Archive: Issue No. 73, September 2003

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.
EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB    |    5 Years of Artthrob    |    About    |    Contact    |    Archive    |    Subscribe    |    SEARCH   


15.09.03 Amaler-Raviv, Mthethwa, Nhlengethwa, Place & Yudelman on 8th Havana Biennial
01.09.03 Siemon Allen on 'The American Effect', at the Whitney Museum in New York
01.09.03 Langa, Geers & Allen at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
01.09.03 Liza Grobler, from Cape Town, and Johannesburg's Michael MacGarry
01.08.03 New York show honours music legend Fela Kuti


15.09.03 Hentie van der Merwe in Amsterdam
15.09.03 the trinity session in Berlin
15.09.03 Ed Young in Ghent, Belgium
16.08.03 Langa, Charles and Ledochowski at Venice Biennale 2003
01.06.03 Frances Goodman on group show in Luxembourg
01.06.03 Kentridge and Oguibe at Casino Luxembourg
01.05.03 Marlene Dumas in Venice
01.10.02 South African Family Stories in Amsterdam


15.09.03 Geers and Mthethwa on 8th Istanbul Biennial, 2003


Hentie van der Merwe

Hentie van der Merwe
Percussion band Eternity, 2003
Colour photograph
20 cm x 20 cm

Hentie van der Merwe shows 'Bijlmer groups' in Amsterdam

The Bijlmermeer, or Bijlmer as it is popularly known, is one of the most interesting areas of Amsterdam. Constructed in 1966 as a 'city of the future' it eventually became home to a burgeoning immigrant population. This year, invited to be part of the BijlmAIR artist in residency programme, South African artist Hentie van der Merwe spent six months living and working in a studio in the area. In this time, he became aware of the importance to the social structure of the area of the myriad activity groups involved in sports of all kinds, culture and charity work. He began to take hundreds of photographs of these groups, and it is a ver large selection of these dynamic and engaging images which are currently on view at the Artoteek Zuidoost/Het Nieuwe Podium.

Nine of these group portraits have been turned into posters, and during the run of the exhibition, they are being displayed inside the cars of the metro-lines 53 and 54, which commute daily between Amsterdam Zuidoost and Amsterdam Central Station.

Van der Merwe had the distinction of winning last year's Big Torino prize at the 2nd Torino Biennale, which focusses on emerging artists under 35. ArtThrob is delighted to announce that images from his new series, Bijlmer groups will be the next publication of Editions for ArtThrob, and will be available from October.

Opening: September 6
Closing: September 27


the trinity session in Berlin

Quite functional despite being uppercase disabled, the trinity session make yet another European appearance. 'Learning from*' is the title to a group show being held in Berlin, and sees the trio of Stephen Hobbs, Marcus Neustetter and Kathryn Smith present German audiences with their unique brand of interdisciplinary practice, one that merges art and art administration into as single, tightly bound package.

'Learning from*' focuses on the "dirty realism" of the modern city, a comfortable field of enquiry for trinity session member Stephen Hobbs, currently also shortlisted for the 2003 DaimlerChrysler Award.

'Learning from*' features the following client list Jochen Becker, Claudia Burbaum, Martin Kaltwasser, Folke Köbberling, Stephan Lanz, Katja Reichard and John Duncan, Belfast Exposed, Orhan Esen, Micz Flor/ Merle Kröger/ Philip Scheffner, Shilpa Gupta, Johannes Harnischfeger, Andree Korpys/ Markus L�ffler, Christine Meisner, Margareth Otti, Ismail Sarigöl, Matze Schmidt/ Sebastian Stegner, the trinity session (Stephen Hobbs/ Marcus Neustetter/ Kathryn Smith), Minze Tummescheit and Michael Zinganel.

For further details contact Kathryn Smith on email:

Opens: September 13
Closes: October 3, 2003

Ed Young in Ghent, Belgium

Following last years screenings of Matthew Barney's 'Cremaster ' films, the Flanders International Film Festival in Ghent-Belgium and the museum of contemporary art SMAK presents a collection of film and video works emphasizing the relation between visual artists and the moving image.

