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BUSINESS ART November 2009 | E-mail: | Member of the Global Art Information Group

A Dream come true: Circa is a Mark Read’s dream project on the corner of Jan Smuts and Jellicoe Road, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Photo: Tristan McLaren

Johannesburg ablaze with new creativity Alex Dodd looks into the new and exciting creative flames Johannesburg has to offer SA Yesterday I had the luck of arriving at the corner of Jan Smuts and Jellicoe Road just in time for the unfolding of a small historic moment. Two men were climbing up the huge metal grid wall opposite Circa gallery that, in a matter of months, will be covered in lush green foliage. A few steps down from Everard Read Gallery, Circa is a Mark Read’s dream project. This extraordinary oval-shaped building has been designed by architect Pierre Swanepoel of Studio MAS Architects & Urban Design to host exhibitions and events that will both fascinate and educate. Read intends for it to be a space ‘where contemporary art will show alongside rare cultural curiosities, where ancient fossils will interface with modern biodiversity, and where green technology will co-exist with a piece of the moon.’

The site was abuzz with eleventh-hour activity in the runup to next week’s grand opening, with construction workers putting the final touches on Speke, the downstairs shop (a joint venture between Read and Mark Valentine from Amatuli Fine Art), which will feature a selection of iconic artefacts. Artworks by Karel Nel and Willem Boshoff were being unpacked in preparation for the inaugural exhibition, entitled Penelope and the Cosmos. And outside two brave men were scaling up the wall with a huge banner rolled up under their arms. When the men got to the top, those looking on collectively inhaled for one fleeting moment, before the banner unfurled down the length of the wall, grabbing the attention of drivers passing by on Jan Smuts. And there it was: the graphic announcing the first exhibition to be taking place in this dazzling new addition to Johannesburg’s cultural landscape. Afterwards I took a slow spiral-

ing meander around the outside of the building upwards to the top floor, which houses the Darwin Room, a plush private lounge likely to develop a bit of cult status as the space comes into its own. Plushly decorated by Christine Read, this salonstyle retreat complete with lustrous grey silk wallpaper adorned with giant insects and arachnids opens out onto a deck with views that stretch as far as the Magaliesberg. Looking out over Johannesburg from the top floor of Circa, one is filled with a sense of expansiveness that is rare in a city so split up and divided by walls. Another zeitgeist project unfolding in Johannesburg in tandem with Berlin’s 20-year celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 is the Goethe-Institut’s Cracking Walls. One of the most daring aspects of this programme is a visionary collaboration with architect Alex Opper and his students at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art,

Design and Architecture, who were tasked with re-imagining what the Goethe-Institut premises in Parkwood could look like minus the predictable foreboding perimeter wall. An exhibition called Fallwall, currently showing inside the Goethe-Institut, showcases the alternative solutions dreamed up by the students as well as the winning design, which could actually come into effect, replacing the wall with a much more peaceful, inviting parklike atmosphere that renders the building way more open to the public. In a city as violent and crimeridden as Johannesburg, the intentions of some individuals who comprise that ‘public’ aren’t always as filled with peace and love as we might wish them to be, but somehow one dreams of an initiative such as this one setting a daring new precedent in openness in a city that is too strongly governed by defensiveness and fear. Another compelling aspect of

the Cracking Walls programme is Exceeding the Limits: Art Strategy Against the Establishment – a three-day international conference investigating the way in which the arts visualise and reconsider cultural memory. Participants will include filmmakers Rehad Desai and Brian Tilley, writers Ivan Vladislavic, Fred Khumalo and Antjie Krog, satirist Jonathan Shapiro, composer Philip Miller and others… Paranoia and fear in Johannesburg are at the heart of one of the projects comprising international award-winning photographer Mikhael Subotzky’s current show Two Projects, taking place both at the Goodman Gallery and the Goodman project space at Arts on Main. The new large-scale photographs on exhibition downtown are a continuation of Subotzky’s exploration of ‘crime, social marginalisation, and the public and private institutions of punishment and security’, which he began with his Die Vier Hoeke prison series, continued with

Umjiegwana (The Outside), which documented the lives of ex-prisoners, and extended into Beaufort West, an exploration of a community mired in extreme poverty. In this new series Subotzky explores aspects of security in contemporary society. His lens brings us back into touch with the mind-bogglingly absurd aspects of our monitored, walled and guarded lives to which we generally inure ourselves to keep on surviving and staying upbeat about life in gangster’s paradise. But when the anaesthetic cocoon is punctured, you can’t help longing for a society defined by a stronger civic commitment to openness – spatial openness, philosophical openness, political openness. There is so much we in this city can still learn from the world-changing events of 1989. Do we have the courage to bring down our walls? Let them fall to rubble.

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November 2009

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Art Leader

Michelle Constant was made more pressing by the international recession. It was, perhaps, also influenced by the simple handing over of the reins from Nicola Danby, who had run BASA since its inception 11 years before.

By Michael Coulson August 2008. The now notorious Damien Hirst sale is about to mark the apogee of the international art market, but the almost simultaneous collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers will signal the end of booms in many markets, not just art. It’s not a great time to take over the leadership of a body dedicated to promoting business’s support of the arts but, just over a year later, Michelle Constant, who succeeded Nicola Danby as CEO of Business & Arts SA (BASA) on August 1 2008, doesn’t regret it. “I have no regrets,” she says, “because it has opened my mind to so many extraordinary things. I had to draw deep into my own creativity, but I’m always my own hardest taskmaster, as well as being demanding of my team. “My biggest surprise has been how diversely interesting the project is. I’ve spent a year learning on many different levels.” While she always expected fundraising to be a key function, she hadn’t expected the need to explore different models, which

