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The Subterraneans, 2008 Acrylic and oil on canvas by Sanell Aggenbach. Her show entitled: Sub Rosa opens 30 April to 31 May at Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

Trudging through Molasses

Making history with Minette Vári Lloyd Pollock has tea with Minette Vári of riot, protest, fight and flight. A mass of humanity march intrepidly towards us and the freedom beyond the gallery’s doors. Durer’s lady remains somnolent, whereas Vari makes a supreme effort, vanquishes her torpor, and rises grandly to the occasion. Suddenly she acquires the moral strength she needs to confront the past, and she stands and crosses over from the screens to the wall where she straddles the landscape, holds up her scale, and pronounces judgement on our history. Melancholia is every seeker after truth, and a metaphor for Vári’s art making in which bursts of furious creation alternate with stretches of block. When inspiration runs dry, Vari feels she is trudging though molasses, and that this treacly and viscous substance retards her movements, clogs up her thoughts and smothers her inspiration. Minnette Vári’s new video, “Rebus”, is a grandly impressive Wagnerian crescendo of sound, light and furioso. Like Gotterdammerung, it is all sturm, drang, cataclysm and apocalypse, and its boom, thunder and flash made the Goodman gallery quake as if in the grip of eruption. Despite the sensational fortissimo effects, Rebus is an intensely cerebral creation. It pivots around Durer’s

engraving, Melencolia, and the serpentine intricacies of this seminal work charge the video with blistering import. Durer’s moody, brooding lady toying with a compass personifies both Melancholy, one of the four humors, and Geometry, one of the seven liberal arts. Nervous excitement engenders her fret, and indicates her susceptibility to ‘furor divinus’, the spark of divine inspiration, for Melancholia is also that miraculous phenomenon, the genuine Artist, and Rebus revolves around the agonies of her creation. There are two loops. In the first Vari presents herself as Durer’s woebegone, allegorical figure idly ruminating amidst her strewn instruments. Melancholia lapses into sloth for insoluble intellectual riddles sap her energies and erode her will.

Our normal frame of reference is ripped apart. Melancholy seems a giantess confined in a space far too small to contain her. Her movements are painfully slow, but above her, the clouds fly by like comets, and the clash of tempo dislocates time. Her flesh assumes the vaporousness of a wraith. Dissolves multiply her person, and merge with X-ray images, so that her substance becomes as limpid as ectoplasm, defining her as a supernatural visitant from a realm beyond space and time. The sound track soups the pace up to the point

of paroxysm. Vári takes all Melancholia’s tools, and makes them hammer and beat, producing sound as rousingly energetic as the anvil chorus in Il Trovatore. The gallery reverberates with the banging of Vulcan’s Olympian smithy. Here the gods forge history, but the beating of metal also evokes Melancholia’s anguished act of creative parturition. The sounds of quakes, blizzards - every kind of commotion - create a sense of earth and past events agonizingly reshaping themselves in her mind. Her thought stream hoses out onto the long wall of the gallery in a projection separate to those on the eight screens devoted to her nigh motionless body. She mulls over our past which is reenacted in archival footage of tumultuous processions – military, religious, academic - and scenes

Vari’s utter mastery of digital technology emerges in the way that Rebus never repeats itself. Two projectors each relay two slightly different alternating loops. The two history loops, the two Melancholia loops and the sound track all differ in duration, so the same combination of sounds and images never recurs. The eight screens are transparent, and you see through one to the next, simultaneously viewing successive strata of images. This layering gives Rebus an elusiveness and ambiguity that hook into memory like a gaff. I met Minnette when she literally blew into my house late on a blustery Sunday night when I no longer expected her. Instead of the galumphing Titaness from Rebus, I found an entrancing sylph at my door. In my mind magic still clung

to her, and when she asked for tea, rather than nectar and ambrosia, I was dismayed. A sensitivity to political nuance underscores Vari’s oeuvre, and of her video career were sown on a trip to Detroit, U.S.A., where blizzards had her holed up watching television in a grungy motel room. “I saw Mandela being released and walking arm in arm with Winnie” Minette said. “I felt intensely homesick, so I remained glued to the set watching repeats every half hour. It was so moving and emotional that I just had to

photograph the T.V. screen, and the results evolved into my first video, Alien.” The years have honed her daunting skills and, in my opinion, Rebus is a shimmering masterpiece of this extraordinary late 20th century art form.

