Minnette Vári
Stills from the video Alien

'Beyond the Pale' - Minnette Vári

In Minnette Vári's new exhibition 'Beyond the Pale', the artist turns her laser gaze on the culture of violence in a South African context, and its impact on the lives of women in this society. The work focuses on the hazards and delights of translation and misinterpretation; the potential beauty of the faux pas. It is also a personal and autobiographical journey for Vári, who is of Hungarian descent: the 'Pale' was the area in Eastern Europe where all the pariahs of the Russian Empire were repatriated.

Using TV news, documentary and original footage, the artist creates new video and audio material, including an animation video (see Project), an audio CD and a video projection. In this, six short sections are presented, each time introducing the viewer to two cartoon contenders, followed by a live, simulated combat sequence, visually informed by video-arcade games and classic cinema moments.

New work by Vári (see also Artbio, ArtThrob No 7), one of the country's most provocative and intellectually rigorous artists, is not to be missed.

November 8 to 26. Presented by the French Institute and the Alliance Française at 17 Lower Park Drive, corner Kerry Road, Parkview. Gallery hours: Monday to Thursday: 8am to 7.30pm; Friday: 8am to 4pm. More info: phone (011) 836-0561.




Sam Nhlengethwa
Hearth 1998
Collage and oil on canvas
158 x 158cm

Sam Nhlengethwa
Staircase 1998
Collage and oil on canvas

Sam Nhlengethwa at the Goodman Gallery

Gone are the miners and their gear, the jazz musicians and the people on the street who used to throng the paintings and collage pieces of Sam Nhlengethwa. The artist's previous 'Mine Trip' series pointed the way to the new direction, taking us underground to view deserted working areas. With 'Interiors', the artist moves into the arena of the domestic. The room as empty stage has become the focus of the artist's eye. We are to judge its location in township or suburbia, the taste and probable income of its inhabitants by the light fittings, the chairs, comfortable or otherwise, the pictures on the walls, the African artefacts on the mantelpieces. The owners are elsewhere.

A number of photographers, Zwelethu Mthetwa and David Goldblatt among them, have focused on the telling detail of the South African domestic interior, but have usually included the residents of the room as a part of the whole. It is interesting to see the fine twist Nhlengethwa has given the subject in these paintings and lithographs.

The exhibition runs until Saturday November 21. Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.30pm, Saturdays 9.30am to 4pm. Phone: (011) 788 1113; e-mail:; website:



The invitation to 'transmission'

Roger van Wyk surrounded
by equipment

Roger van Wyk at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery

As the end of the millennium approaches, we become ever more dependent on technology to maintain the infrastructure of our lives. A new fleet of satellites launched into space this month to make cellphone transmission accessible in the furthest corners of the world will block star signals received by astronomers.

At the same time, humankind is showing a renewed interest in communicating through spiritual and metaphysical means. It is the interface between these two forms of communication which is the subject of Roger van Wyk's 'transmission' at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery. There are a number of interactive displays and exhibits which demonstrate the transmission of light, sound, information or energy, and possible participants during the course of the exhibition will come from both sides of the technological divide.

For more info about Van Wyk and his exhibition, check out their excellent website. 'Transmission' runs until November 14. Phone (011) 832-1641.



Workshopping 'Umzobo' in
Rini township, Grahamstown

'Umzobo' at the Market Theatre Photogallery

During the 1998 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Standard Bank Education Curator Shadow Mthunzi Ndimandi conducted a workshop with the children of Rini township to examine the implications and intentions of the festival in terms of inclusion and exclusion. Using their bodies as letters, participants generated the word "Umzobo" - drawing, or art - then decided on a 40-metre mural on paper as a group project. To dry the paint on the mural, the children carried it through Rini, a practical act in taking art to the people. It is this mural which, as part of the ongoing Outskirts project, is on display in the Market Theatre Photogallery until November 14. Phone (011) 832-1641.



Marieke Kruger
Images from 'A Holy War'

Marieke Kruger at the Civic

Scale can be critical in the communication of an idea. Marieke Kruger works with the fundamental and age-old themes of redemption and damnation, and to command the earnest attention she desires, her prints and drawings are ceiling high in the gallery at the Civic Theatre, a powerful engagement for the eye. Rich, literary and biblical in reference, tonally monochromatic, this is a show which is well worth a visit. Until November 17. Gallery hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 10pm. Phone: (011) 403-3408; e-mail:



Isaac Nkosinathi Khanyile

Isaac Nkosinathi Khanyile at the Civic

Durban-based Isaac Nkosinathi Khanyile's concerns are the mutation and erosion of his Zulu culture and spiritual beliefs. Drawing on the past, he explores traditional as well as Western art disciplines in the production of his iconic and powerful contemporary pieces. Khanyile often works with self-initiated community projects, in this case with several women crafters. Aspects of his work are a praise to women and their empowerment in rural areas.