“Nicola did a fantastic job building BASA up, with limited resources – indeed, they were almost synonymous. But the organisation had reached a stage where it should no longer be so closely identified with one individual. My biggest initial challenge was an internal reorganisation, which we implemented with the advice of a human relations consultant and the support of everybody concerned. “In spite of all the distractions, we’ve got through the internal restructuring, received an unqualified audit, continued with the BSA awards for business sponsorship of the arts, helped some great projects, and even seen some growth in membership.” In fact, BASA’s latest annual report, for the year to March 31, which is admittedly before Constant took over, showed a 15% increase in membership, to about 160. The financial position was healthy, with membership fees up from R636 000 to R731 000, though the biggest sources of income remain grants from Barloworld Artworks, at R5.2m (2008: R4.9m) and the Department of Arts & Culture, at R1.7m (R1.3m). But BASA was already anticipating harder times. Grants made fell from R3.8m to R3.7m and, after other items of income and expenditure, the surplus for the year rose from R99 000

to R620 000, as reflected in a cash balance up from R1/1m to R1.9m. This may all reflect decisions taken before Constant arrived, but she clearly endorses the approach, which was taken at board level with a view to both world recession and concern at the funding model and has been justified by eventsd. She concedes that some corporates have dropped out this year, and agrees that art, as a minority interest, is always a soft option for companies seeking to cut back on sponsorship spending, rather than higher profile areas like sport. Constant points out that not only is the corporate largess that characterised BASA’s early years waning, the 2010 soccer World Cup is also draining funds away from arts sponsorship. Government priorities have also changed, post-Polokwane. Hence the need for a new funding model, not only for BASA but for other similar organisations. Just what it should be may not be clear -- “It’s a fascinating challenge,” says Constant, “and I wish I could study full-time for an MBA, t understand the issues better” -- but it’s likely to entail less dependance on the state. On the other side of the scale, she believes it’s necessary to assess the benefits that BASA’s funders – whether in the private of public sector – derive. Do they think they’re getting value for money? After all, a key objective of BASA has always been to persuade corporates that arts sponsorship is not just a charitable donation, but does

bring a return. The publicity generated by the recognition accorded by the annual award ceremony is one facet of this, but the awards also take into account the tangible benefits for the arts community and society at large. Partnership is a buzz word, and Constant cites the initiation of “Best Case” seminars for members, offering examples of and future opportunities for profitable partnerships. The first focused on the lessons of the recent Jo’burg Art Fair; another has explored opportunities around the World Cup. Given the inevitable competition between arts and sport for sponsorship, an interesting development she mentions in her annual review is the addition of the KZN Sharks to the membership base. Both BASA and local Durban theatre productions are now promoted in the Sharks’ programmes and in adverts at entries to stands. She sees this as a model for co-operation between sport and the arts. This may seem a small step, but is indicative of the lateral thinking that will be needed if the notoriously underfunded arts sector is to sustain its present creativity. The shenanigans at the SABC – where Constant previously worked, and still presents a weekend lifestyle programme – illustrate just how risky a business the arts can be. BASA can’t plug the gaps on its own, but its role is vital. In Constant it seems, on the evidence of her first year, to have an ideal leader to build on its past successes and, even more importantly, adapt to a changing and ever more demanding environment.

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Gauteng Johannesburg Afronova 23 Oct-21 Nov, A series of travels, paintings by Karl Gietl. Safe Parking- corner of Miriam Makeba and Gwigwi Mrwebi St, Newton C. 083 726 5906 Alliance Francaise of Johannesburg Gallery Gerard Sekoto 24 Nov-5 Dec, Messages from Hillbrow, works by Boitumelo Project. 17 Lower Park Drive Cnr Kerry Road, Parkview- opp. Zoo Lake T.011 646 1169

Brodie/Stevenson 15 Oct-7 Nov, Sidestep, works by Simon Gush. 12 Nov-15 Dec, works by Anton Kannemeyer. 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034,

David Brown Fine Art 12 Nov-11 Dec, Back from Brussels, works by Suzy Davidson. 39 Keyes Ave, off Jellicoe, Rosebank, Johannesburg T. 011 788 4435

Goethe Institute 8 Oct-6 Nov, Borders- in collaboration with the Market Photo Workshop has invited six young photographers to explore the theme, borders. Aspects such as inclusion, exclusion, fragmentation, marginalization and segregation are interrogated from the perspective of young people who, 15 years after the birth of democracy in South Africa, consider a life beyond walls. 119 Jan Smuts Ave, Entrance on New Port Road, Parkwood T. 011 4423232

David Krut Projects 29 Oct-25 Nov, Crossing, works by Virginia MacKenny. 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627

Goodman Gallery 29 0ct-21 Nov, Works by Mikhael Subotzky. 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 788 1113

Everard Read Gallery JHB 22 Oct-8 Nov, mixed media by Vusi Khumalo 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg T. 011 788 4805

GordArt Gallery 31 Oct-21 Nov, 123blokmyself!, works by Ronél de Jager. Shop 1 Parkwood Mansions, 144 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, T/F 011 880 5928

CIRCA on Jellico From 7 Nov, Penelope and the Cosmos, works by Willem Boshoff and Karel Nel. 2 Jellicoe Avenue T. 011 788 4805

Artist’s Proof Studio 27 Oct-21 Nov, Out of the Rabbit Hole, an exhibition of mixed media paintings, monotypes and multiple prints by Toni-Ann Ballenden. Inside the Bus Factory, 3 President Street, Newton) T. 011 492 1278 Art on Paper From 3 Nov, watercolour works by Robert Hodgins. From 21 Nov, mixed media by Sanel Aggenbach. 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf (Milpark), T. 011 726 2234 Artspace-JHB 24 Oct-7 Nov, Nomadixx, by Sinta Spector, works created out of recycled, reinvented textiles, feathers, buttons, and found objects. 19 Sep-7 Nov, Artspace Mentorship Programme Exhibition Month, with works by Louis Oliver, Senzo Nhlapo and Sinta SpecArt times 260x165 copy.pdf tor. 11 Nov-2 Dec, works by