Images Please Note: The Fall 1-4 images have been cropped for the sake of this page design. To see the originals, in their context, please go to: www.goodmangallerycape. com

Transport Exceptionells from France, a man in a moving, exhilarating dance duet with a giant earth-moving vehicle. Image from Africa Centre

Spier performances take over city centre Laetitia Pople From Die Burger DANCERS greeting early bird commuters at the Cape Town station in the morning, artists performing in the Adderley Street fountain, artists on Thibaultplain, artists everywhere. The Citybowl came to life from 26 February to 1 March when the yearly Spier performance arts festival moved from the winelands of Stellenbosch to the streets of Cape Town. South Africa’s foremost fine artists like William Kentridge and Berni Searle, choreographer Acty Tang, the Magnet Theatre Company and dancers from the Jazzart company participated in this programme. A lot of the events where free or R100 and under. The title of the festival Infecting the City is according to the organisers choreographer and artist Jay Pather and the theatre director Brett Bailey the best description of the event. ‘We infected the city with contagious pleasures” they said at a press conference.

From top to bottom left: The Fall 1-4 2008. Pigment ink on cotton fibre paper Below left: Rebus, 2008 Two-channel video installation with stereo audio. Size: variable (in this instance 3.5m x 1.3m x 1.3m) Duration: Screen 1: 2’30”; Screen 2: 2’00”; Audio 4’00”; Looped Right from top to bottom

“We looked at places for our performances that you would not normally find a performance. This is the first festival and should be seen as a prototype of what will come. We want to reach out to artists in Africa, Asia and Europe to ensure participation on a wider level in the future.” said Pather. From Mozambique comes the Afro-punk group Esculturas Humanas, known for their apocalyptic work which was performed worldwide. There work for this festival is entitled Misterios da Actualidade and was performed on Thibault plain over the lunch hour. On the Grand Parade was performed Transports Exceptionnelsa Duet for a dancer and excavator This whimsical piece by the French dancegroup Beau Geste looks at the friendship between a man and machine and it can be described as the relationship between a ringmaster and a circumstantial and can be read as a celebration of childhood memories. The lauded playwright Aubrey Sekhabi’s play Not with my Gun looks at the crime in South Africa from a different angle and was performed at the Cape Town High

School. Paul Boekkooi writes in his review for the newspaper Beeld that it is not protest theatre or theatre trying to validate itself on the grounds of race. “This is relevant theatre looking at our society with new perspectives, theatre that has cast away the coloured lenses, theatre which sent the old with the old cows to the grave”. The evocative, mutlimedia production Dreamtime in the Iziko: South African Museum combined the talents of Sibongile Mngoma, Acty Tang, Berni Searle, guitarist Madala Kunene and the Sint George -singers in an combined art- and performance piece. And in the Centre for the Book in Queen Victoria Street an interesting project called Talking Heads invited the public to ‘buy” time of people and personalities the likes of Zackie Achmat, aids activist, playright Mike van Graan, writer Ronald Suresh Roberts and sangoma Rod Suskin. All the participants in turn were expected to talk to ticketholders about all the new developments in their respective fields, with the sound of a gong the ticketholder moved on to a different participant.

