Archive: Issue No. 122, October 2007

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   


07.10.07 Willem Boshoff at The Standard Bank Gallery
07.10.07 Zander Blom at Rooke Gallery
07.10.07 Lyndi Sales at Gallery Momo
07.10.07 Walter Oltmann at the Goodman Gallery
07.10.07 Sabelo Mlangeni at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art
07.10.07 Marcel Waldeck at Rainforest Project Room at Gordart Gallery
07.10.07 Gavin Rain at Worldart Johannesburg
07.10.07 Estie Serfontein at Fried Contemporary Art Gallery and Studio
07.10.07 Eva and Franco Mattes, Bronwyn Millar and Pippa Stalker at David Krut Projects
07.10.07 Jeannette Unite at the Thompson Gallery
07.10.07 'Tact' at Artspace Fine Art Gallery

29.09.07 'Pride of the Bride' at Stewart Gallery
08.09.07 Dumile Feni at Gallery Momo
24.09.07 'Work in Progress' at 105A Heather Road, Athol
17.09.07 Artists-in-residence at The Bag Factory Artists' Studios
20.09.07 Michael Smith at Artspace Fine Art Gallery

03.06.07 Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent at the Johannesburg Art Gallery


09.09.07 'A Story of African Art' at The Pretoria Art Museum


Willem Boshoff

Willem Boshoff
FLAG I 2003
plastic toys, wood, glue
1140 x 1905mm

Willem Boshoff

Willem Boshoff
War and Peace 2004
cement, steel, wood, glue, sand
1600 x 1020mm

Willem Boshoff

Willem Boshoff
Negotiating the English Labyrinth 1971
paper, masonite, wood, glue
1200 x 2400mm

Willem Boshoff at The Standard Bank Gallery

The Standard Bank Gallery presents a retrospective of Willem Boshoff entitled 'Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975-2007'. This is a mid-career retrospective of work by the internationally acclaimed South African artist, curated by Warren Siebrits.

Arguably South Africa's leading conceptual artist, Boshoff is a sculptor fascinated by the forms of words and the shape of language. Included in the exhibition is his seminal work, KYKAFRIKAANS (1977-1980), a series of 100 concrete poems created on a typewriter consisting of forms and shapes derived by the artist using the Afrikaans language.

The show includes Boshoff's much acclaimed Blind Alphabet (1991-ongoing), which comprises a series of intricately carved wooden sculptures, shaped by the artist to impart the meanings of archaic and lost words. The forms and corresponding Braille definitions make it impossible for a sighted person to fully grasp the work's complexity, unless aided by someone who can read Braille.

Boshoff has remained a pacifist his whole life and has always felt wars and violence to be morally unjustifiable. While undergoing military training in the SADF during the 1970s, he refused to carry a rifle on moral and ethical grounds and later also refused to attend any further military camps. Bangboek (1978-1981) is a cryptic and coded record of this time in the artist's life, written in miniature text.

Cryptic scripts and the writing of dictionaries on various subjects have been an ongoing fascination for Boshoff, as evident in works such as Skynbord (1977-79), a dictionary of colour; and Garden of Words (1982-2007), an ongoing study and dictionary of over 15 000 South African plant names.

Aspects of social injustice and prejudice, particularly as a result of colonialism and empire building, are also recurring themes in Boshoff's oeuvre, particularly over the last decade. In this respect he has spent much time researching graveyard and memorial sites related to the South African War (1899-1902). One such work, 32 000 Darling Little Nuisances (2003), records and honours the memory of 32 000 children under the age of 15 who died during this war, mostly while prisoners of war in concentration camps.

Significant among Boshoff's most recent works are those focusing on the implications of the crisis in the Middle East after the events of September 11, 2001. Pivotal works in this regard are Flag I and Flag II(2003) and What is Our Oil Doing Under Their Sand? (2004).

'Word Forms and Language Shapes 1975-2007' is accompanied by a catalogue, which includes a lengthy interview with Boshoff and reproductions of 42 pivotal works selected to highlight the evolution of the artist's rich and diverse creative and conceptual art language. The catalogue has been specifically designed to help high school and university learners with their research.