Gallery on the Square 4-21 Nov, The 50’s- An Interpretation, works by Phillemon Hlungwani, David Koloane, Nelson Makamo, Colbert Mashile, Pat Mautloa, David Mbele, Sam Nhlengethwa and Jurgen Schadeberg. 32 Maude Street, Nelson Mandela Square at Sandton City, Sandton, Johannesburg. T. 011 784 2847

Kim Gurney. Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 880 8802


Gallery MOMO 8 0ct-2 Nov, Murder on 7th, visual artwork by Gabrielle Goliath. 5-30 Nov, Mine over Matter, works by Usha Seejarim. 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, T. 011 327 3247 2009/10/23 9:32 AM

Graham Fine Art Gallery 1 Oct-1 Nov, A South African Dreamscape: The Discovery of an Internal Terrain, paintings by André van Vuuren. Shop 31, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Valley & Cedar Roads Fourways, Johannesburg

T.011 465 9192 Johannesburg Art Gallery 26 Oct-1 Nov, An exhibition with works by Vik Muniz, Stephen Shore and Janaina Tschape. From 1 Nov, 1mile2 , a three year global arts programme that asks communities to map the biodiversity, cultural diversity, and aesthetic diversity of their local neighbourhood, working in collaboration with artists and ecologists. King George Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3130 Email: Market Photo Workshop 8 Oct-6 Nov, Borders- six young photographers explore the theme, borders. Aspects such as inclusion, exclusion, fragmentation, marginalization and segregation are interrogated from the perspective of young people who, 15 years after the birth of democracy in South Africa, consider a life beyond walls.T. 011 834 1444 Museum Africa 25 May-24 Dec 2010, l’Afrique: A Tribute to Maria Stein-Lessing and Leopold Spiegel; co-curated by Nessa Leibhammer and Natalie Knight. 121 Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg T. 011 833 5624 Obert Contemporary at Melrosearch 1-20 Nov, Untitled, mixed media works on canvas by Pierre Mathieu 14 The High Street, Melrose Arch T. 011 684 1214

BUSINESSART Resolution Gallery Until 8 Nov, Pigment on paper, works by Sam Nhlengethwa. 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 880 4054 Rooke Gallery 17 Sep-1 Dec, The Unseen Works, a rare collection of unseen works by two respective iconic artists, Mark Kannemeyer: The Berlin paintings, and Roger Ballen: The vintage photographs By Appointment, The Newtown, 37 Quinn Street Newtown Johannesburg T. 072 658 0762 Sally Thompson Gallery 8 Nov-12 Dec, Unveiling Soul Masks, photography by Bob Cnoops. Opening address by Judith Mason. 78 Third Avenue, Melville, T. 011 482 9719 Seippel Gallery Until 12 Dec, Enter Exit, photography exhibition by Pierre Crocquet. 1 Oct-12 Dec, Revision, photography by Cedric Nunn (in the Bailey Seippel Gallery). Corner of Fox and Berea, Johannesburg T. 011 401 1421 Standard Bank Gallery 14 Oct-5 Dec, Africa, the Sun and Shadows, paintings by Alexis Preller. Cnr. Simmonds & Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, 2001 T. 011 631 1889 University of Johannesburg Art Gallery Until 25 Nov, ROOFTOP, various sculptures by 21 of the most brilliant South African sculptors, including

November 2009

Angus Taylor, Guy du Toit, Wilma Cruise, Goodness Nhlengethwa, Johan Moolman, Lukas Thobejane, Usha Seejarim, Guy du Toit, Richard Forbes, Paul Boulitreau and Gordon Froud. University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Kingsway campus cnr. Kingsway and Universiteits Rd, Auckland Park T. 011 559 2099/2556


Alette Wessels Kunskamer Exhibition of Old Masters and selected leading contemporary artists. Maroelana Centre, Maroelana. GPS : S25º 46.748 EO28º 15.615 T. 012 346 0728 C. 084 589 0711 Fried Contemporary Art Gallery 3 Oct-15 Nov, In From above and beyond, notions of perspective and viewpoint are explored in themes of space and place with works by Marlise Keith, Elfriede Dreyer and Eric Duplan. 430 Charles Str, Brooklyn, Pretoria T. 012 346 0158 Magpie Gallery 17 Oct-18 Nov, Tale of a Magpie, works by various artists. Shop 21B, Southdowns Shopping Centre, Centurion T. 012 665 1832 Platform on 18th 2-21 Nov, Photo School Exhibition- Tshwane University of Technology. 232 18th Street, Rietondale, Pretoria T. 084 764 4258

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BUSINESSART November 2009

Squeeze on Johannesburg art galleries intensifies

Pretoria Art Museum Until 1 Dec, A selection of artworks tells a brief story of South African art from the time of the first San artists, includes early 20th century painters, Resistance artists and artists of the 21st century. Also on show until Dec, the Corobrik Collection, showcasing the development of ceramics in South Africa in the past thirty years. T.012 344 1807/8

By Michael Coulson Tough economic conditions continue to take their toll on the gallery world. The latest and one of the most regrettable – but almost certainly not the last -- casualty is Gordon Froud’s gordart, one of the clutch of galleries on Jo’burg’s Parkwood artstrip.