Curated by Cis Bierinckx, Cape Town-based Ed Young (of Bruce Gordon fame/ notoriety) will show a range of "subversive" video works, including Damn Those Bitches Represent, The European Collector Who Could Gaze Uninterruptedly, Killing Teddy and Breast, in an event titled 'Camera Lucida II'. Young's presentation will be followed by the world premiere of 'Untitled Sequences 2003' by New Yorker Jeff Preiss and will close with selections from a work in progress titled 'The Boulevard', by the Irish artists Denis Connolly and Anne Cleary.

Also participating in this event, in 'Camera Lucida I', is Jimmie Durham, whose 'The pursuit of happiness' features the Albanian video artist Anri Sala as a Native American artist and gallery owner Mario Pieronni. Other works on show include; Sharon Lockhart's time and space study 'No'; Alexander Sokurov's lyric reflection on art and harmony through the work of the French painter Hubert Robert and some early documentary work by Anri Sala.

Screenings are scheduled as follows:
'Camera Lucida I' - Studio Skoop, Sunday, October 12, at 8pm
'Camera Lucida II' - Studio Skoop, Monday, October 13, at 8pm

Langa, Charles and Ledochowski at Venice Biennale 2003

This is an updated listing: Moshekwa Langa, Clifford Charles and Chris Ledochowski are the three South Africans participating on this year's Venice Bienalle.

Langa and Charles have works on 'Fault Lines: Contemporary Art and Shifting Landscapes'. Curated by Gilane Tawardos, in collaboration with the Forum Africa Contemporary Art, the show brings together contemporary artists from Africa and the African diaspora. The works shown trace the outlines of fault lines that are shaping contemporary experience locally and globally.

Says Tawardos: "These fault lines have been etched into the physical fabric of our world through the effects of colonialism and postcolonialism, of migration and globalisation. Their reverberations echo through contemporary lived experience and in the work of these 14 artists working across a range of media from painting and sculpture through to these 14 artists working across a range of media from painting and sculpture through to architecture, photography and installation. Their works span five decades, four continents and three generations, resisting any notion of an authentic or one-dimensional African experience.

"The nationalist struggles of the first decades of the twentieth century gave rise in the second half of the century to post-colonial independence and a new self-determination in Africa and beyond that articulated itself in a heightened political consciousness but also in new forms of visual and architectural practices. These new practices sought to negotiate the difficult and, as yet, unexplored terrain between tradition and modernity, between formal concerns and political contingencies.

"We have become accustomed to thinking about modernism and modernity in Western terms as a decisive break or rupture with the past and yet it is almost always experienced as an uneven negotiation between past and future that can remain unresolved. This exhibition explores the ambivalent space where tradition and modernity, past histories and future possibilities are mapped out in the work of contemporary artists.

"This exhibition proposes a space where we can engage with these complexities of lived experience through the work of artists who have embraced the ambiguities and inconsistencies of the contemporary world through art works that are by turns witty and serious, monumental and understated," concludes Tawadros.

Langa already a well established personality on the international circuit. Less well known is Clifford Charles, a member of the Magnet collective (that comprises artists drawn from South Africa, Brazil, China, France, Britain, India, Mexico, and Puerto Rico). The first "non-White" student to attend the University of Witwatersrand School of Art in 1987, Charles has been involved in a number of local initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between community arts, practiced in the townships, and the work of professionals well established in existing gallery spaces.

NOTE: Despite being promoted in all the press releases leading up to the opening of this year's 50th Venice Biennale, artists Pitso Chinzima and Veliswa Gwintsa are not participating on Gilane Tawadros's show 'Faultlines'. See NEWS for details.

The photographer Chris Ledochowski shows his studies of the Cape Flats on 'The Structure of Survival', a show focussed on favelas, and curated by Carlos Basualdo.

Opens: June 15
Closes: November 2

'Something About Love'
Invitation image

Frances Goodman on group show in Luxembourg

'Something About Love' is the title to a group show opening at the Casino Luxembourg. Quite literally themes around the subject of love, exhibitors Sue Webster and Tim Noble, as well as former Wits graduate Frances Goodman. Currently on a residency in Antwerp, her Luxembourg outing offers a good opportunity to become acquainted with the artist's emotionally vexed and highly personal work.

Its curator, Enrico Lunghi, capably describes the context of this show. All the participating artists talk about love. They may be the implementation of feelings and situations lived or imagined by the artist. There are also those that show, in a more indirect and abstract manner, the complexity of human relations, as soon as love, the desire to be loved and the quest for a life in which love would occupy a central place are involved. 'Something About Love' offers narrations, mises-en-sc�ne, allusions and metaphors, in the form of photographs, videos and installations, all variously serving to express and project sentiments of love.

