Archive: Issue No. 119, July 2007

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01.07.07 'Global Cities' at Tate Modern, London
01.07.07 First Thessaloniki Biennale

05.06.07 James Webb and Brandon LaBelle at The Netherlands Media Institute
03.06.07 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy
03.06.07 documenta 12 in Kassel
03.06.07 Kendell Geers at S.M.A.K., Belgium

06.05.07 Nicholas Hlobo in Italy
06.05.07 Nathaniel Stern in Ireland

01.04.07 Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon in Bratislava


01.07.07 US Premiere of Philip Miller's 'REwind'
01.07.07 Repicturing the Past/ Picturing the Present at the MoMA
01.07.07 Berni Searle in 'Eccentric Bodies'

03.06.07 'Inscribing Meaning' at the Museum of African Art, Washington DC

06.05.07 South African artists in New York
06.05.07 'Global Feminisms' at the Brooklyn Museum


Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim
View of Hillbrow
looking north from
the roof of the
Mariston Hotel
Colour digital print

Global Cities' at the Tate Modern, London

Kendell Geers, showing his series of images of burglar alarm signs attached to suburban walls of Johannesburg homes, and award winning photographer Guy Tillim are two of the artists on 'Global Cities', located in the vast Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern.

Tillim's moody image of the city of Johannesburg has been chosen for the Tate website. His memorable series of photographs documenting the teeming city suburb of Hillbrow (one of which is available in the Editions for ArtThrob programme) give a clear view of a city that is bursting at the seams as immigrants from all over the continent come to try their luck.

'Global Cities' premiered at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2006, located in the Arsenale, and the concept was to try to capture the spirit of 10 great cities of the world, rather than to simply portray their architecture. Other cities include London itself, Tokyo, New York and Sao Paulo.

Closes: August 27

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi
Nomsa Mafunda and Tumi
Ndweni, entrepreneur, on
the occasion of their civil
marriage, Krugersdorp
Home Affairs Office,
6 March 2007

First Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece

Borrowing the title 'Heterotopias' from Michel Foucault's lecture in which a man follows a certain set of rules which distract him from his daily tasks, the first Thessaloniki Biennale has been curated by Catherine David, Jan-Erik Lundstrom and Maria Tsantsanoglou.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, and the biennale is located in the State Museum of Contemporary Art. A total of 82 artists are on the biennale, including South Africans Tracey Rose and Zanele Muholi. A curatorial statement on the website reads in part, 'Contrary to European and international laws that often hinder border crossing, Art has no borders, it moves freely. Therefore, encouraging discourse in art contributes to the decline of fanaticism.'

Opens: May 21
Closes: September 30

James Webb and Brandon LaBelle The Netherlands Media Institute

Asking what the acoustic space of proximity is, Capetonian sound artist James Webb and collaborator Brandon LaBelle present Radio Flirt at The Netherlands Media Institute's '(In)Visible Sounds' exhibition. Utilising a series of mini-fm radio transmissions scattered throughout the building, visitors are invited to follow uncertain traces of incomplete messages, hidden whispers and trembling static. Heard through headphones, the work imparts additional spatial coordinates, making an intimate radio that aims for the heart and the skin, mapping out the emotional geographies of listening.

Of the exhibition, the Netherlands Media Institute says, 'The visitor enters the world of invisible technology. This is the world which employs the electronic fields, radio waves, frequencies and air pollution that are present around us.' Other participants include Erich Berger, Usman Haque and Rob Davis, Informationlab, Semiconductor and Theodore Watson.

Opens: June 2
Closes: July 14

Tracey Rose

Tracey Rose
The Wailers 2003
Film Stills

52nd Biennale di Venezia

With all of its usual fanfare, the venerable Venice Biennale throws open its doors on June 10. This year, for the first time, a sizeable group of artists will show in the heart of the Biennial under the banner of an African Pavilion, located in the Arsenale. The show, curated by Fernando Alvim and Simon Njami, has been drawn from the Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art, and is entitled 'Check List Luanda Pop'

Opens: June 10
Closes: November 21

Full story: see NEWS

Churchill Madikida

Churchill Madikida
Like Father Like Son? 2006
Video stills

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim
A traditional dancer and crowd
salute Jean Pierre Bemba
as he walks to a rally from
the airport, Kinshasa, July 2006
Colour pigment dye on archival paper

Documenta 12 opens in Kassel

Documenta retains its crown as the most significant contemporary art event in the world. Occurring for 100 days once every five years, documenta, held in the small German town of Kassel, is considered to be the 'authoratative worldwide seismograph of contemporary art'. For each cycle, a new director is appointed. Roger Buergel, Berlin-based curator, assisted by art historian Ruth Noack is the director for the 12th manifestation of the event.

