The Kulturhuset, Stockholm

Ubu and The Truth Commission
will be part of the 'Dreams and
Clouds' programme



'Dreams and Clouds' at the Kulturhuset, Stockholm

'Dreams stimulate our yearning for emancipation ... reflect life, act as premonitions ... Clouds can darken and obscure these visions, but simultaneously foster fantasies ...'

With these words, curators Ingemar Arnesson and Wessel van Huyssteen introduce their proposal for a comprehensive cultural project in Sweden about South Africa which will be held from October 3 1998 to January 1999. The project will have fringe events and extensive education programmes, but the main focus will be on an exhibition to be held at the Kulturhuset, the Culture House, the city cultural centre, set in the heart of Stockholm. The focus of this event will be an exhibition of contemporary South African artists' work. The following artists have been invited: Alan Alborough, Siemon Allen, Kevin Brand, Willem Boshoff, Maureen de Jager, William Kentridge, Isolde Krams, Ledelle Moe, Santu Mofokeng, Zwelethu Mthetwa, Albert Munyai, Jo Ractliffe, Tracy Rose, Johannes Segogela, Hentie van der Merwe, Sue Williamson, Conrad Welz and Sandile Zulu. Performance artists include Robyn Orlin and Tracy Rose. In addition, Clive van den Berg will be invited to set up his fire installations on Sergels Torget, the open plaza in front of the Kulturhuset, on the opening night.

There will also be a music programme, films, and performances of Ubu and the Truth Commission, the play directed by William Kentridge.





Postcard from Houston




Sue Williamson
Truth Games: Tony Yengeni
confronts 'wet-bag' torturer
Jeff Benzien
Colour laser prints, perspex,
plastic, wood
860 x 1200 cm




Zwelethu Mthetwa
Frankie's Barber Shop (detail) 1998
Found wooden dresser,
Photographic images on paper,
hair, sound




Pat Mautloa
If You Scratch 1997-8
Installation View




Gary Hill
Reflex Chamber

Sue Williamson's Journal from America

February 24. Arrive in Houston via Miami to hang work for Houston Fotofest '98, a biennial event bringing together photographers and artists making photo-based work from all over the world. Galleries and artists spaces showing Fotofest exhibitions stretch right across this sprawling awkardly-planned Texas city. I am hoping for a good venue - this time, we have not been told in advance where we are to show. Relief - am taken to the Vine Street Studios, an old warehouse at the bottom of the downtown area, a building which, although plain on the outside and adjacent to a massive concrete flyover, has wonderful old wooden floors and vast volumes inside. The five South Africans will share the space with 20 Mexican photographers. Next anxiety: has the work survived the journey? Workers help me safely uncrate it, five pieces in an interactive new series called Truth Games, based on the cases being heard by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the difficulties of arriving at the truth. There are perspex strips for viewers to slide backwards and forwards to conceal or reveal elements of the images beneath.

Penny Siopis arrives via London and examines the room she has been given to turn into a cinema to show her video, My Lovely Day, made with her family's old home movie footage about their emigration from Greece to South Africa. Pat Mautloa is setting up If You Scratch in the end room, and keeps staggering up the stairs with more stones for his piece. He has transferred images on to canvas photographically, then painted into them, creating a palimpsest. These paintings hang just above piles of stones and digging implements.

February 25. The two South Africans who haven't come are William Kentridge and Zwelethu Mthetwa. No problem with William - his videos Felix in Exile and The History of the Main Complaint are ready to roll. Zwelethu, known as a painter and a photographer has ventured into the third dimension for the first time with a piece called Frankie's Barber Shop. It's an old chest of drawers with photographic images of Frankie on the mirrors and sides. The shop to which the piece refers is at the bus terminus in Nyanga, Cape Town. Open the drawers which are stuffed with hair, and the sounds of the shop - Frankie talking to his customers, taxis screeching - are released. We set the chest up in the corner of a room with stripped brick walls, but the light from the window is too bright. Solution: a helper brings us some old netting to hang up as a curtain to add to the atmosphere and subdue the light.

February 26. Today is spent trying to persuade the electrician to erect one spotlight for each of my pieces. And then Nancy Kienholz, collaborator and widow of the installation artist Ed Kienholz drops by our exhibition space! What an honour! She is extremely friendly, and invites us to look her up.

Tonight is the grand opening. We start at a gallery at Rice University where video artist Gary Hill has a new installation called Reflex Chamber. In a small darkened room, viewers group around a square white tabletop onto which are being projected snatches of views projected at different angles interrupted with strobe lights, along with sounds of breathing and a disconnected monologue. The complex technology is an attempt to plumb an everyday experience: the act of seeing. 'Someone should tell them there's something wrong with the projection,' says the man next to me. 'Is there?' responds his companion, acidly.

The evening finishes with giant slide projections on buildings in the Market Square area, and a party for all in a city restaurant.






Augsburg Show

Each year, Augsberg International in Germany hosts a main cultural event focusing on a specific country. This year, South Africa was chosen, and and five Cape Town artists exhibited on a show entitled 'Art Beyond Borders': Robert Slingsby, Gail Catlin, Beezy Bailey, Xolile Mtakatya and Paul du Toit.

The show opened on March 10 and closed on March 29.

...ZA@PLAY   MWeb

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