The show opens on November 24, and continues through the festive season.



Nelisiwe Xaba in Rodney
Place's Couch Dancing

Xaba emerging from the
Freudian couch constructed
by Rodney Place


'Couch Dancing' at the Cape Town Castle

"Electrifying" is the only way to describe the dancing of the androgynous Nelisiwe Xaba, who emerges sinuously from the womb of the couch of Sigmund Freud and moves across a set to interact with an extraordinary swivel chair, ending behind a curved screen of lenses which at one moment supply a wall of tiny inverted images of the dancer, and the next highly magnified close-ups of bits of her body. The theme is a witty visual deconstruction of the working methods of Sigmund Freud, and the whole was conceived by artist Rodney Place, with contributing collaborations from muso Warrick Swinney (formerly known as Sony), choreographer Robyn Orlin and others. After the performance, the audience can descend to the bowels of the Castle to view wall and sculptural constructions by Place which continue his Freudian obsession. After the focused power of the multi-media performance, the pieces seem a little inert.

Only until November 7. Performances nightly at 8pm. Tickets at the door, or phone Lalou Meltzer at (021) 462 3751; e-mail



Peter Clarke
Family Fleeing From Fire 1962
Wood and linocut on paper

'Land and Lives' at the SANG

Seen earlier this year at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, this fine exhibition provides an invaluable art historical perspective on the pioneer black artists of this country, including such stalwarts as Gerald Sekoto and George Pemba in the well-researched lineup. As the title suggests, much of the work focuses on the lived experience of the artists. Presented by Professor David Bunn, and on until December 13. The gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Phone (021) 45-1628.


Walter Meyer
oil on canvas

Walter Meyer
Filling Station
oil on canvas

Walter Meyer at 13 Jarvis Street

Based in the small Free State town of Bethulie, Walter Meyer has been described by critic Ivor Powell as "possibly the finest painter of distinctly South African landscape that this country has yet produced". Aficionados of his atmospheric canvases of distinctively lit suburban and heartland scenes will be pleased to learn that the first Cape Town solo exhibition of the artist's work will open in a new venue at 13 Jarvis Street, De Waterkant on Monday November 16, and continue until Sunday November 22. Hours: 10am to 6pm daily. Inquiries: 083-4754204; e-mail:



Sue Williamson
'Truth Games' series:
'As a mother': Confrontation
over Stompie
Mixed media
86 x 120 x 6cm

Sue Williamson at João Ferreira Fine Art

In 'Truth Games', sliding panels of fragmented text taken from newspaper reports of TRC hearings conceal or reveal the blurred, blown-up faces of accusers and defenders beneath. Parallel white plastic rails supporting the panels have something of the look of venetian blinds: the viewer is a voyeur looking through a window, given the "truth" and made complicit by moving the panels. On all through November at João Ferreira Fine Art, 80 Hout Street. Tuesdays to Fridays 10am to 5pm, Saturdays 10am to 2pm. Phone (021) 23-5403. The artist will give a walkabout of the exhibition at 12.30pm on Saturday November 14.



Clive van den Berg
Frontier Erotics series
Oil on canvas
310 x 400cm

Clive van den Berg at the Mark Coetzee Fine Art Cabinet

For this new series of work, 'Frontier Erotics', Clive van den Berg visited frontier battle sites, generally marked with stiff and heroic statuary commemorating the event. These paintings present Van den Berg's response to these sites: paintings of an alternative and long-suppressed imagery, a different set of truths. A constructed and video installation on the same theme fills the other space at the Cabinet. Van den Berg is the subject of this month's Artbio. 'Frontier Erotics' opens on November 4. Phone: (021) 24-1667.



Roelof Louw
'Made for USA' series
Shaped and painted
canvas on board

Roelof Louw and Rodney Place at the Hänel

Sculpturally shaped canvases of variations on the American flag express Roelof Louw's response to the consumer-driven imperialism of the world's most powerful nation in 'Made for USA'. Only until November 4.