Pretoria Association of Arts 16 Oct-4 Nov, Works by André Naudé. 173 Mackie Street, New Muckleneuk, Pretoria, 0181, T. 012 346 3100 UNISA Art Gallery Until 27 Nov, Works by UNISA students. Theo van Wijk Building, Goldfields entrance, 5th floor. Unisa Campus, Pretoria T.012 429 6823

Brad Grey- Zebra goes large, e-mail entry

Free State Bloemfontein Oliewenhuis Art Museum 21 Oct-10 Jan 2010, David Goldblatt: photography; Some Afrikaners Revisited (Main Building). 29 Oct-19 Nov, Fractal young artist’s Exhibition (the Reservoir). 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein T. 051 447 9609

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Be sure not to miss Virginia MacKenny at David Krut

When I interviewed Froud in January for an article in our Art Leaders series, he said he thought his market niche, concentrating on emerging and relatively low-priced artists, was holding up relatively well. However, he now tells me there has been a “sudden and drastic” deterioration in recent months, and that he’s only sold a couple of works in each of his past three or four shows. The obvious retort to this is that maybe there was a problem with quality -- though in fairness I hadn’t noticed one. Froud concedes that quality is always an issue, but points out that, for example, Craig Smith virtually sold out his previous exhibition, but while the same people came to his latest show,

which he feels was of comparable quality, they didn’t buy. Whatever the reason, Froud has run up substantial and unsustainable losses, and has had to restructure his business for the remaining two years of his three-year lease. He’s committed to exhibitions until the end of January, but then the gallery will close and the space will be rebranded as art-icle showcase. It will operate along similar lines to Upstairs at Bamboo, available for hire by artists or anybody else who wants a short-term exhibition or event space. Rent will be R6 000 a week, which, Froud says, will actually work out cheaper for any artist who sells at least two or three works. It’s exactly six years since gordart opened in Melville, at the first of its three venues. Since then, it’s probably given more exposure to up-and-coming artists than any other venue in Jo’burg, if not the whole of SA, and its loss will be keenly felt. Still, Froud will be keeping his office at art-icle show-

case, as a base for his busy life as curator and general promoter of the arts, to say nothing of his own creative activities, in much the same way as Warren Siebrits has operated since he closed his Parkwood venue up the road. Nor are changes in the gallery world restricted to Jo’burg. It’s understood that Elfriede Dreyer, whose Fried Contemporary has for some years arguably been Pretoria’s most cutting-edge gallery, and is the last survivor of what was once a clutch of galleries along that city’s lengthy Charles Street, is also considering restructuring. Just what this may entail is not clear, and Dreyer could not be contacted for the preparation of this article. Rumour is that she may hold fewer but longer shows or explore other uses for the space, and it may also be that she wants to devote more time to her activities at the University of Pretoria where, as a respected art historian, she holds an associate chair in the department of visual arts.

Send your listings to: By the 15th of each month

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, Hillbrow View, Ponte City, Johannesburg, 2008. Goodman Gallery Jhb

Unusual Talent: Ronel de Jager at Gordart, Johannesburg

Jan van der Merwe

Esme Berman in a contemplative mood following her 80th birthday earlier this year. Esme who together with Karl Nel have recently brought out their book on Preller. The book launch also coincides with Preller’s show at The Standard Bank Gallery entitled: ‘Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows’ at the Standard Bank Gallery until 5 December 2009.For the book see:

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BUSINESSART November 2009

Recomended: “Glimpeses of the past”: Artwork by Charles Davidson Bell (1813 - 1882) Solomon Caesar Malan (1822- 1894) at Sasol Art Museum 52 Rynveld, Stellenbosch. Closes 30 Jan 2010

Eastern Cape

Western Cape

East London

Cape Town

Ann Bryant Art Gallery 3-10 Nov, Walter Sisiulu University: B-Tech Exhibition, mixed media works by various (Main Gallery). 26 Nov-12 Dec, East London Fine Art Society Annual Exhibition (Main Gallery). 29 Oct-14 Nov, solo exhibition with oil on canvas and fabric print on fabric by Samuel Mcebisi Gabula (Coach House Café). 19 Nov-5 Dec, solo exhibition with oil on canvas by Chanelle Staude (Coach House Café). 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London T. 043 722 4044

Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum 15 Aug-25 Nov, Poking Fun, works from the Art Museum’s permanent collection exploring humour, biting commentary and satire. 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth T. 041 506 2000

Northern Cape Kimberley William Humphreys Art Gallery From Nov 1, A number of exhibitions from the permanent collection will be on display. These include a selection of new acquisitions of contemporary SA Artists. Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent, Kimberley T. 053 831 1724

Japanese artist Takashi Murakami at 34Long,

34 Long 20 Oct-21 Nov, ‘editions limited’, a new selection of portraits (downstairs) and other works by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami (upstairs). 34 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 426 4594

Alliance Française 13 Oct-3 Nov, A Truth in Black and White, works by Ezra Mabengeza and Jonathan Freemantle. 155 Loop Street, Cape Town. T. 021 4235699 Art B Gallery 3-25 Nov, UNISA senior students visual exhibition, installations by Hanja Badenhorst, Lara Carlini, Agnes Heinz, Stasa Hlava, Tamar Marais, Melany Pieterson, Sarah Siblay and Yolanda Warnich. Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville T. 021 918 2301, Association for Visual Arts (AVA) 19 Oct-6 Nov, ‘Exquisite Corpse’, 16 etchings by various artists on the theme of Adam and Eve. Also on exhibition is ‘Crossing Roads’ with acrylic and mixed media work by Geoffrey Phiri. 9-27 Nov, Tombola Exhibition-a fundraising event for the Artreach fund at the AVA. From 9 Nov, Ticking, a collection of artist created clocks. All clocks will be auctioned with full proceeds going towards the AVA Artreach Fund. 35 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 424 7436 Atlantic Art Gallery A permanent display showcasing leading contemporary South African artists. 25 Wale Street Cape Town, T. 021 423 5775 Blank Projects 5-27 Nov, End of Cities, works by Stephen Hobbs. 113-115 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock T.072 1989 221

