiti. He has begun to photograph his wall compositions without a human counterpart, creating images that conflate the mechanics of photography and drawing. Interestingly enough American viewers have likened Ballen's use of his camera as a drafting tool to the early history of the medium, recalling Henry Fox Talbot's Pencil of Nature and the shaky draftsmanship of Cy Twombly.

Once 'Roger Ballen: Photographs' has completed its run at Museum of Contemporary Art, it will subsequently travel to the Berkeley Museum of Art.

Opens: December 5, 2002
Closes: February 16, 2003

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Downtown
1001 Kettner Blvd. (at Broadway), San Diego, CA 92101, USA
Tel: 619. 234 1001
Fax: 619. 234 1070
Hours: 11 a.m to 5 p.m everyday (except Wednesdays)

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:

The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions

'The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions' exhibition and program series is described as "an unprecedented survey of African artistic traditions that have been passed down from mothers to daughters for centuries." The exhibition features more than 75 photographs by internationally acclaimed photojournalist Margaret Courtney-Clarke. Captured over twenty-years documenting traditions in South, West, and North Africa, "the images pay homage to the beauty African women have created in their lives despite social, political, and economic upheavals."

Courtney-Clarke, who was born and raised in Namibia, has previously published her body of work in the books Ndebele, African Canvas, and Imazighen. The photographs on view are complemented by more than 30 objects, many of which have been photographed with their creators.

The exhibition surveys traditional interior and exterior housing design, pottery, weaving, and other decorative arts. Internationally renowned Ndebele traditional artist Francina Ndimande and her daughter Angelina Ndimande will travel from their home in Mabhoko, South Africa, to create a major architectural mural at the Schomburg Center. Two of their teenage students from the Ndebele Foundation Cultural Centre in Mabhoko will accompany them to New York.

Opens: October 28, 2002
Closes: March 30, 2003

Exhibition Hall, Latimer/Edison Gallery, and American Negro Theatre
The New York Public Library
8 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212. 221 7676 or 212. 4912200
fax: 212. 768 7439
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Detroit Museum of New Art

Detroit Museum of New Art (MONA), U.S.A.

Adad Hannah

Adad Hannah, Canada
Stills excerpts: Water Cooler, 2002

Zwelethu Mthethwa and Nicholas Hales in Detroit

Zwelethu Mthethwa and Nicholas Hales will be exhibiting at the 2nd Annual Detroit International Video Festival, hosted at the Detroit Museum of New Art (MONA), U.S.A.

Hale's piece, titled Balance: Cape Town, masculine and feminine, was first shown at the Cape Town's AVA Gallery in November 2002. According to the artist, "The premise for this video is whether the Jungian theory of masculine and feminine in the human psyche can be translated to a city (Cape Town) and to assess the balance and relationship between the masculine and feminine energies." Mthethwa is showing a five minute piece titled Rebirth (2000).

Commenting on the aegis of the festival, MONA's Project Director Jef Bourgeau said the festival will help enliven and educate the Mid-America as to what is most current and the best of video art. "The festival will continue to highlight the best of foreign and domestic videos." Last year's festival included Canadian Amy Lockhart's The Devil Lives in Hollywood (1999) and Miss Edmonton Teen Burger (1983). Participants on this year's exhibition include Michelle Handelman, with Dj Spooky vs. Webspinstress (2002).

Opens: January 11
Closes: February 22, 2003

Detroit Museum of New Art
1249 Washington Boulevard, Second Floor, Suite 200, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Tel: 313. 961 2845
Hours: 1pm - 6pm Friday through Sunday


Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas
'Purple Pose', 1997
lithograph 30/50

Collection: BHP Billiton

Intersections: South African Art from the Billiton Collection at the RMIT Gallery

Spanning the years from 1948 to the present, the BHP Billiton Collection is one of the most extensive corporate collections in South Africa. Corporate collections, in South Africa, remain one of the richest sources, particularly of contemporary art since they have displayed an independence and a willingness to collect a broader range of artistic production than their museum counterparts. As founding curator of the Billiton collection, Kendell Geers began the process of putting together a collection of work which functions as an archive to a changing society, one which is a �complex space of intersections, cross-cultures, hybrids, synergies and oppositions�. He left this position a few years back but until recently remained an advisor to the collection. Current curator is Natasha Fuller and it is she who has put the exhibition together.

To be seen in Melbourne is work by exiles like Gavin Jantjes, alongside conceptual heavyweights like Willem Boshoff. Kentridge will be seen alongside younger artists like Lisa Brice and Siemon Allen. Johannes Phokela and Sue Williamson, both of whose work features in the show, will be present for walkabouts of the exhibition along with curator Natasha Fuller. They will be joined at 1pm on Thursday February 20 by writer/poet John Mateer and African specialists Assoc. Prof. Jock McCulloch, International Development, RMIT; and Assoc. Prof. David Dorward, Director, African Research Insitute, La Trobe University in a discussion of South Africa�s recent socio-economic and political history in the context of the cultural documents and artworks in the exhibition Intersections.

Says Suzanne Davies, director of the RMIT Gallery, �(W)e anticipate these works of art will generate considerable discussion concerning the reality and residue of Apartheid�. Billiton, which operates in Australia as well, plan a reciprocal exhibition of Australian work (from their collection there) in the near future.

Opening: Wednesday 19 February 2003

RMIT Gallery
Storey Hall, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9925 1717
Fax: +61 3 9925 1738
Hours: Monday - Friday 11 a.m - 5 p.m, Saturday 2 - 5 p.m