JANUARY 7 - 15
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Every summer, like the swallows, Rose Shakinofsky and Claire Gavronsky (Rosenclaire) fly south from Italy with a group of international studenti, who are treated to a round of studio and gallery visits before having to make their own work. This morning, it is my turn to have them come up to the studio. I try not to go on too long about my own work, and enjoy looking at the catalogue they have put together on theirs. .
The first art opening of the New Year. Young artist Cameron Platter's drawings and video are up at the Joao Ferreira Gallery. After a week or two out of the studio and on to the beach everyone looks tanned and relaxed and not as bitchy as usual. In fact, everyone looks terribly pleased to see everyone else. A bit like the first day back at boarding school after the summer hols. The general air of bonhomie is helped along by the champagne and lavish snacks. Oh, the work. Probably this is also adding to the generally upbeat atmosphere. Entitled 'The Love is Approaching' , Platter says his work is inspired by desert islands, palm trees, sharks, fast cars, politicians, cocktails, dark and stormy nights, frank sinatra .. well the list is too long, but you get the influences. Very large colour drawings which look for the most part like illustrations from a children's book, simply but very well rendered in coloured pencil. Playful and engaging.
Wednesday, January 14.
The second opening of the New Year. Ed Young's 'Asshole' at the Brendon Bell-Roberts.
The formula is very close to Young's previous show, 'Muse', at which the string quartet of that name played, while guests ate and drank, and half the gallery was cordoned off into a VIP area with a bouncer at the entrance. The difference this time is that the string quartet has been replaced by bartenders/exotic dancers in miniscule denim shorts. A music video is played over three monitors, the dancers writhe bare breasted in front of the monitors. Ho hum. The situation is retrieved somewhat by Young's catalogue with Andrew Lamprecht's witty essay.
Thursday, January 15
The Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennial opens tonight. Entitled 'Waterway', sponsored by Spier and organised by Public Eye, 10 artists have made site specific pieces along the edge of the river that runs through the Spier Wine Estate, thirty minutes out of Cape Town. US artist Marek Ranis has had satellite maps of South Africa printed on large cloths, and turned them into tented areas, so one can lie on ones back on the grass, and gaze up into the land suspended above one. Italian artist Carlotte Brunetti has gilded large granite rocks by the side of the river, to provide a space for contemplation. In the evening sun, the transformation is quite beautiful.
Local artist Sanell Aggenbach has hunted down those woven metal garden chairs that used to grace backyard braais in the sixties, welded on longer legs, painted them green, and arranged them in a rush towards the water. Lemmings her piece is called. Jacques Coetzer's Corporate Giant is a blocky lego man which dwarfs the artist - constructed out of beer crates sponsored by SA Breweries. Disastrously, Dutch artist Arno Arts had conceived a piece of almost 300 'flames' of wood intended to create the illusion that the water was on fire, but unseasonally heavy rains on Wednesday night dislodged and carried many away downstream, where they could be spotted tangled in reeds ...