Cape Gallery 1-28 Nov, Oil paintings by Lesley Charnock. 60 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 423 5309 Carbonage 14 Oct-11 Nov, ‘Carbonage’ is an attempt to make sense of a fragmented, contradictory and media-saturated world. The installations are designed to overwhelm the viewer creating a feeling of shock and awe. The title ‘Carbonage’ refers to the fusion of carbon-based life forms with the world of CocaCola and their kin. 4th Floor, Harrington House, 37 Barrack Street, Cape Town T.021 959 3021 Christopher MǾller Art Dealers in South African contemporary art and South African masters. 82 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 439 3517 www.christophermollerart. Erdmann Contemporary /Photographers Gallery 31 Oct-5 Dec, While you were sleeping, includes large paintings, original works on paper, monotypes and lithographs by Karlien de Villiers. 63 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town T. 021 422 2762 www.erdmanncontemporary. Everard Read Gallery Cape Town 5-19 Nov, An exhibition of new works by sculptor Florian Wozniak. 3 Portswood Rd, V&A Waterfront T. 021 418 4527 www.everard-read-capetown. Exposure Gallery From 12 Nov, Carnal Carnival, a group photography exhibition curated by Leah Hawker. The Old Biscuit Mill, 373 Albert Road, Woodstock T. 021 447 4124 Focus Contemporary, Fine Young Art 17 Oct-6 Nov, Cast in Africa, a collaborative sculpture show by some of Cape Town’s finest young talent, including works by Ian Cattanach, Strijdom van der Merwe and Nicolas WellsBladen. 7-27 Nov, Calculated

Dissolution, paintings by Chad Barber. 28 Nov-15 Jan 2010, African origami, works by Karin Miller. 2 Long Street Cape Town T. 021 419 8888, Gallery F Contemporary and archival South African Art. 221 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 422 5246 Goodman Gallery, Cape 15 Oct-7 Nov, Ficciones, the first photographic solo show in South Africa by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. Ficciones centres around two related series of works that extend the artists’ pre-occupation with the role of representation in places of trauma and conflict. 3rd Floor, Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, T. 021 462 7573/4, Greatmore Art Studios 29 Oct-13 Nov, Zimbabwean Prints, by Triangle Friends. Artists featured include, Jonadi Marembe, James Jali, Chikonzero Chazunguza, Gareth Nyandoro, Munyaradzi Mazarire, Togara Nyakapanga, Doris Kampira, Prosper Mutukura, Portia Zvavahera, Fungai Mwale, Semina Mpofu, and Virginia Chihota. 47-49 Greatmore St, Woodstock, T. 021 447 9699 iArt Gallery 22 Oct-4 Nov, XI-Eleven Solo Exhibitions, including works by Matthew Hindley, Eris Silke, Louis Jansen van Vuuren, Clare Menck, Colbert Mashile, Jan du Toit, Michele Davidson, Audrey Anderson, Gerald Tabata, Sandra Hanekom and Theo Kleynhans. 11-25 Nov, In the Flesh, paintings by Thomasin Dewhurst and bronze sculptures by Cobus Haupt. 11 Nov-9 Dec, ‘Cocks, asses, &…’ mixed media works by Wilma Cruise. 71 Loop Street, T. 021 424 5150 Irma Stern Museum 27 Oct-7 Nov, Duende, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Cathy Layzell. 2-10 Nov, Tshungulo Wuyisiwa E Mahl-

weni (The Healing Process), drypoint etchings and drawings by Phillemon Hlungwani. Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town T. 021 685 5686 SA National Gallery Strengths and Convictions: The lives and times of South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F.W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela: 26 November – 28 February. The exhibition has been developed by the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo in collaboration with the Iziko South African Museum and Iziko South African National Gallery. The exhibition features some of South Africa’s most significant works of art alongside international artists working in the fields of painting, sculpture, video and photography. At the Iziko South African National Gallery. Not Alone: 9 November to 31 January Not Alone is an international project of Make art/ Stop Aids featuring the work of artists from Brazil, United States, India and South Africa. At The Good Hope Gallery at the Castle of Good Hope with the Keiskamma altarpiece at the Iziko Slave Lodge. South African artists include Clive van den Berg, William Kentridge, Churchill Madikida, Langa Magwa, Penelope Siopis, Gideon Mendel and others. Dada South 12 December – 28 February 2010. Curated by Roger van Wyk and Kathryn Smith, this exhibition draws together works by South African artists dating from the late 1960s to the present alongside original Dada works to highlight the legacy of Dada in relation to Contemporary South African art practice. The Everyday and the Extraordinary. 9 Sep-30 Nov, The Everyday and the Extraordinary, three decades of architectural design by Jo Noero. Government Avenue, Company’s Garden T. 021 467 4660,

João Ferreira Gallery 4 Nov-12 Dec, Registration, works by Brett Murray, Georgina Gatrix, Hentie van der Merwe, Justin Fiske, Liza Grobler, Michael Taylor, Ruan Hoffmann, Sanell Aggenbach and Tom Cullberg. 70 Loop Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 5403 Johans Borman Fine Art Gallery A showcase for the best of SA Masters as well as a selection of leading contemporary artists. In-Fin-Art Building, Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 6075/082 5664631 Kalk Bay Modern From 11 Nov, works by Peter Clarke. 1st Floor, Olympia Buildings, 136 Main Road Kalk Bay. T.021 788 6571 Email: Kunst House 29 Oct-28 Nov, Mono, an exhibition of latest works by London based artist Juli Jana. 62 Kloof Street, Gardens T. 021 422 1255 Michael Stevenson Contemporary 1 Oct-21 Nov, ‘The Street’, sculpture by Meschac Gaba and ‘Subtropicalia’, video, sculpture and a short story by Paul Edmonds. Also on show is ‘Pleased to Meet You’, an installation of paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and ‘Alternative Kidz’, work by Musa Nxumalo. Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town T. 021 462 1500 Raw Vision Gallery 8 Oct-19 Nov, ‘Imago’, Sharlē Matthews new body of work explores idealized images of a person, but usually a parent, formed in childhood that can often persist unconsciously into adulthood. Also exhibiting is Cecil Byrnes’ ‘Power of men’s clothing’, which explores how men’s clothing is a mighty tool to indicate image, position, status or power. 89 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock


November 2009


Page 07

Warren Editions at Joao Ferreria Gallery with “ Registration”

Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Ficciones, October 15 - November 7,

Rose Korber Powerful new charcoal and pastel drawings by Richard Smith, as well as recent works on paper by William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Ryan Arenson. 48 Sedgemoor Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town T. 021 438 9152 Email: Rust-en-Vrede 20 Oct-10 Nov, Exhibition includes works by Vasti Wilkinson, Lionel Smit and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren. 10 Wellington Road, Durbanville T. 021 976 4691 Salon91 Contemporary 14 Oct-2 Nov, ‘On The Unconscious & The Uncanny’, multimedia works by Wessel Snyman and Larita Engelbrecht. 4-28 Nov, Lucky Packet, works by Frank van Reenen. 91 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town 021 424 6930 South African Museum 25 Jul-Mar 2010, Subtle Thresholds, the representational taxonomies of disease, a mixed media show curated by Fritha Langerman. 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town T. 021 481 3800 South Gallery Showcasing creativity from Kwazulu-Natal including Ardmore Ceramic Art. Fairweather House, 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, Ground Floor. T. 021 465 4672 The South African Print Gallery From Nov, Katheryn Bull “ Holday in Cape Town” perspex relief prints series 10 Dec-10 Jan 2010, New prints by Joshua Miles 107 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, T. 021 462 6851 These Four Walls Fine Art Galley From 13 Nov, Little Karoo Nocturnes, paintings by Paul Birchall. 169 Lower Main Road, Observatory T. 021 447 7393

UCA Gallery 21 Oct-13 Nov, House Ink. an exhibition that takes a look into Jonathan Munnik’s quirkily invented voyeuristic graphic worlds and their incorporation into 3D installation. 46 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town T. 021 447 4132, What if the World… 1 Oct-21 Nov, Solo exhibition by painter Andrzej Nowicki. First floor, 208 Albert Road Woodstock T. 021 448 1438 Worldart 5-19 Nov, Colours in dialogue, oil paintings by Giovanna Biallo. 54 Church Street Cape Town CBD T. 021 423 3075


Galerie L’ Art A permanent exhibition of old masters. Shop no 3, The Ivy, Krugerstreet, Franschoek T. 021 876 2497 Gallery Grande Provence 11 Oct-11 Nov, an exhibition of recent paintings by Jenny Groenewald, with bronze sculptures by Angus Taylor, Anton Momberg and Jupiter Studios. Main Road Franschoek T. 021 876 8600

George Strydom Gallery From 21 Nov, George 41, Strydom Gallery’s 41st summer exhibition of South African art-a cross-section of selected works. The exhibition will be opened by Jan Coetzee, professor of sociology at Rhodes University. 79 Market Street, George T. 044 874 4027


ArtKaroo Gallery 29 Oct-12 Nov, Thijs Nel Solo Exhibition. 107 Baron van Reede Str, Oudtshoorn T. 044 279 1093

Paarl Hout Street Gallery Specialists in South African Fine Art. The Gallery also offers a range of ceramics, creative jewellery, glass, crafts and functional art. 270 Main Street, Paarl T.021 872 5053 Off the Wall Contemporary 18 Nov-31 Jan 2010, Annual Artwork Sale. 171 Main Road, Paarl T. 021 872 8648 info@ www.offthewallcontemporary. com

Stellenbosch Dorp Straat Gallery 31 Oct-27 Nov, Red, Yellow Green Blue and the Karoo, paintings by Judy Bumstead and John de Smidt. Church Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 2256

Glen Carlou Estate From 3 0ct, on exhibition is The Hess Art Collection, including works by Deryck Healey, Ouattara Watts and Andy Goldsworthy. Simondium Road, Klapmuts T. 021 875 5314 Red Black and White 5-30 Nov, Woman, photographs taken by Chris Jansen between 1969 and 1978. 5a Distillery Road, Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch. T. 021 886 6281 Rupert Museum From 3 Oct, The Rodin Exhibition, bronze sculptures; permanent collection of 20th Century South African Art. Stellentia Ave, T. 021 888 3344 Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch University 4 Nov-30 Jan 2010, Glimpses from the Past, works by Charles Davidson Bell (18131882) and Solomon Caesar Malan (1812-1894). 52 Ryneveld St, Stellenbosch T. 021 808 3691

SMAC Art Gallery 3 Oct-30 Nov, paintings and photographic installations by Anton Karstel, portraits by Nel Erasmus and performances by Barend de Wet and Tracey Rose De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 3607 Spier Wine Estate 30 Oct-15 Nov, End Conscription Campaign: 25th Anniversary Celebration. Mixed media works by various artists, including; Jane Alexander, Jenny Altshuler, Conrad Botes, Stuart Bird, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, Sam Nhlengethwa, Penny Siopis, Paul Weinberg, Jill Trappler, Guy Tillim and Sfiso Ka Mkame, etc. R310, Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch www.ecc25org 072 207 0401

From “Glimpeses of the past” South - Easter, Charles Davidson Bell (1813 - 1882) at Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch

Work by Gregg Brill, Focus Gallery, Cape Town

Art at Tokara 1 Sep-13 Nov, Tokara Winery has launched its fourth annual Wine Made Art series, featuring 28 works by young women artists from the Cape. R310 on the Crest of Helshoogte Pass T. 021 808 5900


Work from Angels exhibition Dorpstraat Gallery, Stellenbosch

Knysna Fine Art 3-20 Nov, RIFT (Portraits of Ethiopia), black and white photography by Glen Green. 8 Grey Street Knysna, T.044 382 5107

Hermanus Abalone Gallery 2-28 Nov, Inspired by Africa, works by Hannes Harrs, Tadeus Jaroszynski, Dirk Meerkotter, Cecil Skotnes and Pippa Skotnes. 2 Harbour Rd, The Courtyard, Hermanus. T. 028 313 2935 Philip Harper Galleries Specialising in South African old masters and select contemporary artists. Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Rod, Hermanus T. 028 312 4836 www.philipharpergalleries.

