SMAC Art Gallery 01


Suspension of Disbelief

Various Artists
Suspension of Disbelief, Exhibition Invitation ,

SEE LISTING Copper. Nabebeep South Mine, Nabebeep (1882 - 2000) 302,791.65 tonnes of copper extracted

Dillon Marsh
Copper. Nabebeep South Mine, Nabebeep (1882 - 2000) 302,791.65 tonnes of copper extracted, Lightjet Print - Fujicolor Crystal Archive Matte , 140 x 175 cm


Tom Cullberg
Tower 2, Acrylic polymer emulsion and spraypaint on canvas ,

SEE LISTING Potential Energy Solutions for the Dawning of the New Nu Age

Miranda Moss
Potential Energy Solutions for the Dawning of the New Nu Age, Lightbulbs, chrystals, goji berries, Himalayan cedar, tweezers and plywood , 21 x 21 x 133cm

SEE LISTING Untitled (Tower 3)

Tom Cullberg
Untitled (Tower 3), Acrylic polymer emulsion on canvas , 170 x 225 cm


ORO AFRICA Building, 1st Floor, 170 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, 8001

Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 | Saturday 10:00 – 14:00 | Closed Sunday and public holidays


Various Artists at Brundyn

'I am an avid reader and follower of science fiction - and at times speculative fiction - narratives about forays into and encounters with the future - other worlds, other times and places, parallel universes, episodes of time travellers in far and distant places in time and space, utopian and utopian visions, about better worlds, more just societies, those aspiring to be, or nightmarish worlds and societies, fuelled by social commentary, adventure and desire to see something different.'

(Sandra Jackson in Black Bodies and the Representation of Blackness in Imagined Futures)

Brundyn+ will showcase 'Suspension of Disbelief', an exhibition of video artworks by John Akomfrah, Jude Anogwih, Anthea Moys, Andrew Huang, Sofia Carrillo, Thuli Gamedze and Heinrich Minnie.

'Suspension of Disbelief' is an exploration of speculative fiction in video art. The exhibition investigates the construction of imaginary spaces and alternative realities as a way of making autobiographical, philosophical and sometimes political statements. It is an avenue to engage with videos that exist outside of the constrictive realm of so-called reality. The artists make use of and reference to numerous genres and themes that include fairy tale, fantasy, projecting the future, (science) fiction, reimagined and deconstructed histories and memories, the use of mythology and the supernatural.

'Suspension of disbelief' is a term that explains the common understanding between producer and consumer, where the producer employs an imaginary, unrealistic and implausible act to accentuate a particular point in a work of fiction. Given the use of semiotics in the fiction genre, the audience immediately understands the symbolism and accept the inconceivability of the scene, thus suspending their disbelief.

In 'Peripeteia', John Akomfrah takes as his starting point two historic portraits of a black man and a black woman by the sixteenth century German painter Albrecht Dürer. Akomfrah creates identities for the two protagonists that they were historically denied. Peripeteia thus reflects the postcolonial strategy of questioning recorded history through fictionalising and appropriating it.

Thuli Gamedze mediates on a serendipitous relationship she has with a family of wasps that reside in her home. She mentally records, almost daily, the movements of the wasps, paying particular attention to the banality of their everyday, and in turn, her own daily activities. I knew they were leaving, I just had no idea it would be so soon unfolds as a narrative about deconstruction of the familiar, love, (imaginary/real) companionship, time and ultimately, loss.

Similarly, Jude Anogwih investigates the collapse of a given object into its simplest form. In 'Simultaneity', he refers to the notion of Orphism, a derivative of cubism wherein the subject matter is broken down until it reaches ultimate abstraction; which in this instance is characterised by light. Heinrich Minnie deconstructs the myth of the African city by creating a personified imaginary city (the Urban Body), one that feels, contemplates and moves swiftly in between the cityscape while it searches for answers about how to be in and relate to the city.

Anthea Moys’ continues in her comical, playful and nonsensical performative motif. In 'Snow Swimming', she further considers accidental and intentional play and the tensions that lie within. By swimming through snow on a Swiss mountain after an unfortunate incident, Moys makes use of the otherwise serious scenario to transgress social boundaries.

In 'Solipsist', Andrew Huang experiments with the collision of vivid colour to create a trancelike and psychedelic imaginary world filled with overly stimulating bouts of colour and otherworldly creature. The connectivity between the subjects and the objects transgress the notion of solipsism, which is the belief that only the self and one’s own mind exist, and anything existing outside of the self is imagined and cannot be proven to be present.

