Page 1

IN MEMORIAM ADELE VAN HEERDEN 17 May - 14 June 2018


Cover image: Beeldenstor m Ink & graphite on tracing paper 41 x 59 cm

Memorial Plinth

Ink & gouache on drafting film 20 x 13.5 cm


T

he w o r k o f memory collapses time. - Walter Benjamin

Previous page: detail from Cycles Ink on drafting film 21 x 29.5 cm

Evacuation I

Ink & gouache on drafting film 25.5 x 31.5 cm


W

atching Saddam Hussein’s statue fall, one might be surprised by the strange elasticity of the bronze or the impassivity of its face as the arm raised in permanent salute seems to brace for a fall. But what must certainly be most

astonishing is the way the crowd falls upon the monument. People rush the enormous body, hurling fists and abuse in Arabic. A group drags the decapitated head through the streets.

The memory of the Firdos Square memorial destruction in 2003 was formative to Adele van Heerden’s conception of the power of statues. They must surely be more than the sum of their parts to provoke such ire. In ‘In Memoriam’, a collection of pen, ink and gouache drawings, Van Heerden reacts to current debates around the removal of statues, attempting to understand the ways in which they function as emotional objects. Van Heerden has, in this exhibition, created facsimiles of contentious statues from South Africa, the USA and Europe. Her source images are lifted from the news and rendered in fine detail on tracing paper. The translucence of the paper allows her to layer multiple drawings, hinting at the promulgation of the images and the tone of their coverage. Van Heerden is gentle but critical of the cultural mythologies the statues represent. They are miniaturised and placed amidst bouquets of flowers, inverting their monumental scale and turning them into toy-sized tin soldiers.

An argument for statues’ efficacy as effigies is that they go beyond mere portraiture and become symbolic. Political scientist and historian Benedict Anderson theorised that national identity is formed through the use of symbols by the collective: flags, crests

Tabula R asa

Ink & gouache on drafting film 38.5 x 54 cm

(and statues of their antecedents). So much so that he “argued that nationalism should be compared to religious constructions of identity and community as much as to other


political ideologies” (Calhoun 2017). “It is by the act of worship that we create or ‘imagine’, in Anderson’s terms, the very object of our worship” (Vestergaard 2001), making the creation of the identity reflexive – galvanised through enactment.

The statues come to embody the traits of the people that they represent as well as their aspirations for a place – usually a country. Action against them is a statement of ideological opposition. Societal shifts often render these symbols mutually exclusive to the prevailing zeitgeist which leads to the iconoclasm of movements such as Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) and the drive to remove Confederate statuary in America.

The addition of bouquets of flowers, connotatively domestic and female, works to acknowledge the staunchly masculine and militaristic nature of most of these memorials – the majority being for soldiers or politicians. This destructive and exclusive old boys’ club is examined with wry acknowledgement but certainly not envy.

Flowers also serve as a more personal memorial, a singular gesture of remembrance to be left at a graveside. The rambling bouquets of vanitas masterpieces from previous eras assert the rapid passing of time and inevitable mortality. In ‘In Memoriam’, the flowers remind us that a statue is a cenotaph for a person or people who once lived, cryogenically preserved with their ideals and flaws.

Signalling the domestic sphere, private burial and the trope of vanitas paintings drains the

Martyred Images

Ink & graphite on drafting film 40 x 56.5 cm

statues of their vainglorious heroism (with its frequently nationalistic, masculine trappings) and produces a pathos seldom recorded in the current debate around the removal of


statues. The implication being that the subversion of the monument most needed is an understanding of the flawed humanity of the subjects and the uncaring cycles of history.

These works take a Historiographical perspective, distancing themselves from the intentions of the symbols they portray. They are principally concerned with the manner in which history is recorded. Which of the meta-narratives that spawned these statues are still in our blind-spot today? How is the rhetoric of history so cogently reproduced when in the moment it feels like chaos? Can values such as Bravery and Loyalty exist aside from moral reprehensibility?