Opens: July 4
Closes: September 21

Kentridge and Oguibe at Casino Luxembourg

William Kentridge and Nigerian artist Olu Oguibe are currently participating in this two-person show in Luxembourg. Oguibe is a prolific talent, currently also showing at the New Museum for Contemporary Art in New York, on a show titled 'Black President: the Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti'. His like Kentridge, Oguibe's work is marked by its heightened political consciousness.

Aside from his artistic practice Oguibe ranks alongside Okwui Enwezor as one of Africa's foremost commentators on African art practice. Oguibe, in conjunction with Enwezor, co-edited Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace. His essay 'Art, Identity, Boundaries: Postmodernism and Contemporary African Art' deconstructed a text by Thomas McEvilley on African artists at the Venice Biennale in 1993, exposing the peculiar attitudes and assumptions of critics towards African art and artists. Oguibe is also a prominent force behind Africa's foremost visual arts publication, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art.

Opens: July 3
Closes: September 20

Marlene Dumas

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

Collection: BHP Billiton

Marlene Dumas in Venice

Cape Town born Marlene Dumas has never held a solo exhibition in an Italian museum. 'Suspect' is therefore an important show by one of the most acclaimed painters of recent times.

Presented at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, and curated by Gianni Romano, 'Suspect' includes recent works as well as some new paintings realised specifically for this Venetian venue. The Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa is situated in the fascinating ambience of Palazzetto Tito, located in the historic artists' quarter called Dorsuduro. It is one of the liveliest areas in town, and quite close to the Art Academy, the Pinacoteca, the University of Venice and campo Santa Margherita.

Despite being heralded as an artist who anticipated the figurative trend, which has characterised so much painting and photography of the last decade, Dumas's images, as well as the texts she writes, refuse easy interpretation. The models in her paintings and drawings seem to refuse their traditional passive role by fostering a sort of role-playing with their audience. In her 'Suspect' works everything becomes suspicious, from the painted models to our own attitude as visitors.

Opens: June 12
Closes: September 25

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



Amaler-Raviv, Mthethwa, Nhlengethwa, Place & Yudelman on 8th Havana Biennial

Although touted a biennial, the Havana event has long been a triennial. Only twice has there actually been two years separating biennials: between the first and second (1984 and 1986) and between the third and fourth (1989 and 1991).

This year's event will showcase more than 150 artists and groups. Three African states are represented, with the participant list including: Arlene Amaler-Raviv (South Africa), Luis Bastos (Zimbabwe), David Brazier (Zimbabwe), Calvin Dondo (Zimbabwe), Rehab El Sadek (Egypt), Tapfuma Gutsa (Zimbabwe), Hasan Khan (Egypt), Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa), Sabah Nacem (Egypt), Ousmane Ndiaye Dago (Senegal), Sam Nhlengethwa (South Africa), Rodney Place (South Africa), Dale Yudelman (South Africa) and Dominique Zinkp� (Benin).

The event is organised by the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam, and curated by Hilda María Rodríguez Enríquez (Director), José Manuel Noceda Fernández, Nelson Herrera Ysla, Ibis Hernández Abascal, Margarita S�nchez Prieto, José Fern�ndez Portal and guests Group RAIN. The theme is interchangeably interpreted as Art with Life, or Art and Life.

It is worth noting that the majority of invited artists have had to pay their own expenses (transportation, airfare, accommodations, materials, etc.). This is true of most of the South African participants.

In addition to the central event being held at several exhibition venues, a performance festival, a symposium, and various special exhibitions and projects will also be taking place. As usual Cuban art will be shown across Havana, and not only in official galleries, but certainly in private studios and alternative venues, too.

Opens: November 1, at 4pm
Closes: December 15, 2003

Andrea Robbins & Max Becher

Andrea Robbins and Max Becher
Chief, from the series German Indians, 1997-98
76.4 x 64.4 cm
Chromogenic colour print
Collection of the artists; courtesy Sonnabend Gallery, New York

Siemon Allen on 'The American Effect', at the Whitney Museum in New York

Siemon Allen is presently participating in a group show called 'The American Effect', curated by Larry Rinder, at the Whitney Museum in New York. 'The American Effect' explores a wide range of global perceptions of the United States. With forty-seven artists and filmmakers and three collaboratives selected from thirty countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South and North America, the show surveys works made since 1990 in a wide variety of media, including drawing, photography, film, installation, painting, sculpture, video, and Internet art.