Image of Minette Vari in front of her video: Fulcrum, 2007. Single-channel video installation with stereo audio Duration: Video 2’30”; Audio 5’00”; Looped. Size: variable (in this instance 4m x 2.25m) Title: Monomotapa II Print Series) 2007. Pigment ink on archival cotton fibre paper. Size: 125cm x 75cm All images courtesy of the artist and the Goodman Gallery

The Subterraneans, 2008 Acrylic and oil on canvas by Sanell Aggenbach. Her show entitled: Sub Rosa opens 30 April to 31 May at Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

APRIL GALLERY LISTINGS Eastern Cape East London Ann Bryant Art Gallery Until 12 April - Vapour - Eloise Mogg 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood T. 043 7224044

Port Elizabeth

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum Until 08 June - About-face Until 13 April - Images of Mandela Bay: Inner City 1 Park Drive T. 041 5861030

Free State


Oliewenhuis Art Museum 15 Apr - 11 May - Art for Humanity’s Women for Children print portfolio - Various artists and poets 16 Harry Smith Street T. 051 4479609


Johannesburg Art Extra 09 Apr - 03 May - Sleep in my arms - Youssef Nabil 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall T. 011 3260034 Artspace Until 26 Apr – Of Symetries and Oxymorons - Fritha Langerman Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood T. 011 880 8802 Everard Read Gallery Until 20 Apr – Ricky Burnett – Exhibition of work Until 11 May Voyage to the Interior continued Gary James and Alexander James 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank T. 011 7884805 Gallery Momo Until 26 Apr - Four Tales - Artists include: Gabrielle Goliath, Nomusa Makhubu, Mary Sibande, Gina van Zyl De Oliveira 08 - 31 May - Johannes Phokela - Exhibition of new works 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North T. 011 3273247 Gallery on the Square Until 9 Apr - A survey of South African painting and sculpture from 1960 - 2008 Shop 32, Nelson Mandela Square, Cnr 5th & Maude Streets, Sandton Central T. 011 7842847/8 Graham’s Fine Art Gallery 29 May - 29 Aug - The Modern Palimpsest: Envisioning South African Modernity - South African masters from 1853 onwards Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Valley & Cedar Roads, Broadacres, Fourways T. 011 4659192 Gordart Gallery Until 05 Apr - Homebaked Stories in Kitchen Language Andrew Lindsay 13 Apr – 03 May - Main Gallery

– Chrysalis - Fiona Couldridge Second Gallery - Africa Revisited - Frances Gerke and Pat Sithole Rainforest Project Room - Kai Lossgott 72 Third Avenue, Melville T. 011 726 8519 www.gordart. Johannesburg Art Gallery Until 13 Apr - Leora Farber Until 31 May - Spier Contemporary Cnr. Klein & King George Streets, Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3130 Moja Modern Until 19 Apr - Re-Defining Seasons - James Delaney 22 Apr - 29 Apr - Photography - Vern Bikes Allen 16 7th Ave Parktown North T. 011 4479000

232 18th Avenue, Rietondale Pretoria Art Museum 19 Feb – 11 May – Mid-career retrospective – Johann Louw Until 30 Apr – Rorke’s Drift Art and Craft Centre – A selection of woven tapestries and pottery Cnr Schoeman and Wessels Streets, Arcadia Park T. 012 3441807/8 St. Lorient Fashion & Art Gallery Until 20 Apr - Rumble on my stoep – a wildlife collection – Local artists 492 Fehrsen Street, Brooklyn Circle T. 012 4600284

T. 031 3120793 Bank Gallery 15 May - 7 June - High Voltage - Stephen Hobbs 28 Mar – 14 May – Bank Gallery closed for renovations 217 Florida Road, Morningside T. 031 3126911 Bat Centre Until 30 April - Artists Rights Are Human Rights – Featuring veteran Durban artists 45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour (Off Victoria Embankment). T. 031 3320451

Obert Contemporary at Melrose Arch Until 30 Apr - Confluence - Candy Kramer Rabbi Cyril Harris Community Centre 06 Apr – 4 May – An exhibition of oils - Michael Schur Cnr Glenhove Rd & 4th Street Houghton T. 011 7288088/8378