From November 8, the droll mixed-media constructions and wall pieces which provide "a fictional biography of Sigmund Freud" by Rodney Place will fill the space, and will no longer have to compete with the mesmerising dancing of Nelisiwe Xaba (see 'Couch Dancing') for the audience's attention. Until November 21. Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am to 5pm; Saturdays 10am to 2pm. Phone (021) 423-1406.



Diana Hyslop
Going to the Free State
Oil on canvas

Fritha Langerman
Detail from a piece in
the 'Code' series

Diana Hyslop and Fritha Langerman at the AVA

In the Main Gallery at the AVA, Diana Hyslop's unpretentious and likeable paintings reflect a sincere attempt by the artist to draw on her experience of being a young person in this mixed-up country. Diaristic, with small applied plastic animals or natural objects, the expansiveness of the canvases suggest open spaces both geographic and emotional. In small wooden frames, a series of modestly priced overpainted snapshots on the same themes have found ready buyers.

Fritha Langerman, upstairs in the ArtStrip, explores her usual obsession with materials and techniques, cutting, casting, engraving, printing, drilling and carving plastic, paper, rubber, plaster, perspex, metal and latex in her series 'Code' - the genetic code, that is, in all its DNA complexity. The result is a series of narrow boxes hung horizontally, each divided into three, filled with medical detritus, and coding references, all in tones of black, grey, cream and white. Visually highly aesthetic, the work seems to hint at the dangers of over-zealous classification. Ending November 14. Phone (021) 24-7436.



Tracy Gander
Red 1998
Colour photograph

Arnold Erasmus
Black and white photograph

Tracy Gander and Arnold Erasmus at Bang the Gallery

The way the landscape looks, hot colour dissolving and shimmering in the miraging heat of a summer afternoon as we pass through it at 140km an hour on the way to somewhere else, is the subject of Tracy Gander's new photographs. Gander's painterly images freeze those moments on 'Stillness in Motion: Fluid Spaces' which opens at Bang the Gallery on November 2. There is also a digital piece by Gander, entitled Red World.

Also showing is Arnold Erasmus, with quiet studies of the female human body in landscape. These seem innocent and curiously dated, as if taken in the Thirties or Forties, perhaps because of the awkward unstudiedness of the model, who seems quite unaware of the camera, "an element of nature" as Erasmus says.

Until November 19 at 92 Bree Street. Gallery hours: Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm; Saturday 10am to 2pm. Phone: (021) 422-1477; e-mail:; website:



Vivienne Koorland
The Local Monuments II 1995
Oil, charcoal and linen over burlap
On the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale

Vivienne Koorland at the Irma Stern Museum

Last seen in this country on 'Alternating Currents', the Okwui Enwezor/Octavio Zya-curated show at the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Michaelis graduate Vivienne Koorland is now working out of New York. In November, she will be guest artist at the Irma Stern Museum in Rosebank, with a series entitled 'The Unquiet Image'. The show will be opened on November 10 and run until mid-December.


Ian Pells with three
ceramic Perspective Rests

Lara Rivera
Untitled 1997 (from the
'Rose-Coloured Archive' series)
Oil on board
180 x 130cm


Ian Pells and Lara Rivera at the Dorp Street Gallery

Ceramic versions of traditional African headrests are part of the work Michaelis graduate ceramicist Ian Pells will be showing at the Dorp Street Gallery in November. Pells's functional pieces are mainly press moulded, slip cast and hand built, and also include items such as plates, bowls and mugs. Pells is curently teaching ceramics at the Constantia Waldorf School in Cape Town.

Recent Michaelis graduate Lara Rivera shows gentle canvases, some of which are from the 'Rose Coloured Archive' - a "documentary" about the "romance and subjectivity of self-indulgent retrospection". The exhibition opens on November 7 and runs until the 30th. Gallery hours: Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm. 176 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Phone (021) 887-2256.


Mary Greening
Suburban Blues


Mary Greening at the NSA

Against a background of high-income suburban houses, a bird's-eye view reveals a path trodden through a grassy lot, worn in probably by the feet of domestic workers and gardeners tramping to and from the houses beyond. Not part of any official street map, such unnoticed paths form an integral part of the South African scene, a network which stretches across the country. Mary Greening's series of paintings, 'Pedestrian Landscapes', closes November 4.



Carol Duveen
Invitation detail

Carol Duveen at the Durban Centre for Photography

It is your last chance too to see Carol Lynne Duveen's elaborate multi-media installation 'Mo[u]rning', which reflects on many aspects of the human condition. Also closing November 4.

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