The destruction, effacement and reformation of nationalist symbols is integral to the coming-into-power of new ideologies: “In post-World War II Germany, Nazi symbols that weren’t destroyed during the war were ordered demolished by the Allied Control Council� (Hansler and Zaru 2017). During the fall of the Soviet Union, likenesses of Stalin, Lenin and other communist icons were destroyed as far off as Hungary and Ethiopia. Christopher Columbus left Caracas in Venezuela in 2004 and, in Spain, the last statue of Franco was removed from the mainland in 2008.

Cognisant of this fraught history, Van Heerden appropriates images of memorials and shifts their import by re-establishing formal artistic elements. The creator of the statues often becomes invisible in a way that is opposite to the name-brand individualism of the auteur in the fine art industry. Ironically it is in the case of statues that the artist has the disproportionate power of the propagandist, creating vessels for ideology that last for generations.


Eikonoklastes

Ink & gouache on drafting film 43 x 30 cm


Noel Carrol asserts that neglecting to incorporate memorial art into an understanding of the ways in which art moves us, intellectually and emotionally, is a shortcoming of art theory discourse. He writes:

“We need to think seriously about memorial art [which is all but abandoned in the domain of] philosophy of art, since memorial art is art expressly designed to perform cultural functions and there remains in modern aesthetics a strong tendency to withhold the title of art from works noteworthy for their social utility...The culprit here is the aesthetic theory of art which maintains that something is an artwork if, and only if, it is designed with the primary intention of affording or having the capacity to afford experiences valuable for their own sakes.”

It is precisely for their context and symbolic content that we can value statues with the emotional overflow that we do. ‘In Memoriam’ presents an opportunity to see these symbols not as monolithic powerhouses but as the fragile Ozymandiases that they are.

Thr ee Toy Soldiers

Ink & gouache on drafting film 13.5 x 20 cm


Beeldenstorm

Ink & graphite on tracing paper 41 x 59 cm


Wa r M e m o r i a l & Fl o w e r s I I Ink on drafting film 15 x 15 cm


Wa r H o r s e

Ink on drafting film 24 x 25 cm


M

y work is a direct, personal response to the particular social, historical & political conditions I am present in. Living in a post-colonial context, I recognise the omniscient spectres of the past haunting the present.

Memento

Ink, gouache & graphite on drafting film 41 x 60 cm


Effigy

Ink on drafting film 37.5 x 59 cm


Cycles

Ink on drafting film 21 x 29.5 cm


The Merciless Hammer

Ink & graphite on drafting film 60 x 83 cm


Va n q u i s h

Ink & gouache on drafting film 42 x 29.5 cm


Monumental Miniature

Ink & gouache on drafting film 20 x 13.5 cm


Evacuation II

Ink & gouache on drafting film 25.5 x 31.5 cm


R o s l y n ’s H o r s e T a m e r

Ink on tracing paper 59.5 x 77 cm


M

y work launches a confrontation with the past; it interrogates the presence of commemorative monuments & encourages the viewer to question their understanding of them.

Contemplation

Ink & gouache on drafting film 29 x 21 cm


Conquest

Ink & gouache on drafting film 30.5 x 42 cm


A

s events and circumstances unveil in the present, a m e m o r i a l ’s d e s t i n y i s t o recall the past and provide conditions for new responses in the future. - Julian Bonder

Zeitgeist

Ink, charcoal, gouache & pencil on tracing paper 42 x 58 cm


Wa r M e m o r i a l & Fl o w e r s I Ink on drafting film 15 x 15 cm


C

ul t u r a l o b j e c t s a r e important symbolic containers for social interactions. In the case of m y w o r k i n p a r t i c u l a r, t h e s e cultural objects take the form of monumental statues erected as memorials to heroes of a troubled past. In short, this exhibition serves as a meditation on our relationship with public sculpture of war heroes from a colonial past.