Opens: September 25
Closes: December 1


Zander Blom at Rooke Gallery

Zander Blom presents an exhibition and catalogue raisonné entitled 'The Drain of Progress' at new-ish Johannesburg space Rooke Gallery during September and October.

In this show, Blom questions the personal relevance and motives of the modernist visual artists before him. He wonders how it felt to be part of the true 'avant-garde'. His investigation of modernism is much like a child being presented with a watch, and in order to understand it, immediately takes it apart. The exhibition includes the launch of Zander's first book of the same title that provides a unique view of a stage set upon which Zander's ongoing modernist experiment occurs.

The exhibition will comprise a set of one-off photographs, drawings, paintings and prints.

Opens: September 20
Closes: October 13


Lyndi Sales

Lyndi Sales
1 in 11 million chances 2007
mixed media

Lyndi Sales at Gallery Momo

Cape Town artist Lyndi Sales shows at Gallery Momo in Johannesburg during October. The works she will be exhibiting were created at the Dieu Donné Paper Mill.

Sales says the following about her process: 'In March 2007 I spent some time at the renowned Dieu Donné Papermill in New York, a unique artist-centred workshop dedicated to the creation, promotion, and preservation of contemporary art in the hand papermaking process. With the help of a technician I created a series of paper works using a number of different techniques. The final pieces resulted in a large scale installation of suspended paper. The transparent sheets consist of techniques such as watermarked papers, stencilling with pigmented pulp and embedded paper ephemera. The paperworks explore the theme of the abyssal plane and the ocean floor and the notion that the ocean is alive with the mystery of the Helderberg disaster.'

Opens: October 4
Closes: October 27


Walter Oltmann

Walter Oltmann
Caterpillar Suit 2007
anodized aluminum and brass wire
Height: 118cm

Walter Oltmann at the Goodman Gallery

During October and early November, the Goodman Gallery hosts a show of new work by Walter Oltmann. This exhibition comprises sculpture and works on paper in various media.

Using hand-craft techniques related to weaving, Oltmann creates frequently monumental wire sculptures. Process is very much at the centre of Oltmann's works as he continues to explore domestic craft techniques, together with material and imagery that seems incongruous or disparate to these activities. This opens up various associations and meanings, and creates allusions to Oltmann's African roots.

Oltmann has continued to make wire sculptures by hand to arrive at hybrid forms suggesting an interface between references to insects and human features. These wire sculptures are based on his previous 'Larva Suits', empty garments not unlike suits of armour. These suits allude to insect larvae/caterpillars as well as features from early forms of dress associated with Europeans who first arrived on African soil. Oltmann's sculptures and drawings continue to articulate ideas relating to the monstrous and the vulnerable, and the unsettling of boundaries between categories.

Opens: October 13
Closes: November 3


Sabelo Mlangeni

Sabelo Mlangeni
Uniform 2006
31 x 45.3cm

Sabelo Mlangeni at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art

A compelling body of work is on show at ArtThrob's regular haunt Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art during October and November. Sabelo Mlangeni's black and white photographs of Johannesburg's contingent of female street cleaners entitled 'Invisible Women' deals with the downside of boomtown economics. Mlangeni investigates these women and their late-night occupation of cleaning litter and rubbish from communal spaces in the city. Mlangeni deftly sidesteps comparison with the flood of other lens-based media artists dealing with aspects of inner city life by eschewing frenetic bustle and favouring stark, deserted compositions that recall Edward Hopper's better images.

Opens: October 11
Closes: November 9


Gavin Rain

Gavin Rain
In the sun of the shadow 2006
acrylic on canvas
100 x 100cm

Gavin Rain at Worldart Johannesburg

Gavin Rain presents a show of paintings dealing with the phenomenon of Russian 'mail-order' brides offering themselves for matrimony over the Internet. In 'Russian Brides' Rain asks who these women are that agree to what is essentially a form of legalised prostitution.