Jonathan Munnick, Ink House at The UCA Gallery, Cape Town.

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Page 08



November 2009

New Show at The UCA

Melvyn Minnaar The Artful Viewer


The Great Biennale Struggle

The first Cape Town biennale was over ambitious, and wasn’t repeated until it was reinvented as a triennial. A number of these were held in the 1980s and turned out pretty successful. (The process is the blue print, more or less, of the Spier Contemporary. But, unlike now when the first promise - to quote the Spier invitation - is big money and ‘the pool of potential buyers’, the bait and motivation were not financial awards in those days.)

The sad battle about money that landed up in court, and one in which artist-curator Gavin Jantjes will probably bury the last remains of the Cape Africa Platform organisation, can also be read as a metaphor for the Great Cape Town Biennale Struggle.

Nothing about nothing A quick preview of that moment before creativity The show runs at the UCA Gallery, Cape Town This exhibition links together a group of artists – Bronwyn Lace, Greg Streak, Ricky Burnett, Righard Kapp and Trasi Henen – by confronting them with the task of exploring that blank and pure space that exists in the mind of an artist before creating – and asking them to generate works from nothing. No|thing looks at works without frills, without things, with nothing added that is unintentional; the unencumbered space and purity of meaning. It is a reaction against the spaces that we occupy that are almost always filled up with meaningless and superfluous things. BRONWYN LACE will exhibit an installation ‘Anemophilous’ - the Latin term for wind pollination which literally means ‘wind loving’. She will suspend roughly 2000 Dandelion type seeds that have been hand constructed and attached to a wire frame, in a formation which resembles seeds being blown in the wind and dispersed through space. GREG STREAK will exhibit works that engage in dialogue about the negation of emotion and engagement. His works are in a monotone colour-scheme of silver, grey and white, all of which “are about nothing- but naturally about something … bleached of emotion....” RICKY BURNETT presents works on paper that expose the nude spaces of the page, letting run across it a streaming of consciousness in a series of marks, scribblings and

gestures. His distinctive style that defiantly side steps the demands of the pictorial space allows a highly evocative and deceptive naivety occupy what is essentially a blank page, a place of personal space. RIGHARD KAPP produces sound generated from no-input sound - an intuitive improvisational process that results in complex and sublime soundscapes. Kapp will perform on the opening night between the visual mass and clutter of the no|thing surrounding him. Simultaneously evading and defining boundaries the between art and music. Kapp’s sound installation will be recorded and replayed during the course of the exhibition. TRASI HENEN explores the empty spaces left behind by something or someone that is missing; the relationships that stil exist between that which is there and that which is not. Henen is seduced by liminal spaces and re-interprets things that are waiting to become something. In turn Henen’s seductive paintings are ambiguously analyttically technical and dryly sensual. A space can be filed with nothing or cluttered to the brim with nothing at all. These five artists look at the concept of nothing and have interpreted and incorporated it into their own personalised meanings and works. Merging their results together this exhibition will show the structures left behind and reveal empty spaces in works.

Money and art make bad bedfellows (and bad friends, it seems), but having been forced into this partnership by the prevailing power grip that capitalism has over culture, the only option is to find a workable way of doing things - like arranging biennales (or whatever you want to call it) in an innovative way. In other words, rethink the stratagem in which money (and to that Don Quixote, its Sancho Panza: celebrity and fame) determines everything, and is regarded as the be-all and end-all. This has been an international year of biennales: the tired old aunty in Venice (shuffling to conclusion this month), the ‘alternativist’ Havana (which always invites a few well-connected locals), the new-ish bling-bling one in Moscow (where the ultra rich went to play with rich, celebrityartists), the down-to-earth Istanbul (wonderfully vibey in a genuine way with its Brechtian-inspiration), and even our own mini-me earlier this year, in the form of the averagely successful, if original, Cape 09 (the non-biennale biennale, which Capetonians hardly got to know about or noticed). This year, interestingly enough, it is also 30 years ago that the first Cape Town Biennale took place. Housed at the SA National Gallery and the then SA Association of Arts (Western Cape), the effort to mount a local showcase of contemporary art, is one for the history books. (Not that art history is held up in high regard around here. The year 1979 was also when that clever professor, the late Neville Dubow, spearheaded the famous conference The State of the Art in South Africa. At that critical time, during the darkest of years in the country, a cultural boycott in place, Dubow and his co-organisers were moved to ask serious questions about what art and artists do in terrible times. Sadly, UCT’s Michaelis crowd let slipped the opportunity to revisit the same serious questions this year. An anniversary conference would have been a welcome and apt way to have honoured the great

What was important from those efforts three decades ago, starting with the first, was the support and co-operation of the artists. When fired up, art happens. If Jantjes gets his way (who recalls the hubristic, completely unrealistic announcements of his original grand project?), Cape 09 was probably the last local effort for a biennale of sorts. There is simply no money for this kind of thing it seems. Or so they complain. Before anything in the Great Cape Town Biennale Struggle gets under way, there is always the ‘Budget’. Yet, perhaps some thinking outside of this is needed. We saw an astounding surge of creativity earlier the year in the truly original work produced for Cape 09 - even though sadly a lot outside of the Capetonian eye. Very few of those projects had large budgets. There simply wasn’t money, but there were enthusiasm, invention and support. It is quite clear that South Africa’s official culture-supporters - from the local city council to the useless NAC and DAC - have very little interest in the visual and related arts. And they simply cannot see, despite what all those grand biennales overseas prove, investing in the sponsorship of large-scale public art events, has economic spin-offs. (Hallo and goodbye, 2010 world-cup visitors. We’ve nothing to show you.) So what’s to be done? Who will take the lead? Three decades ago, under horrible circumstances, artists and those supporting them - like the SANG and SA Association of Art - got together and decided to go out and do it. Perhaps the Great Cape Town Biennale Struggle should again start from low down, from with-in the ranks.