Lawrence Rinder, the Whitney's Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art and curator of the exhibition, notes: "This show carries on the Whitney's long-time commitment to illuminating the times in which we live. America has a profound influence on the daily lives of the world's citizens, and the image of the United States has come to bear almost mythological weight. 'The American Effect' is about the ways in which America's real and imagined effects intertwine to become a compelling source of themes, images, and ideas for artists around the world."

'The American Effect' has been made possible by support from Ronald L. Bailey, The Mat Charitable Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, Jeanne and Michael Klein, AFAA/"Programme Afrique en creations," The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and the National Committee and the Whitney Contemporaries of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Opens: July 3
Closes: October 12, 2003

Langa, Geers & Allen at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

'A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad' brings together an important generation of artists working in a variety of mediums - sculpture, painting, photography, installation, video and performance - exploring issues of authenticity.

Artists creating new work for the exhibition are Siemon Allen (South Africa/Washington DC), Fatma Charfi (Tunisia/Bern, Switzerland), Godfried Donkor (Ghana/London), Mary Evans (Nigeria/London), Meschac Gaba (Benin/Amsterdam), Kendell Geers (South Africa/Brussels), Moshekwa Langa (South Africa/Amsterdam) Ingrid Mwangi (Kenya/Ludwigshafen, Germany), Odili Donald Odita (Nigeria/Tampa, Florida), Owusu-Ankomah (Ghana/Lilienthal, Germany) and Zineb Sedira (Algeria/London).

All artists, born either near the end of colonialism or shortly after (with the exception of South Africa) are making new work in response to the thematic, a fiction of authenticity. As products of the 1960s and 1970s, this important generation of artists challenge the Western invented notion of an authentic Africa. Rooted in exile, diaspora and interculturalism, each artist is creating a new body of work that transcends past limitations of geography, culture, race, ethnicity and nationhood.

This exhibition considers their conceptual art practices, international perspectives and recent entrance into the global area that has created a shift in the way we consider post-modern/post-colonial art production.

Siemon Allen investigates how nation building and identity are created through media attention or the lack of it at specific historical moments. He collects information (stamps, books, newspapers and film) to reveal ways in which perception is formed over time. Interested in world opinion of the U.N. Conference on Racism, held in his hometown of Durban, South Africa, in the fall of 2001, Allen collected United States news coverage of this controversial event, including all mentions of South Africa. The conference coincided with the events of September 11, 2001, thus altering Allen's first impulse for the direction of his work. For 'A Fiction of Authenticity', he has created a new minimalist grid that presents his research over the course of two years. He illustrates this by weaving both the internal and external view of one nation (South Africa) as presented by the media during these coinciding events.

Moshekwa Langa is creating a new body of work combining his interest in the accumulation/dispersal of media, materials and perspectives to gain access to an understanding of home and home away from home. For him, home is rural South Africa and Amsterdam. Langa maps out the often-incongruent movement of the diaspora experience and for 'A Fiction of Authenticity', is creating a new series of expressive painting exploring fictional narratives about the origins of human existence. Culling from fables, mythologies and history, Langa presents non-sequential mappings combined with abstract and representational forms that illustrate various alternative creation myths.

Based in contemporary conceptual practices, Kendell Geers's videos, sound pieces, performances and installations challenge the structure of things, particularly institutional politics, language, history and cultural boundaries. For the Contemporary, Geers will create a neon sign - a single word, SLAUGHTER - near the grounds of the museum, under the name Geers & K.O. Lab. The "S" in the word SLAUGHTER will flicker slightly, change color and fizzle out to reveal the word LAUGHTER, illustrating words within words, and subliminal messages that exist within our daily modes of communication: written and spoken language. SLAUGHTER will be mounted on a building across the street from the Contemporary, making the off-site piece public art available to all.

'A Fiction of Authenticity: Contemporary Africa Abroad' is co-curated by Shannon Fitzgerald, curator, the Contemporary and Tumelo Mosaka, assistant curator, Brooklyn Museum of Art and will travel to venues in the United States - to be announced soon.

A fully illustrated catalogue, produced by the Contemporary, with essays by co-curators Shannon Fitzgerald and Tumelo Mosaka, as well as new essays by Orlando Britto Jinorio, Ery Camara, Okwui Enwezor, Salah Hassan and Gilane Tawadros, accompanies the exhibition.

