Archive: Issue No. 99, November 2005

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4.11.05 Penny Siopis at the Goodman Gallery
4.11.05 Sandile Zulu and Gonçalo Mabunda at Afronova
4.11.05 Zhané Warren at Franchise
4.11.05 Bronwyn Millar at Obert Contemporary
4.11.05 'Women by Women' at the Johannesburg Art Gallery

7.10.05 Walter Battiss at the Standard Bank Gallery
7.10.05 Strijdom van der Merwe at University of Johannesburg Art Gallery
7.10.05 Andrew Munnik at Gallery @ 157

5.08.05 Jurgen Schadeberg at Museumafrica


Penny Siopis

Penny Siopis
Blush series, 2005
Work in progress

Penny Siopis at the Goodman Gallery

In her powerful new paintings entitled 'Passions and Panics', Penny Siopis gives form to what she sees as 'emotional states that exist on a 'knife-edge' between panic and passion, terror and tenderness.' In this she continues exploring what she calls 'a poetics of vulnerability'.

Her 'blush' series combines painting and found objects to explore how tragedy is codified in images. Siopis says 'Exaggerated gestures we associate with tragic painting in European art history blur with current mass media pictures of trauma. Paint itself speaks of entanglements of emotions as it pools, runs, drips and congeals.'

In her 'Shame' series Siopis gives shape to the deeply psychological state of distress we call shame. Lacquer paint conventionally used for staining glass is combined with oil and enamel paint and little rubber stamps are imprinted into the painted image, their clichéd emotions lending a painful ironic tone to the scenes. The 'Pinky Pinky' series continues Siopis's interest in how the urban legend of Pinky Pinky speaks of the fears and phobias of our post-apartheid moment, and the unspeakable psychic states of anxiety and moral panics in society at large.

Opens: November 5
Closes: November 26

Sandile Zulu

Sandile Zulu

Gonçalo Mabunda

Gonçalo Mabunda

Sandile Zulu and Gonçalo Mabunda at Afronova

Afronova presents an exhibition of new works by Jo'burg-based Sandile Zulu and Gonçalo Mabunda from Maputo. In this show, both artists explore the cycles of destruction and regeneration in the process of creation and history, suggesting new symbols for universality and vitality.

An internationally acclaimed artist, Mabunda deals with the fierce destruction of civil war by neutralising its weapons and creating peaceful or cheerful sculptures. In 1995, he worked with South African sculptor Andries Botha which proved to be a very influential experience. He views creation as a healing process and this exhibition is a celebration of invincible optimism and resilience. Mabunda invents a universal language from specific historical dramas.

Zulu, in his own way, explores the elemental cycle of life in search of new meanings and creative truth by burning and extinguishing canvases and materials, leaving behind the charred, blistered remains in a process that he refers to as artomism. Here again, the fire as well as the materials and the tools are metaphoric codes in themselves and a means of construction, liberation and purging. Beyond the apparent quiet harmony of the works, one can always sense a subtle but solid force of permanent and endless transformation that speaks of the human experience. Zulu's introspective journeys translate into the external spheres of psychological relationships and cosmological explorations.

Opens: October 28
Closes: November 26

Zhané Warren

Zhané Warren
Quiet Endings, 2004
Digital print on Hahnemuhle paper
60 x 40 cm

Zhané Warren at Franchise

'Quiet Endings' is an exhibition of prints and video projections made over the past three years. The artist calls this his first 'serious' solo exhibition, comprising successions of episodes that contain small revelations and endings. She describes these 'episodes' as her 'processing of loss and psychological burdens for the purpose of obtaining a sense of purging, healing and catharsis through physiological processes'.

The works on show document her performances in digital video and print formats, and act as an imprinted residue of those isolated events. Warren is an accomplished printmaker, and these works display a profound sensitivity to this art form. Visitors will also be able to view video works, asemtogte, ...dit begin by die voete, uitmond, and eatmyheartout.

Warren's versatile practice comprises performance art, sound, video work, lithography, digital and photogravure prints. She has participated in various group exhibitions in South Africa, Belgium and Canada. She has performed in Belgium, at the Old Fort, at Outlet and at the Aardklop festival. She has also been accepted to perform at the 'Body Parts 2006 Performance Art Festival' hosted by the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, in February next year.

Opens: November 4
Closes: November 19

Bronwyn Millar

Bronwyn Millar
Rapture, 2005
mixed media on canvas

Bronwyn Millar at Obert Contemporary

Born in Johannesburg in 1973, Bronwyn Millar studied art at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and has subsequently participated in numerous group shows, 'Selfish' will be her first solo exhibition and she will present a series of variously scaled mixed media works derived from self portraits that animate and transform into compelling analyses of self and public perception.

Opens: November 17
Closes: November 30

Women by Women

'Women by Women' has been brought together by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and comprises paintings of women by women.