Dictator Chic

Ink on drafting film 27 x 31 cm


Va n i t a s

Ink & gouache on drafting film 50 x 34.5 cm


A d e l e va n H e e rd e n i s a n a r t i s t a n d c u r a t o r l i v i n g a n d w o r k i n g i n C a p e To w n , S o u t h A f r i c a . A f t e r g r a d u a t i n g i n Fine Arts at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2010, Van Heerden continued her studies at the University of South Africa, where she obtained a BA in History and Politics. In 2015, she graduated from the University of C a p e To w n w i t h a n H o n o u r s D e g re e i n C u r a t o r s h i p .

V a n H e e r d e n ’s w o r k h a s b e e n w i d e l y e x h i b i t e d i n g r o u p s h o w s t h r o u g h o u t t h e W e s t e r n C a p e , S o u t h A f r i c a , a t g a l l e r i e s s u c h a s S a l o n 9 1 , t h e G a l l e r y a t G r a n d e P r o v e n c e H e r i t a g e W i n e E s t a t e , 9 9 L o o p , D F C o n t e m p o r a r y, Rust-en-Vrede and Art.b. Other professional artistic experience includes a two year stint as gallery manager at the South African Print Galler y as well as internships at the Spier Ar ts Trust ( Yellowwoods Ar t Consultancy) a n d t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f C a p e T o w n ’s M i c h a e l i s G a l l e r i e s .

Van Heerden describes her work as a direct, personal response to the particular social, historical and political c o n d i t i o n s s h e i s p r e s e n t i n . “ L i v i n g i n a p o s t - c o l o n i a l c o n t e x t ,” s h e c o m m e n t s , “ I r e c o g n i s e o m n i s c i e n t spectres of the past haunting the present. In my multi-layered, highly detailed ink drawings I make subtle commentary on themes related to the relevance of the commemoration of war heroes in a post-colonial landscape. Colourful images of flowers, toy soldiers and horses are imposed and juxtaposed with monuments. W i t h t h i s s u b j e c t m a t t e r, m y w o r k l a u n c h e s a c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h t h e p a s t ; i t i n t e r r o g a t e s t h e p r e s e n c e o f c o m m e m o r a t i v e m o n u m e n t s a n d e n c o u r a g e s t h e v i e w e r t o q u e s t i o n t h e i r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e m .”


2 0 1 7 U n t i t l e d 5 . 9 9 , G ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , 9 9 L o o p G a l l e r y C a p e To w n

Angel Exhibition, The Gallery at Grande Provence, Franschhoek

D i a l o g u e s , g ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , S t a t e o f t h e A r t , C a p e To w n

M o n u m x n t s , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , T h e G a l l e r y @ Ta j , C a p e T o w n

U n t i t l e d 4 . 9 9 , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , 9 9 L o o p G a l l e r y, C a p e T o w n

W i n t e r E x h i b i t i o n , D F C o n t e m p o r a r y, C a p e T o w n

Ars Gratia Artis, group exhibition, The Gallery at Grande Provence, Franschhoek

2 0 1 6 V a n i t a s , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , 9 9 L o o p G a l l e r y, C a p e T o w n

U n t i t l e d 3 . 9 9 , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , 9 9 L o o p G a l l e r y, C a p e T o w n

5 0 / 5 0 , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , D F C o n t e m p o r a r y, C a p e T o w n

Mono/Lino (With Theo, Jono, Clare and Friends), group exhibition, Art B., Bellville

T h e G r a n d 3 , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , R u s t - e n - V r e d e G a l l e r y, D u r b a n v i l l e

2 0 1 5 W e l c o m e t o M y G a r d e n , g r o u p e x h i b i t i o n , S p a c e B e t w e e n G a l l e r y, C a p e T o w n

Drawing the Line, group exhibition, Art b., Bellville

Pe r s i s t e n c e o f M e m o r y & C a b i n e t o f C u r i o s i t i e s , g ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , U n t i t l e d S t u d i o s , C a p e To w n

2 0 1 4 G o l d e n H a ze , g ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , S a l o n 9 1 , C a p e To w n