An unprecedented six-part lecture series and symposium featuring all exhibiting artists, curators and catalogue essayists is being organized in conjunction with the exhibition. The schedule is as follows:

September 20, 2003 - Symposium 10am - 2pm
Gilane Tawadros with exhibiting artists Fatma Charfi, Godfried Donkor and Zineb Sedira Orlando Britto Jinorio with exhibiting artists Meschac Gaba, Ingrid Mwangi and Owusu-Ankomah

October 16, 2003 - 7pm
Salah Hassan: African Modernism
October 23, 2003 - 7pm
Ery Camara: Demystifying Authenticity
November 6, 2003 - 7pm
Tumelo Mosaka with exhibiting artists Siemon Allen, Mary Evans and Moshekwa Langa
December 11, 2003 - 7pm
Shannon Fitzgerald with exhibiting artists Kendell Geers and Odili Donald Odita

Opens: September 20
Closes: January 3, 2004

Low Rider

Invitation image

Liza Grobler and Michael MacGarry on 'Low Rider'

'Low Rider', curated by Jesus Macarena-Avila, celebrates contemporary expressions inspired by low rider cultural aesthetics in different mediums: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, sound and installation work. The show celebrates the folk art aesthetics belonging to Mexican-American communities. From comical manipulations to specific cultural examinations, the artworks acquire socio-political agency and transmit the opinions and voices of the invited artists in respect to the folk tradition of Low-Rider aesthetics.

Liza Grobler, from Cape Town, and Johannesburg's Michael MacGarry represent South Africa.

Opens: September 26
Closes: October 26, 2003

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti

New York show honours music legend Fela Kuti

'Black President: the Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti', currently running at the New Museum for Contemporary Art, is a critical multimedia exploration of the life, music and influence of the legendary Nigerian, arguably Africa's most powerful musician, and would-be presidential candidate. Kuti (1938-97) was a musical revolutionary who achieved a level of stardom in his native Nigeria barely imaginable before his time. A charismatic and controversial bandleader, inventing a new musical genre entitled Afrobeat, Kuti was also a committed activist. Championing the rights of the oppressed against the military regime in Nigeria, Kuti was constantly harassed by the state, and once jailed for 18 months on an alleged currency smuggling charge. His charisma extended to an overwhelming sexual magnetism, and an integral part of his legend was his 27 wives.

The exhibition at the New Museum includes documentary film and photography, and work by 34 artists, including Yinka Shonibare, Pascale Marthine Tayou, the American artist at this year's Venice Biennale Fred Wilson, Olu Oguibe and South Africans Kendell Geers and Moshekwa Langa.

More information,

Opening: July 11
Closing: September 28


Geers and Mthethwa on 8th Istanbul Biennial, 2003

85 artists and groups from 42 countries will participate in this year's Istanbul Biennial. International circuit regulars, Kendell Geers and Zwelethu Mthethwa, will represent South Africa. Hassan Khan (Egypt) and Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon/Belgium) are the only other two artists of African descent showing.

This year's biennale, themed Poetic Justice, is being held under the artistic direction of Dan Cameron, a Senior Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York since 1995. The various works will be on display at four central exhibition areas, as well as at various locations in the city.

Cameron articulates his vision as follows: "In proposing this phrase [Poetic Justice] as the basis for a sustained investigation into the latest developments in contemporary art, the exhibition seeks to articulate an area of creative activity in which the seemingly opposing concepts of poetry and justice are brought into play together. The 8th Istanbul Biennial will raise the questions of 'What is justice? Why has justice emerged today as a question of pressing concern? Is justice possible in today's globalized world?'."

The four main venues are the Antrepo 4 Exhibition Hall; the Tophane-i Amire Cultural Centre (a war-cannon manufacturing facility and barracks that was constructed in 1451, now turned into an exhibition space); the Yerebatan Cistern (built by Justinian in 532 to store water for the Great Palace during Byzantine Empire); and the Haghia Sophia Museum (one of the greatest architectural landmarks of the world).

Panel discussions, at the Auditorium in the Mimar Sinan University, Faculty of Fine Arts, will take place from September 20 to 22.

The biennale will be officially opened at a gala event on September 19, at 7pm.

Opens: September 20
Closes: November 16, 2003