The Thompson Gallery Until 19 Apr - Capturing the Colonial – Featuring work by: Davina de Beer, Jeannette Unite, Jo Faragher, Marjorie Human, Musha Neluheni and Sue Sellschop 78 Third Ave, Melville, T: 011 4829719/2039

Pretoria Association of Arts Pretoria Until 17Apr - Re-Visit - Wehrner Lemmer and Anthony Harris 173 Mackie Street, Nieuw Muckleneurk T. 012 3463100 Platform on 18 03 Apr - 26 Apr – Incidentally – Lisa Allan, Karin Preller, Antoinette du Plessis

Kimberly William Humphreys Art Gallery Exhibition of Permanent Collection Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent T. 053 8311724

Cape Town

Gary James: Return to River Market. acrylic on panel from his forecomming exhibition “A Voyage to the Interior continued.” at The Everard Read Gallery Johannesburg. From 22 April - 11 May

art.b Gallery 23 Apr - 14 May – Scenes – Group exhibition by Len Tempelhoff, John Skotnes, Verna Jooste and Soulscapes and Reflections by Elizabeth Miller-Vermeulen 21 May - 18 Jun – Argentium - Theo Kleynhans Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville T. 021 9182301 Art 1 03 -17 Apr – Indifference towards dogma - Johann Nortje 66 Church Street T. 021 4265404

Cape Town I 2007 Oil on canvas 38 x 76cm by Cobus van Bosch. One of his work for his solo exhibition entitled: City, to be seen at 34 Long, Cape Town . From 15 April – 17 May.

The Goodman Gallery Until 19 Apr - Plantation Lullabies - Tracey Rose 163 Jan Smuts Avenue , Parkwood T. 011 7881113 The Premises Gallery Until 12 Apr – Urbanstretch – Participating artists include: Black Koki and 351073, Elbowgrease, Kenny Sonono, Phillemon Hlungwani, Rhett Martyn, Satta Collective The Johannesburg Civic Theatre, Loveday Street, Braamfontein T. 011 4038358

Northern Cape

Western Cape

Standard Bank Gallery 16 Apr - 10 May - Skin-to-Skin – Participating artists include: Tamlin Blake, Leora Farber, Fiona Kirkwood, Walter Oltmann, Jane Makhubele and Yda Walt. Corner Simmonds and Frederick Street T. 011 6311889 The Bag Factory Until 02 Apr - Exhibition by artists in residence - Joël Mpah Dooh, Katrin Lock, Leticia Vieyra, Shane Aslan Selzer 10 Mahlathini Street, Fordsburg T. 011 8349181

Tatham Art Gallery Until 04 May - New Acquisitions Exhibition Until 04 May - Edendale excels: an exhibition of four artists from Edendale. Includes works by Michael Zondi, Gerard Bhengu, Chickenman Mkhize and Siyabonga Sikosana. Cnr. Of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Rd. and Church Street (Opposite City Hall) T. 033 3421804

Association of Visual Arts Until 18 April - Upstairs/Downstairs curated by Bettina Malcomess 35 Church Street T. 021 4247436 Bell-Roberts Contemporary 02 Apr - 26 Apr - William Scarbrough - Exhibition of new work 89 Bree Street T. 021 4221100 Everard Read Gallery CT 17 Apr – 30 Apr - Denby Meyer A series of new works 3 Portswood Road, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront T. 021 418 4527

Flower A 2005, Yayoi Kusama, Silkscreen with gold lame on woven paper. Part of a group exhibition entitled: Lustre dots and more at the 34 Long Gallery, Cape Town . From 15 April – 17 May Unisa Art Gallery 29 Mar - 02 May – Thematic Exhibition - David Goldblatt, Keith Dietrich, Penny Siopis, John Muafangejo, Julie Mehretu and others Unisa Main campus, Theo van Wijk Building (Goldfields entrance), 5th Floor T. 012 4296255