In 'La Casa Triste', Sofia Carrillo brings to life a number of discarded objects that she purchased from a second hand shop. Through these deserted objects, she constructs a melancholy story, one that is both autobiographical but concurrently exaggerated to fit the magical realism inherent in making inanimate objects speak, bleed, give birth and ultimately die. Carrillo continues her surreal otherworldly narrative in Prita Noire (Black Doll), where a doll-like creature’s relationship with her sister is narrated.

19 February 2015 - 18 April 2015

Dillon Marsh at Brundyn

Brundyn+ is pleased to present ‘For What It’s Worth’, an exhibition of photographic works by Dillon Marsh. Marsh explores a pertinent part of the history of South Africa, one that is effectively shaped by the mining of natural resources such as copper, gold and diamonds. From the discovery of diamonds in Kimberley in the 1800s, the inhumane living conditions of miners under apartheid rule, and the recent Marikana shootings, activities in and around mines seem to correlate with the current political conditions of the state. He critiques the process by visualising the total amount of raw material extracted from specific mines. Marsh’s juxtaposition lays bare the startling reality of how little is actually extracted relative to the amount of damage inflicted (to both the natural landscape and the miners themselves).
The titles of Marsh’s works present statistical information about the mines. Elaborating, the artist states that:

South Africa’s first ever commercial mine, the Blue Mine in Springbok, began operating in 1852. More mines opened soon after as copper deposits were discovered in the surrounding areas. This, in turn, boosted the development of small towns in a relatively remote area of the country, as workers settled nearby. By 2007, however, most of these mines had run their course and production had stopped almost completely. This presents an uncertain future for the towns and people of the region.
Upon engaging with the images, the viewer is aware that 3 535 tonnes of copper were extracted from the Blue Mine in Springbok between 1852 to 1912; or that West O’okiep Mine in Okiep provided 284 000 tonnes of copper between 1862 and the early 1970s. These amounts appear colossal, however, when contrasted against the carefully compiled imagery of this data, the gigantism of the numbers suddenly diminishes.

The representation of the amount of copper and diamond mined at these various locations is an indication of the imperial capitalism that motivated the existence of these structures. Through the silence that has poignantly been captured, the lack of inclusion of human beings, the ghosts and souls of the occupiers of the space are felt through the photographic image.

‘For What It’s Worth’ thus speaks to the fact that most of the mines are no longer in use, and most of the towns seem desolate and lack immediately visible human life. The land was mined and exploited for all its worth, and then deserted. Some exist as monuments, signifying the reinforcement of a capitalist society and economy driven state, while others are just simply forgotten or never even occupied the consciousness of the South African public.

04 December 2014 - 24 January 2015

Various artists at Brundyn

The function of myth is to empty reality: it is, literally, a ceaseless flowing out, a hemorrhage, or perhaps an evaporation, in short a perceptible absence.?-Roland Barthes, Mythologies (1957)

Brundyn+ is pleased to present 'Anyway, the Wind Blows', a group exhibition conceptually framed around the notion of myths.

In his influential text Mythologies, Roland Barthes proposed that in semiology, myth removes history and context from signs and replaces them with loaded or reductive connotations posing as common sense and assumed truths. Taking this view as a starting point, the exhibition examines the demystification of contemporary myths as well as the potential for myths to be deliberately implemented as a strategy of critical examination.

Sanell Aggenbach both interrogates and intentionally perpetuates the assumptions and iconography of the momento mori genre, examining the shifts that take place in moments of personal significance when viewed through that particular lens.

Similarly, Alex Emsley uses the language of still life painting to turn a focus on seemingly banal, ubiquitous objects. In so doing, Emsley’s obsessively detailed paintings elevate these objects from the quotidian in a similar vein to Barthes’ location of modern myths within the everyday.

Incorporating signifiers with specific contextual relevance, Mohau Modisakeng looks at the idea of a post-1994, “new” South Africa as myth, focusing on the pervasive existence of oppressive (often violent) structures from the past that continue to have bearing on the present.

Sethembile Msezane looks at the politics of memorialisation within the context of public holidays (specifically Youth Day, Heritage Day and Freedom Day) by documenting a series of site-specific performances in which the artist assumes the role of various characters who engage with the mythologising of specific historical events into the demarcated leisure of public holidays.

While embracing a sense of freedom in contemporary gay experience in Cape Town, Jody Paulsen’s latest work simultaneously turns a critical eye towards a perceived lack of acknowledgement of the history of individuals such as anti-apartheid and gay rights activist Simon Nkoli, whose struggles have been crucial in paving the way for this freedom.