N S F W , g ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , S t u d i o 4 1 , C a p e To w n

T h e L i n e s o f M e m o r y , g ro u p e x h i b i t i o n , R u t h P ro w s e S c h o o l o f A r t , C a p e To w n

2013 Group exhibition, Anatomy for Life, Brighton, United Kingdom


B o n d e r, J . 2 0 0 9 . O n M e m o r y, T r a u m a , P u b l i c S p a c e , M o n u m e n t s , M e m o r i a l s . h t t p s : / / e s c h o l a r s h i p . o r g / u c / item/4g8812kv C a l h o u n , C . 2 0 1 7 . N a t i o n a n d I m a g i n a t i o n : H o w B e n e d i c t A n d e r s o n R e v o l u t i o n i z e d P o l i t i c a l T h e o r y. h t t p : / / w w w. abc.net.au/religion/articles/2017/05/09/4665722.htm C h a u d h u r i , A . 2 0 1 6 . T h e r e a l m e a n i n g o f R h o d e s M u s t F a l l . h t t p s : / / w w w. t h e g u a r d i a n . c o m / u k - n e w s / 2 0 1 6 / mar/16/the-real-meaning-of-rhodes-must-fall D’Costa, K. 2017. The History behind the King George III Statue Meme. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ anthropology-in-practice/the-history-behind-the-king-george-iii-statue-meme/ F o r t i n , J . 2 0 1 7 . T o p p l i n g M o n u m e n t s , a V i s u a l H i s t o r y. h t t p s : / / w w w. n y t i m e s . c o m / 2 0 1 7 / 0 8 / 1 7 / w o r l d / c o n t r o v e r sial-statues-monuments-destroyed.html H a n s l e r, J & Z a r u , D. 2 0 1 7 . W h a t h a p p e n e d t o m o n u m e n t s o f f a l l e n r e g i m e s a r o u n d t h e w o r l d . h t t p s : / / e d i t i o n . cnn.com/2017/08/20/politics/monuments-around-the-world/index.html L o p e z , G . 2 0 1 7 . T h e b a t t l e o v e r C o n f e d e r a t e s t a t u e s , e x p l a i n e d . h t t p s : / / w w w. v o x . c o m / i d e n t i ties/2017/8/16/16151252/confederate-statues-white-supremacists P e f f e r, J . 2 0 0 5 . C e n s o r s h i p a n d I c o n o c l a s m : U n s e t t l i n g M o n u m e n t s . A n t h r o p o l o g y a n d A e s t h e t i c s , N o . 4 8 , P e r manent/Impermanent (Autumn, 2005). The University of Chicago Press. S p i e s , D. 2 0 1 5 . E F F d a m a g e s P E h o r s e m e m o r i a l . h t t p s : / / w w w. n e w s 2 4 . c o m / S o u t h A f r i c a / N e w s / E F F - d a m a g es-PE-horse-memorial-20150407 V e s t e r g a a r d , M . 2 0 0 1 . W h o ’s G o t t h e M a p ? T h e N e g o t i a t i o n o f A f r i k a n e r I d e n t i t i e s i n P o s t - A p a r t h e i d S o u t h A f r i c a . D a e d a l u s , V o l . 1 3 0 , N o . 1 , W h y S o u t h A f r i c a M a t t e r s ( W i n t e r, 2 0 0 1 ) . T h e M I T P r e s s .


This catalogue was produced in conjunction with Adele van Heerden’s solo exhibition ‘In Memoriam’ Association for Visual Arts Gallery 3 5 C h u rc h S t re e t / C a p e To w n 17 May - 14 June 2018

Adele van heerden in memoriam catalog  

This catalogue was produced in conjunction with Adele van Heerden's solo exhibition "In Memoriam" at the Association For Visual Arts Gallery...

Adele van heerden in memoriam catalog  

This catalogue was produced in conjunction with Adele van Heerden's solo exhibition "In Memoriam" at the Association For Visual Arts Gallery...

Advertisement