Art Space Durban Until 19 Apr - Dhow Trade - Margit Gregory-Pretorius 21 Apr - 10 May – Off the Wall 3 – Graffiti and comic book artists 3 Millar Road, Stamford Hill

KZNSA Gallery Until 20 Apr - Main and Mezzanine Galleries - Aidan Walsh - Nivea Gallery - Andrew Verster 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood T. 031 2023686

Pietermaritzburg Kizo Art Gallery Until 20 Apr - Bongi Bhengu and Collen Maswangayi 23 Apr - 4 May - Erotica Group Showing Shop G350, Palm Boulevard, Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga T. 031 5664324

Iziko South African National Gallery 19 Apr - 18 Jun - A Private View – Cecil Skotnes Until 04 May - Messina/ Musina - Photographs -Pieter Hugo Government Avenue, Company’s Garden. T. 021 4674660 João Ferreira Gallery 30 Apr - 31 May - Sub Rosa - Sanell Aggenbach Until 26 April - Pamela Stretton 70 Loop Street T. 021 4235403 Michael Stevenson Gallery 15 May - 05 July - Disguise: The art of attracting and deflecting attention - Curated by Joost Bosland Hill House, De Smidt Street, Green Point, T. 021 4212575 Rust-en-Vrede gallery 08 Apr – 24 Apr - Salon A - Mynie Brits – Salon B - Patrick Botto Salon C - Marguerite Barkhuysen, exhibits padlangs 10 Wellington Rd, Durbanville

T. 021 9764691 The A.R.T Gallery 03 Apr – 03 May – Altered Images: Rethinking Polaroids essa Frootko-Gordon No. 205, The Colosseum Building, 3 St. George’s Mall T. 021 4192679 The Cape Gallery Until 19 Apr - Di Johnson-Ackerman - Exhibition of recent paintings 20 Apr - 10 May - Icons of a past life - Leon de Bliquy 60 Church Street T. 021 4235309 34 Long Until 12 April - Say for me – Asha Zero 15 Apr – 17 May – City - Cobus van Bosch 15 Apr – 17 May - Lustre dots and more - Group exhibition 34 Long Street. T. 21 426 4594 Whatiftheworld Gallery Until 26 Apr - Volume 1 - Jacqui Stecher 01 May - 31 May – The Drain of Progress – Zander Blom First Floor, 208 Albert Rd. Woodstock T. 021 4481438

Stellenbosch Dorp Straat Gallery 05 April – 6 May - Scarlet - Featuring Niek De Greef, Jenny Parsons, Jenny Groenewald, Caerli Hare, John Newdigate and more. 144 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 8872256 SMAC Art Gallery 27 Feb – 25 May - Revisions plus works by artists such as Trevor Makhoba, Dumile Feni, Gerard Bhengu and Simon Mnguni will be on show De Wet Centre, Church Street T. 021 8873607

Send us your Gallery exhibition details and images by the 15th of each month E-mail these details to:


Anthea Delmotte, Cape Gallery, Cape Town

The Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Department of Visual Communication’s first-, second- and third-year Photography students of last year will showcase their photographic skills at Gallery 20/20 at the Voortrekker Monument from Sunday, 16 March, at the Department’s annual photographic exhibition.

Pamela Stretton’s piece entitled: Fed up, from her solo exhibition until 26 April at Joao Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

Learning To Fly, William Scarbrough, Mixed media, Bell- Roberts Gallery, Cape Town. until 26 April

Work by Francois van Reenen from a group show at Fried Contemporary entitled: Angels and demons

Work from Stephen Hobbs’s show entitled: High Voltage, Bank Gallery, 15 May - 7 June

Pat Sithole’s, Icy cold winter, from his exhibition entitled: Africa Revisited, at The Gordart Gallery, Johannesburg.