Formally speaking, the pixelated quality of the images makes them reminiscent of certain strains of Pop Art and Photo-realism. The surfaces of the works are dense constellations of colour, which utilise optical blending to form recognizable images at a certain distance.

Opens: September 27
Closes: October 26


Estie Serfontein at Fried Contemporary Art Gallery and Studio

'Seeing Red' is the title of Estie Serfontein's exhibition of two-dimensional works in perspex, oil paint, rubber, and also digital prints.

Says Serfontein, 'The work investigates the differentiation between the self and a reflected, or a virtual self. The relationship between the true self and the reflected self is explored as a twinship in the conveyance of the self. The materialisation of the transcendental sublime is depicted as a reflection in a surface, shown in this body of work as an eternal image which contributes to the construction of identity.'

Opens: September 29
Closes: October 30


Jeannette Unite at the Thompson Gallery

The Thompson Gallery presents an exhibition of recent drawings, paintings and glass installations by Jeannette Unite. The works incorporate extractions from mineral explorations and mining processes.

Opens: October 14
Closes: November 3


Eva and Franco Mattes

Eva and Franco Mattes (0100101110101101.ORG)
Karee Kayvon 2006
digital print on Somerset Velvet
75 x 99cm
published by Jean-Yves Noblet Contemporary Prints

Eva and Franco Mattes, Bronwyn Millar and Pippa Stalker at David Krut Projects

'Digital Surrogates' brings together four artists from across the globe who blur the line between digital interactive media and the fine arts. The show will feature five large digital portraits from a series entitled 13 Most Beautiful Avatars by Eva and Franco Mattes alongside paintings by Bronwyn Miller and photographs by Pippa Stalker. Together this work translates persuasively into an analysis of self, public perception and possibility.

Eva and Franco Mattes, also known in techie circles as are internationally recognised as supreme interventionists. Most of their projects involve different forms of media hacking and bogus culture trafficking. In one instance the duo temporarily hijacked the Nike logo for a public installation in Vienna. In another, they created an entirely fictional artist, only to murder him once he was sufficiently famous.

Here, they have made a series of dramatic portraits of avatars created on Second Life with New York printmaker, Jean-Yves Noblet. Second Life is a 3-D virtual world wherein one can build an alter-ego or avatar to meet with others, be entertained, buy land even trade real-life products. Bronwyn Miller will be showing paintings of a new avatar, created in preparation for the show with a photographic, animated portrait of her ideal self. Through her examination of the subversive nature of art games, Stalker has created a body of photographic work documenting the hundreds of characters she has killed online.

Opens: October 11
Closes: November 17


Marcel Waldeck at Rainforest Project Space at Gordart Gallery

Marcel Waldeck presents 'Potential Difference' at Gordart Gallery's Rainforest Project Room space. Waldeck uses readymade images from various sources, from bodybuilding to Hustler magazines. He creates lightboxes around these printed images, resulting in the light exposing both the image on the front of the page and that on the reverse. He also employs the use of various light devices, such as strobe lights. The light results in a new interpretation of the image.

Opens: September 26
Closes: October 13


'Tact' at Artspace Fine Art Gallery

Artspace presents a group show, the gallery's final exhibition for the year, entitled 'Tact'. The artists participating, Paul Boulitreau, Liza Grobler, Lee-At Meyerov, Antoinette Murdoch, Musha Neluheni and Beverly Price, all deal with some aspect or permutation of the word 'tact'. The works promise to be varied in concept and physicality.

Opens: October 20
Closes: November 10


'Pride of the Bride' at Stewart Gallery

An exhibition of work by three Cape Town artists goes up at the Stewart Gallery at the end of September, under the title 'Pride of the Bride'. Marion Bartko-McCabe, Angeline le Roux and Jeanne Hendricks consider various concepts associated with weddings and marriage.

Bartko-McCabe presents a body of work that focuses on the innocence of youth with dreams of fairytale weddings. She observes the transition from innocence to awareness, the development of responses to issues of vanity, competitiveness and materialism, and their culmination in a wedding ceremony that all too often assumes a mystique for the bride that belies the real challenges of marriage.

