SMAC Art Gallery 01

Haus der Kunst

Part of the crowd near the Drill Hall on the opening day of the Treason Trial, December 19, 1956

Unidentified Photographer
Part of the crowd near the Drill Hall on the opening day of the Treason Trial, December 19, 1956, Photographic print ,
Times Media Collection, Museum Africa, Johannesburg


Kendell Geers
FuckFace, C-print , Lydie Nesvadba


Prinzregentenstraße 1 80538 Munich

Hours: Monday?—?Sunday 10 ?am —? 8 pm? Thursday 10 am —? 10 pm


Jo Ractliffe, Guy Tillim, Sue Williamson, Jane Alexander, Omar Badsha, David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane, Santu Mofokeng, Ernest Cole, Jurgen Schadeberg and William Kentridge at Haus der Kunst

'Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life' is a photographic exhibition examining the legacy of the apartheid system and how it penetrated even the most mundane aspects of social existence in South Africa, from housing, public amenities, and transportation to education, tourism, religion, and businesses. Complex, vivid, evocative, and dramatic, it includes nearly 500 photographs, films, books, magazines, newspapers, and assorted archival documents and covers more than 60 years of powerful photographic and visual production that forms part of the historical record of South Africa. Several photographic strategies, from documentary to reportage, social documentary to the photo essay, were each adopted to examine the effects and after-effects of apartheid's political, social, economic, and cultural legacy.

Curated by Okwui Enwezor with Rory Bester, the exhibition proposes a complex understanding of photography and the aesthetic power of the documentary form and honors the exceptional achievement of South African photographers.

From the work of members Drum Magazine in the 1950s to the Afrapix Collective in the 1980s to the reportage of the so-called Bang Bang Club, included in the exhibition are the exceptional works of pioneering South African photographers including Leon Levson, Eli Weinberg, David Goldblatt, Peter Magubane, Alf Khumalo, Jürgen Schadeberg, Sam Nzima, Ernest Cole, George Hallet, Omar Badsha, Gideon Mendel, Paul Weinberg, Kevin Carter, Joao Silva, and Greg Marinovich, and the responses of contemporary artists such as Adrian Piper, Sue Williamson, Jo Ractliffe, Jane Alexander, Santu Mofokeng, Guy Tillim, Hans Haacke, and William Kentridge. In addition, the exhibition will feature the works of a new generation of South African photographers such as Sabelo Mlangeni and Thabiso Sekgale, who explore the impact of apartheid as it continues to resonate today.

15 February 2013 - 26 May 2013

Kendell Geers at Haus der Kunst

Haus der Kunst is pleased to announce the first comprehensive overview of Kendell Geers's work. Curated by Clive Kellner, the exhibition, which fills more than 900 square meters of space, examines the artistic practice of Kendell Geers, which spans a variety of media and genres including installation, sculpture, drawing, video, performance, and photography. Kendell Geers 1988–2012 traces the shift and the development of the artist's conceptual and aesthetic language, divided into two chronological but interlinked groupings: 1988 to 2000, a period which covers his practice when he was living in Johannesburg, South Africa, and 2000 until the present, covering his move and residence in Europe.

Born in South Africa into a staunch Jehovah's Witness, white, working-class Afrikaans family at the height of apartheid, Geers understood the power of faith, politics, and ideology at a very young age. He ran away from home when he was 15 to join the ranks of the militant anti-apartheid movement. From those seminal experiences as a front-line activist Geers developed a body of work that fuses the personal with the political, the poetic with the abject, violence and eroticism. In the works of this period in the late 1980s through the mid 1990s he explored the moral and ethical contradictions of the apartheid system and aimed to challenge all forms of power. 

Throughout his artistic practice Geers has continuously explored and developed a visual vocabulary characterized by provocation, humor, and violence. The use of industrially produced materials and objects such as barbed and razor wire, neon lights, and glass shards indicates the crucial role the readymade plays in his work. According to Geers, every object is more than the sum of its physical parts and is instead the embodiment of an ideology, and a portrait both of its maker and its consumer.

Proceeding chronologicaly, the first half of the exhibition covers the early years of Geers's work with a selection of seminal works that explore the relationship between language and meaning. In these early works the influence of minimalism and conceptualism are leavened by an interest in the affective power of the disruptive gesture, which interrupts the silence of the object and recodifies its meaning. Be it a broken beer bottle neck; a brick smashed through an empty glass vitrine; a stack of two tires inscribed with the curling lettering of a racist rhyme; a dog tag inscribed with the artist's name, or a perspex box containing a series of identity cards of all South African political parties, Geers's work is deeply invested in examining the codes of and languange of materials and the forms they give rise to.

Placing the vivid detail of his personal experiences, memories, and desires, subsumed within an avalanche of mythological ideas at the heart of his practice, Geers depicts himself as a "EuroAnimist," bringing together the ancient animistic traditions from the African continent with the languages of the European avant-garde movements. In 2000, at the personally symbolic age of 33, Geers decided to stop making art for the entire year and instead undertake a spiritual quest in search of a vision of art that would redefine his personal beliefs and his artistic practice. That year marks a significant shift in the ways the artist conceived of his work: He moved toward a poetical and animistic approach, suggesting more universal themes such as spirituality and mortality. The installation Postpunkpaganpop (2008) that marks the center of the exhibition invites the visitor to walk upon a mirror floor through a labyrinth made out of razor mesh. What is usually used to mark a military border is transformed into a personal search for a "mystic truth": As the mirrors reflect whatever is above as below, the spiritual sphere is connected to the earthly, the outer external material world to the inner metaphysical.

01 February 2013 - 12 May 2013