Hout Street Gallery

David and Gail Zetler. 270 Main Street, Paarl, 7646. Phone + 27 (0) 21 872 5030 Fax + 27 (0) 21 872 7133 E-mail: Artwork: Peter Fincham, Afternoon Shadows

Cape Town’s largest contemporary art gallery exhibiting works by leading South African artists

Carmel Art 66 Vineyard Road, Claremont Ph: 021 671 6601 Email: Website:

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Ben Coutouvidis Alice Goldin Wendy Rosselli Lyn Smuts Phillipa Allen Hardy Botha Theo P. Vorster Judy Woodbourne David Riding Cecil Skotnes and others.

Roswitha von Glehn Wildlife - drawings, watercolours & woodcuts Landscapes - in oil & watercolour Tel +27 11 787 1983 email

Getting your message to South African’s + 16 000* Art Community is easier than you thought Full Page Colour R 8 800 Half Page Colour R 4 400 Quarter Page Colour R 2 200 Eight Page Colour R 900 The South African Art Times with an 8000 Print and distribution run. Pricing excludes design and vat. Prices are set to go up by 10% in April’s annual printer increase.

* 16 000 is a conservative estimate of the number of multi readers of The SA Art Times, many people tell us that they read The Art Times a few times per month, including their friends

WHATS ON AT IZIKO SA NATIONAL GALLERY Messina/Musina at the Iziko South African National Gallery Messina/Musina is the body of work the photographer Pieter Hugo produced as Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year in 2007, its title reflecting the transitional character of the community that the work represents. Formally known as Messina, the town was renamed to correct a colonial misspelling and lies on the highway that runs from South Africa to Zimbabwe and Zambia, on our northernmost border. It attracts truckers, migrant labourers for the diamond mine and farms in the area, refugees and smugglers from neighbouring countries and a concomitant military and

police presence. European and American tourists are also drawn to local game hunting. A community constantly in flux, Hugo found that most of those he photographed were not originally from the area. When he later attempted to recontact them, many had already moved on.In his photographs of individuals, families, interiors, landscapes and incidental details, Hugo reflects on the wounds and scars of race, class and nationality that persist here, on the border of Zimbabwe. The circumstances of Musina can also be seen as broadly reflective of any community that is confronted by transition. Messina/Musina will be exhibited at the Iziko South African National Gallery until 4 May 2008. Enquiries: Pam Warne, tel: 021 467-4660, e-mail:

Pieter and Maryna Vermeulen with Timana Phosiwa.

Cecil Skotnes: A Private View’ South African National Gallery on 19 April and runs until 18 June.

Thina Lucy Manebaneba with her son Samuel Mabolabola and her brother Enos Manebaneba in their living room after church

Whilst Skotnes is undoubtedly an icon of the South African art world, the exhibition moves beyond the artist’s public face to reveal a more personal view, focusing on such aspects of his extensive output as his drawings, cartoons, watercolours, prints and works of art on paper. Also on display are a number of letters and documents collected over five decades as well

Fiona Ewan Rowett 0832673013 winter moon

as objects, personal memorabilia and a collection of objects from Skotnes’s home and studio. Skotnes played an important pioneering role in art education in South Africa. He was highly involved with the Amadlozi group that sought to work at the intersection of African and European art. He was generous towards, and nurturing of, young artists. For many years, his Johannesburg

home served as an ‘open house’ and hub for artists from different parts of the city and, indeed, the world. In Cape Town, this spirit of creative hospitality continued. The exhibition therefore offers insight into the country’s creative community of which Skotnes formed such an integral part and highlights the many ways in which he helped shape a vibrant period in South African art history.

Over the years, Skotnes’s work has encompassed many media, most recognisably the large coloured wood-panels that grew out of the making of blocks for relief printing, but also portfolios of prints, murals and public commissions, oil paintings, ceramics, tapestries and sculpture. Photographs: Paul Weinberg

SA Art Times: April: Art Guide  

South African Art Times: April 2008, Art Guide

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