Le Roux explores attributes of a young woman about to become a bride in a body of work consisting of woven pieces, embossed images and drawings. She uses the traditional white to symbolize the purity and chastity of the virgin, considered the most important attribute in many cultures. She emphasizes sensuality alongside the purity, with technique and imagery making reference to the feminine.

Hendricks looks at the bride as one who is mesmerized, who is opening mentally and physically to a perception of love and marriage, both consciously and subconsciously. The bride clings to little girl hopes and aspirations within her trance like state of being in love, despite the red warning signals around her.

Opens: September 29
Closes: October 20


Dumile Feni

Dumile Feni

Dumile Feni at Gallery Momo

Gallery Momo presents an exhibition of work by titan of South African art Dumile Feni during September.

Opens: September 8
Closes: September 29


'Work in Progress' at 105A Heather Road, Athol

A group of final-year Wits School of Arts students are hosting a one-night only show with a difference during September. The work for this exhibition will be shown on a residential building site, which is at the stage of foundations and fundaments. The students state that it is 'the very rawness and unrefined quality which make it a unique and unconventional "gallery". The title also refers to the emerging artists who will be participating in the show, as we are essentially "works in progress".'

The show is tipped to have 'innovative and cutting-edge' work, including performance, video and installation. The event will be opened by Johan Thom at 6.30pm.

Opens: 6.30pm, September 24 one night only

105 A Heather Road, Athol, Sandton
Tel: 082 497 2159 (Anthea)


Ricky Burnett, Chike Obeagu Chinazom and Ananias Leki Dago at The Bag Factory Artists' Studios

Artists-in-residence Ricky Burnett, Chike Obeagu Chinazom and Ananias Leki Dago are showing recent work at the Bag Factory Artists' Studios in Fordsburg during September.

Opens: September 17
Closes: September 24


Michael Smith

Michael Smith
I've been waiting for this moment all my life but it's not quite right (detail), 2007
charcoal and pastel on paper
60 x 80cm

Michael Smith at Artspace Fine Art Gallery

During September and October, Artspace Fine Art Gallery will present an exhibition of recent drawings and photographs by Michael Smith. Works on 'The Teenager' deal with teenage body issues, and consider the process of dematerialisation that occurs as, particularly girls, chase an elusive standard of beauty.

Smith has worked as a high school teacher for nearly ten years, and during that time has become sensitised to this phenomenon, and how it links to contemporary notions of achievement. The titles of the works are often culled from so-called 'anamia' websites, which encourage and provide 'support' for girls in the throes of eating disorders.

The show will be opened by Karen Beukes, Artistic Director of the South African Ballet Theatre.

Opens: September 20
Closes: October 15


Africa Remix

Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent at the Johannesburg Art Gallery

'Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent' features the work of more than 85 artists from 25 countries on the African continent and the Diaspora. Considered to be the largest exhibition of contemporary African art ever seen in Europe, it includes painting, sculpture, installation, video, drawing, photography and design.

'Africa Remix' explores the themes of city and land (the contrasting experiences of urban and rural life), identity and history (including issues of tradition and modernity and the relation of the individual to the community), and body and soul (religion, spirituality, emotion and sexuality).

Cameroon-born, Paris-based curator and critic Simon Njami curated the exhibition, which was launched at the Museum Kunst Palast, Düat;sseldorf, in 2004. The show subsequently travelled to the Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. 'Africa Remix' will be open for the first time in Africa at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

Opens: June 24
Closes: September 30


SEE REVIEWS    SEE REVIEW by Landi Raubenheimer

SEE REVIEWS    SEE REVIEW by Michael Smith


'A Story of African Art' at The Pretoria Art Museum

Until December this year is an exhibition of works from the museum's permanent collection under the title 'A Story of African Art'. The show tells 'a brief story of South African art from the time of the first San artists', including images from early 20th century painters, works from the period of Resistance art and 21st century contemporary works. This takes place in the museum's South Gallery.

Closes: December