Regarding the artists who will be exhibiting on the actual event, documenta plays its cards very close to its chest, and does not reveal the names of the chosen before the opening, but it is known that at least three South African artists are on the list: Churchill Madikida, David Goldblatt and Guy Tillim.

Tillim will be showing work from his Congo Democratic series, and Churchill Madikida will be showing the work made for his Standard Bank Young Artist Award show.

Opens: June 16
Closes: September 23

Full story: see NEWS

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
Self portrait 1995
(Original destroyed on Flight TW800)

Kendell Geers: 'Irrespektiv' in Ghent

It is not surprising that an artist whose work has often derived its significance from sharp word play should entitle his retrospective 'Irrespektiv', thereby indicating both the nature of the exhibition and his attitude to all establishments, artworld and otherwise, in 11 simple letters.

Thus Kendell Geers, at S.M.A.K, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent.

Geers is one of South Africa's most acclaimed and iconoclastic artists, whose provocative work has riled audiences and startled museum directors across the world. Reads the museum press release, 'As far as Geers is concerned, it is not the work of art itself that is important, but the message behind it... (he) does not consider himself an artist or an activist. He is not an artist because he doesn't give a damn about art, and is not an activist because in his view an activist does not fit into today's world.'

Both of these opinions may be somewhat overstated by the artist, given the nature of his practice, located firmly in the centre of the artworld, but the exhibition at S.M.A.K gives audiences the opportunity to see a full range of Geers' powerful work. His vision is dystopian, his concepts caustic, and in realising his ideas, his artistic vocabulary runs to broken glass, red and white hazard tape, neon signs, mini-museums constructed from industrial steel and shelving with plastic wrapped found objects, and erotic images of women as stark black and white wall paintings.

It is just a pity that one will not have the opportunity to see 'Irrespektiv' here in South Africa. For those in the area of Gent...

Opens: April 21
Closes: August 26

Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo
Ubomvu 2007
wood, ribbons, inner tyre tubes, lace

Nicholas Hlobo in Italy

Nocholas Hlobo presents 'Umakadenethwa engenadyasi' at the Extraspazio in Italy this month. The exhibition presents a series of Hlobo's now trademark sculptures and drawings exploring notions of ritual, homosexual desire and male Xhosa identity.

With his tree trunks and inner tubes, Hlobo presents an intense exploration of materiality that mirrors his complex, tongue-in-cheek engagement with language and translation. The exhibition title, for example, translates literally as 'he or she who goes out in the rain with no protection', and is a saying that refers to somebody who leaves themselves exposed to the difficulties of the choices they make, as well as alluding to sexual practices and dangers in South Africa.

Hlobo's exhibition is particularly important in Rome now, as Italy's homophobic sentiments are currently being expressed with an alarming fervour, as evidenced in a recent comment by Italian senator, Paulo Binetti: 'Homosexuality is not normal. It is a deviation from the norm written in a morphological, genetic and character-related code.'

Opens: May 3
Closes: July 10


Nathaniel Stern in Ireland

Nathaniel Stern exhibits with Cork-based Canadian Paul LaRocque at the Haydn Shaughnessy Gallery all throughout the Irish Summer.

Stern presents a series of revolving performative prints, using a custom-built scanner appendage in and around his subjects and objects, this time engaging with the stories, locals and surrounds of West Cork and Dublin. Also in the gallery, printmaker Paul LaRocque combines digital and traditional techniques, local iconography and political discourse to explore cultural relationships in an increasingly globalised world.

Opens: May 31
Closes: Winter in Ireland


Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon in Bratislava

Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon will be participating in 'Evolution de l'Art', a gallery established to sell only artworks that are immaterial, with no physical residue, that does not release certificates of authenticity, nor statements or receipts.

Sloon and Sacks present a number of works including No Excuses which sees the artists being obliged to follow their horoscopes, as presented in The Voice every day for a week and With Relish where the artists will change the date they celebrate Christmas every year to one the buyer selects, not attending any other Christmas celebrations.

Gallery headquarters are in Bratislava though one is also free to peruse and purchase the artworks on the gallery website

Opens: March 21

The 'exhibition' is ongoing


Sibongile Khumalo

Opera singer Sibongile Khumalo

US premiere of Philip Miller's 'REwind'

Composer Philip Miller's 'REwind', a Cantata for voice, tape and testimony, premiers in the US at the Celebrate Brooklyn Festival on Friday, July 6 at Prospect Park, New York.