In India women have been painting for the past five millennia, but this tradition has largely been confined to the domestic setting. The show reflects a diversity of approaches from feminist concerns to an exploration of formal qualities. The artists have taken on varied subjects and approaches from contemplative to celebratory, from the figurative to the abstract.

The exhibition encapsulates the creative genius of women from Kashmir in the North to Kanyakumari in the South, from Kutch in the West and Kamakhya in the East.

Opens: October 27
Closes: November 15

Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss
Self Portrait 1975 (detail from Bloomsbury, London)

Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss
Comores 1976
Oil on canvas

Walter Battiss

Water Battiss
Birds in a Cage

Walter Battiss at the Standard Bank Gallery

A comprehensive, if belated, Walter Battiss retrospective, entitled 'Walter Battiss: Gentle Anarchist', presents more than 300 works in a diversity of media. These works have been drawn from public and private collections, and reflect the artist's prolific career that spanned more than 50 years.

Battiss' weird and wonderful personal appearance, his colourful and eccentric persona, his insatiable curiosity about life and his remarkable work ethic continue to capture the imagination of art lovers and intellectuals alike both at home and abroad. Collectively, the work on show not only reflects Battiss' creative development over 50 years, but also provides insight into the diversity of his subject matter, techniques and styles.

In the exhibition's fully illustrated catalogue, well known artists, art historians and writers have focused on a few of Battiss' preoccupations and achievements. These include his interpretation of Africa, his exquisite watercolours and amusing erotica, his involvement with Rorke's Drift Arts and Crafts Centre in KwaZulu-Natal, his concept of Fook Island, his many travels to exotic places and his own literary output.

The chief aim of the exhibition is to take a fresh look at Battiss' contribution to South African art. There is evidence in these works that his discovery of San rock art brought about a significant shift in his vision of the world, and that this was reinforced by his experience of European art at the time: his meeting with Picasso, and his admiration for artists like Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Modigliani and many others.

Battiss' public stance against censorship is well known, as is his creation of the imaginary Fook Island, where artists and writers could express themselves freely and enjoy life. The exhibition contains a section dedicated to elements in the artist's biography. It is here that an attempt has been made to 'reconstruct', as far as possible, the world of Fook Island. Photographs taken at Fook Award ceremonies and exhibitions, curious Fookian items and memorabilia will be on display in an attempt to rekindle the spirit of Fook Island.

Opens: October 20
Closes: December 3

Strijdom van der Merwe

Strijdom van der Merwe

Strijdom van der Merwe's original land art works in preparation for 'Messages of the Southern Earth' at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

Strijdom van der Merwe at University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

The new Arts Centre at the University of Johannesburg will be inaugurated on October 5, the culmination of a six year long project. The Arts Centre boasts a new art gallery, a 436-seated theatre with full facilities, a coffee shop and bar. The roof of the structure is grassed and will serve as a sculpture garden. This inauguration will be celebrated with the opening of 'Messages from the Southern Earth', an exhibition by Stellenbosch-based land artist Strijdom van der Merwe, as well as a choir work entitled Missa de Meridiana Terra (Mass from the Southern Earth), composed by Niel van der Watt.

Van der Merwe draws inspiration for the current work from the rock engravings of Driekopseiland in the Riet River, near Kimberley. The artist investigates the symbols in these rock engravings under a magnifying glass and reconstructs them to form a new landscape in the environment. In this way, van der Merwe participates in a universally human need to 'mark' the landscape. Relocating these symbols in a new landscape on a new scale lends new meaning to the symbols and gives new identity to the landscape in which they are made.

By means of maps, every work in the exhibition documents the place where the original artwork was made. This documentation is important because the original work is not permanent and the artwork in the gallery now takes on the status of 'original'. A floor installation of over 30m in diameter, consisting of salt, dyes, herbs and sand, will refer to a possible origin and reasons for the existence of the rock engravings that are found at Driekopseiland.

Opens: October 10
Closes: December 7


Andrew Munnik at Gallery @ 157

A solo exhibition entitled 'The 21st Century will (in part) begin with bodies', by Andrew Munnik presents a focus on the daily violence articulated across and between nations. Munnik comments that the continuous global conflict has been a sad start to the 21st century.

In an age of extraordinary technological and intellectual development, humankind still behaves in the most primitive and barbaric of fashions, according to Munnik, and this has resulted in hundreds of thousands of maimed men, women and children. In this exhibition, Munnik attempts to highlight these issues through the use of colours, images, shapes, signs and materials. Dealing with the problem of confronting politics with his art, Munnik is shaped by struggles and conflicts outside his immediate experience, yet inextricably linked to an historically accountable view of global war-based events.

Opens: October 9
Closes: November 12

Jügen Schadeberg

Jügen Schadeberg
A photograph from Voices from the Land

Jürgen Schadeberg at Museumafrica

An exhibition with photographs from Jürgen Schadeberg's publication Voices from the Land will be opened by the Honorable Dr. Z. Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture, with music by McCoy Mrubata.

Opens: August 7
Closes: late 2005