With one foot simultaneously placed in the past and present, Ezra Wube turns to historic Ethiopian folklore, reintegrating these myths into contemporary art practice and, by doing so, presents a form of storytelling that our current technological age is unaccustomed to.

Reflecting on the significance of the Haitian Revolution (the first successful slave insurrection in history), Jeannette Ehlers references stories of a Vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman wherein hundreds of slaves drank the blood of a sacrificed black pig to draw power for the approaching revolution.

Richard Forbes looks at the idea of emptying reality into nothingness in a tangible sense, visualising notions of void and absence as a sort of mythologising taken to its absolute extremity.

04 December 2014 - 24 January 2015

Miranda Moss at Brundyn

Something has gone askew in the fundamental order of things.

We attempted to fix it, but stuff is stubbornly elusive in nature. We tried preserving the environment, but ran out of sodium benzoate halfway through. All romantic clichés were prohibited, yet the sunsets persist. Any remaining holes in the Ozone were filled with bubblegum-flavoured bubblegum. We prescribed a smorgasbord of ADHD meds, anti-anxiety pills and calamine lotions, but the fields grow restless still. The Mountain DewTM sprinkler systems only cultivated a rise in weed obesity levels while, despite the instalment of thousands of swimming pools, the deserts are as impoverished and thirsty as ever. We ensured all our free-range organic oceans were bottled at the sourcewith approved levels of iodine, fluorine and fluoxitine. We even invented an instrument to measure Spring with. Maybe gravity got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Maybe the tides just need to be turned off and on again.

They say that perhaps tomorrow, it will be fine.
(Weather permitting, that is)

Toying with the representation of Nature as a pure and extra-cultural phenomenon, 'The Nature of Stuff and Things' positions environments as deeply embedded in systems of interaction and exchange. Landscape, an idea inseparable from convention, is used as a medium to explore how personal, economic and visual value structures are projected onto the exterior world.

The “things” hail from an imaginary terrain, where anomalies are the status quo and matter mischievously imitates its observers’ personal quirks and desires; a mirage replete with existential predicaments and riddled with logical fallacies. Through techno-alchemical dabbling, familiar objects are subjected to extraordinary situations, while synthetic by-products are released back into the wild for the first time. Swayed by a process of post-natural selection, real and imagined associations of the land are superimposed, disrupting any essential purity which may be anticipated.

The products of this anxious arcadia are self-awarely escapist and ascribe to a kind of cynical optimism. They re-imagine natural phenomena yet the translation process is muddled, resulting in perplexing incidents and curious interactions; a misunderstood utopia. This process grasps at (and appears to tame) its subject, but has the quixotic efficiency of catching mist in a butterfly net.

06 November 2014 - 03 December 2014

Tom Cullberg at Brundyn

Brundyn is pleased to present ‘Tower’, the thirteenth solo exhibition by Tom Cullberg.

‘Tower’ continues Cullberg’s intuitive dialogue between figuration and abstraction through a series of new paintings and sculptural works. Moving away from some of the more directly associative sources of imagery in previous exhibitions, the new body of work is simultaneously more deeply personal for the artist and thematically open for the viewer.

Cullberg intends for his paintings in 'Tower' to be read in dialogue with each other rather than in isolation, activating them in different ways. Viewed as a whole, the works take on an installation-like quality. As Mary Corrigall notes:

'Through the display of his paintings Cullberg establishes discrete groups of works in anticipation of a
relationship that might emerge or has existed in their creation. This affords Cullberg a rare liberty, the
opportunity to continuously ‘recompose’ his work. This is something that is usually denied to painters
who are typically forced to fix the composition in the act of painting.

Eschewing any specific or prescribed meaning, the experience of the works in ‘Tower’ is akin to tuning channels on an old tube television set with no specific destination in mind. Set against a flourish of abstract painterly static, recognizable images leap forth, dissociated from their original contexts, and instead become part of a continuous flow of broadcast. The types of figurative images that appear are disparate: iconography from advertisements, magazines such as Vogue, news reports, various books on architecture and mid-century design, images from personal family archives, but they are ultimately democratized into a singular intuitive stream. Cullberg doesn’t aim to tell us how to think, but rather provides visual planes that may elicit thinking.'

With ‘Tower’, Cullberg not only collapses the traditional dichotomy between figurative and abstract painting but appears to have identified a space where these two vocabularies are interconnected. It is through mediating on the objects or subjects of these works and untangling the multitude of associations linked to them that the artist gains access to an abstract vocabulary. Cullberg consequently embraces the spirit of abstraction on every level; beyond its ambiguous vocabulary he denies fixity of any kind.

06 November 2014 - 03 December 2014