Well known for his stirring musical contributions to the artist William Kentridge's videos and theatrical pieces, Miller first premiered 'REwind' in St George's Cathedral in Cape Town in December 2006. It is a work for choir, orchestra and film, using recorded audio testimonies from South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Gerard and Maya Marx have made extraordinary video sequences which will be projected with the music.

Internationally celebrated Sibongile Khumalo and Fikile Mvenjelwa are the soloists, and will be singing with the Total Praise Choir of the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Brooklyn, a group of ex-pat South Africans led by the Lion King choirmaster, Ron Kunene and the Williams College choir.

July 6 (rain date July 7)

William Kentridge

William Kentridge
'Untitled' from
Ubu tells the truth 1996-7
25 x 30 cm

'Repicturing the Past/ Picturing the Present' at the MoMA

Curated by prints curator Judy Hecker, this exhibition explores the ways in which the artists from the 19th Century to the present have engaged with contemporary social issues by challenging existing concepts and presenting new insights. Artists include Max Beckmann, James Ensor, Christian Boltanski and William Kentridge. Kentridge is represented by four prints from the Ubu Tells the Truth series, 1996 - 7, made at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

Opens: June 13
Closes: November 5

Berni Searle

Berni Searle
'Still' 2001
Installation 8 digital images
Each 114 x 114 cm

Berni Searle in 'Eccentric Bodies'

Seven women artists, including US photographer Harriet Casdin-Silver, French performance artist Orlan and South African video and performance artist Berni Searle, re-examine 'the gaze' directed towards the female nude. Curated by Judith Brodsky and Feris Olin, 'Eccentric Bodies' presents large scale work by each artist that explores life's imprint on ' women's bodies.

Opens: June 14
Closes: August 3

Wonene Worke Kosrof

Wonene Worke Kosrof
Colour of Words 11 2001

'Inscribing Meaning' at the Museum of African Art, Washington

'Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art' explores the way in which, for thousands of years, African artists have incorporated writing and graphic symbols into their art, thereby adding layers of communicative significance to the visual impact of the object. Including objects as diverse as cloths, daggers, jewellery, scripts and ceremonial robes, the show also provides the opportunity to consider the beauty of the brushstrokes of master calligraphers.

Curated by Christine Kreamer of the NMAFA and Polly Nooter Roberts of the Fowler Museum, UCLA, the exhibition reaches back through the centuries to present such objects of power as an inscribed baboon skull, an etched dagger, moving forward to the contemporary, the his and her embroidered jump suits by Ghada Amer, Barbie loves Ken, Ken loves Barbie. South African artists on the show are Sue Williamson, with two of the etched steel framed works from the Pages from a Government Tourist Brochure series, and monotypes of the cast of characters from the Truth and Reconcilaition Commission by Kim Berman.

Opens: May 9
Closes: October 26

South African artists in New York

'Uniform: South Africa's New Clothes' is an exhibition of work by South African photographers curated by South African-born Claire Breukel at the Spanierman Modern in New York. The exhibition comprises photographs by Pieter Badenhorst, Bridget Baker, Lien Botha, Franci Cronje, Donovan Ward, Dale Yudelman and Santu Mofokeng that reveal varying qualities of life and the nature of human relationships in South Africa 12 years after the demise of apartheid. Included are photographs of people from different ends of the socio-economic spectrum, wearing either actual uniforms or clothing indicative of status and position, as well as landscapes that characterise a country experiencing re-formation at all levels of culture and awareness.

Opens: May 3
Closes: June 30

Berni Searle

Berni Searle
untitled print from the Colour Me series 1998
handprinted colour photograph
42 x 50cm

'Global Feminisms' at the Brooklyn Museum

Berni Searle is currently exhibiting on 'Global Feminisms' at the newly established Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Art. The show claims to be the first international exhibition exclusively dedicated to feminist art from 1990 to the present and is curated in part by feminist theorist and heroine, Linda Nochlin. The show consists of work by approximately 80 women artists from around the world and includes pieces in all media, aiming not only to showcase a large sampling of contemporary feminist art from a global perspective, but also to move beyond the specifically Western brand of feminism that has been perceived as the dominant voice of feminist and artistic practice since the early 1970s.

Opens: March 23
Closes: July 1


Berni Searle

Berni Searle
Snow White 2001
video still

Berni Searle in Australia

Berni Searle exhibits in 'Figuratively Speaking' at QUT Creative Industries Precinct in Brisbane. The exhibition explores the ways in which the figure is used in contemporary video art. Using methods like performance and sampling pop-culture movies, artists examine themes of cinema, the 'everyday' and the female body, as well as abstract representations of the body and concepts of pain, endurance, humour, memory, loss and family.

Opens: May 23
Closes: June 9