Archive: Issue No. 118, June 2007

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05.06.07 Tom Cullberg at Magrorocca, Milan
05.06.07 James Webb and Brandon LaBelle at The Netherlands Media Institute
03.06.07 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy
03.06.07 Art Basel in Switzerland
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 Ed in Basel
06.05.07 Nathaniel Stern in Ireland

01.04.07 Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon in Bratislava
01.04.07 Guy Tillim in Rome
01.04.07 William Kentridge in England


03.06.07 Robin Rhode: New work at Perry Rubinstein
03.06.07 First U.S. solo for Hlobo in Savannah
03.06.07 'Inscribing Meaning' at the Museum of African Art, Washington DC
03.06.07 Avant Car Guard at The Pure Project, NYC

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


06.05.07 Berni Searle in Australia


Penny Siopis

Tom Cullberg
The World 2006
oil on board
30 x 42cm

Tom Cullberg at Magrorocca, Milan

Tom Cullberg will be exhibiting new paintings in addition to 'The World' (2006), a work consisting of 17 panels, previously shown at KZNSA, Durban and Johannesburg Art Gallery as part of the 'New Painting' exhibition curated by Storm Janse Van Rensburg. This will be Cullberg's first solo exhibition in Milan. The body of work takes the shape of a journey as an allegory to life depicting people and places in a state between dream and reality, mapping out a personal geography.

Opens: May 16
Closes: June 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

Penny Siopis

Penny Siopis
Blush: Red Head 2007
Mixed media on paper
149.5 x 68 cm

Art Basel

Second on the frantic art route which is part of Summer '07 in Europe is the 38th staging of Art Basel, the world's best established and most prestigious art fair, which over four days allows art buyers to spend freely on the work on offer. Labelled 'the Olympics of the Artworld' by the New York Times, Art Basel offers 300 fiercely contested spaces to galleries from around the world.

South Africa's Goodman Gallery will be represented as usual, showing work by artists including Lisa Brice, Clive van den Berg, Penny Siopis, Moshekwa Langa and Lolo Veleko.

Opens: June 13
Closes: June 17

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

Ed Young

Ed Young
It's Not Easy 2004
video still

Ed Young in Basel

Ed Young exhibits alongside artists such as Santiago Siera in 'The Art of Failure', an exhibition that runs simultaneously with Art Basel 38. Whether it is unrequited love, despair over one's own shortcomings, an ideology in disarray, political standstill, or the simple inability to comprehend what is going on, ever since Samuel Beckett, failure has been inextricably linked with artistic production.

The artistic contributions on display here brim with ambivalence and irony. Creating something provisional, non-finite, ambiguous, but at the same time profoundly serious seems, perhaps, a good way of turning failure into a compelling act, and perplexity into art.

Opens: May 5
Closes: July 1


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


Guy Tillim in Rome

'Not all Roads Lead to Rome' forms part of the annual FotoGrafia photography festival in Rome. The exhibition is at the EX GIL, a never-before-used exhibition space, and features work commissioned from six established photographers, including South African Guy Tillim.

The result is a reconnaissance of all the areas of Latium, a region of ancient Italy, home to the original Latin people, offering different perspectives on its complex history and landscape changes in the most suggestive and unusual locations. Tillim revisits part of St. Francis' walk over the mountains in the Rieti area, producing a reportage on the Sabina area, portraying the places and traditions unchanged by time and depicting nature that is, however, contaminated by contemporary elements.

Opens: March 16
Closes: June 6


William Kentridge in England

William Kentridge exhibits in 'Paper Cuts' at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery this month. The exhibition sees eight artists use the everyday medium of paper to reflect on culture and environment where the delicate quality of paper relates to our own vulnerability, dreams and ambitions.

'Paper Cuts' is a touring exhibition organised by Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery and curated by Yasmin Canvin.

Opens: April 7
Closes: July 1


Robin Rhode: New work at Perry Rubenstein

The dynamic Robin Rhode was the inaugural artist at the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York's Chelsea area in 2004, exhibiting in all three of the gallery's spaces. His current show again inhabits all three spaces, and has initiated a full half page story in the New York Times, no mean feat.

The triumverate of shows is a brilliant extension of the artist's primary practice, which is based on an interaction between wall drawing and performance, and draws upon the subcultures of old slapstick movies, hip hop and sports. Media include sculpture, video and photographs.

A Sue Williamson review of the show will appear on ArtThrob on 05.06.07.

Opens: May 5
Closes: June 23

Nicholas Hlobo

Nicholas Hlobo
Installation view

First US solo for Nicholas Hlobo in Savannah

Having bought two of young Johannesburg artist Nicholas Hlobo's intricate and subtle works on paper on the Armory Show in New York, the Savannah College of Art and Design invited him to hold his first US solo show at one of their exhibition spaces.

Under the direction of Laurie Ann Farell, Hlobo, currently at the Ampersand Residency in New York, is showing four major sculptures and two mixed media works on paper. The artist's work is based on the idea that language and material are saturated with rich personal and historical meanings, and his process involves fabricating startling new images and objects from used materials such as rubber, fabric and ribbon.

Opens: May 4
Closes: June 1

'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

Avant Car Guard at The Pure Project

If anyone doubts the influence of Kendell Geers on the younger generation of South African artists, many of whom battle constantly to contest his supremacy, they should take a look at this image by young collective Avant Car Guard, who have earned themselves their first solo show in New York.

Opens: June 9
Closes: June 13

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