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Art Show in KZ Natal Durban Artisan Contemporary 4 Nov-5 Dec, Horses Unleashed. 344 Florida Rd, Morningside, T. 031 312 4364

Peter Machen The Evidence Before Us I have spoken before about how I experience art – and creative expression in general – on a continuum in which film, dance, music, fine art and the most engaging moments of day-to-day reality are indistinguisable from one another in an emotional sense. The finest works of expression – and that might even include a spectacular herb garden, a carefully constructed meal or a particularly exquisitely engineered section of freeway – induce in the audience (er, that would be me) a feeling or set of feelings that are independent of the media or discipline from which they arise. And so, a poem may feel like a sculpture, a painting like a movie and a single photographic image as if it were an entire novel. These feelings are different though – although not unrelated – to the feelings that we experience when we encounter extreme – or perhaps ordinary – beauty in umediated nature. The conscious determination of something as art – something to be appreciated, a certain giving, a sharing, no matter what the post-modern conversation – is also a central part of that feeling, which in turn, gives way immediately to torrents of thoughts and even fully formed sentences. And, on occasion, stillness. All of this was swirling around my head just thinking about watching Jay Pather’s ‘Body of Evidence’ which was granted a mere two performances by Durban’s Playhouse, an institution which seems intend

on burying performance in the city with ludicrously short runs which entirely prevent the city’s dinner tables from providing any word of mouth. Although if those diners paid any attention to the country’s cultural pages, they might have had some idea about how unmissable ‘Body of Evidence’ should have been, and indeed was for a small handful of Durbanites. With his latest production, Pather shreds dance and art into a confetti of beauty and joy, terror and pain, which rains down on the audience for more than ninety minutes. The production is all the more impressive for the fact that it has at times the feeling of a cast of thousands and a multimedia spectacular but is in fact was the work of a small company of dancers (the mighty Siwela Sonke with whom Pather has been working for the last decade) and the use of carefully considered lighting and projections courtesy of the rigorously talented fine artist Vaughn Sadie. The input of Sadie, who has become one of Pather’s regular accomplices, was clearly indispensible. There is no doubting Pather’s genius which, combined with his deep humanism, has produced some of the the most powerful artistic output that I’ve seen on any stage or gallery. But of equal importance is the people with whom he chooses to work, from the remarkable and idiosyncratic dance talent that populates his company to the selection of many of this country’s most interesting artistic talent as collaborators. ‘Body of Evidence’ is one of

those performances that you’re unlikely to ask people if they enjoyed. Myself, I was shattered, my first thoughts being the extent to which a director must respect his audience to demand so much of them. I had been unintentionally primed for the production, though, by a New Yorker interview I had read earlier in the day with German director Michael Haneke, who although a compassionate humanist, makes films filled with cold, dark terror. Haneke, suggested film critic Antony Lane, doesn’t make discomforting films to upset his audience but out of respect for them. Pather shuffles beauty and terror, tenderness and absurdity into the same breath, collating centuries of colonialism and imperialism into the deeply human texture of South African life. It is a life in which the visual expression of the self, both atomised and collective, is never far from the centre. Pather takes this pantheon of self-hoods as one of his starting points, and so his various platforms whether they be actual stages, shopping centres, public spaces or galleries, feature a wealth of South African identities that constitute life on the streets of eThekwini but which are seldom reflected in our national or even local media. In Durbantraditional healers walk the same streets as Krishna devotees, Zanzibaris, lawyers complete with the ruffled residue of their archaic court-room dress, and rural women whose migration to the city does not always mean that they succumb to the urban. Although Pather is singularly

a choreographer, he manages to unfurl the very notion of choreography and dance into something that is so extraordinarily inclusive that it never feels like we are watching a dance or even a movie or a poem. In fact, the notion of watching itself becomes transfigured, as we are immersed in Pather’s world that is at once so strange, so real, so much like our own world yet so unrecognisable compared to the mainstream media construction of that world. Finally, I must make recourse again to the same magazine I had been reading that Saturday afternoon whoch contained a piece of brilliance that I’d love to pass off as my own but I’m not that clever. In a book review, Adam Gopnic, writes, “It is a condition of being modern that our double and triple identities look weird from the outside but are the only kinds that feel authentic from the inside. The passionately nationalist Québécois who listens exclusively to Metallica and AC/DC; the Muslim fundamentalist with the satellite dish — from outside, we wonder how they reconcile the contradictions. But they don’t have to reconcile the contradictions in order to cope with reality. The contradictions are themselves the form that a reconciliation with reality takes.” From that perspective, Pather’s larger body of work, and ‘Body of Evidence; in particular, makes perfect sense, as do huge swathes of South African live and creative production - particularly in Durban where we tend to love a bit of a gemors.

Art Space - DBN 26 Oct–14 Nov, ‘Friends’ (Main Gallery), oil paintings by students and friends associated with Maggie Strachan’s Durban studio. Also on show, work by UNISA Students: Apocalypse, photography by Cally Lotz (Middle Gallery), and ‘Looking at the numinous in the Landscape’, a collage of photographs, watercolours and drawings by Anthea Martin (Front Room). 23 Nov-16 Jan 2010, Annual Affordable Art Show 09. 3 Millar Road, Durban. T.031 312 0793 Crouse Art Gallery KZN Art @ it’s Best, works in watercolours, oils and acrylics, by +- 50 artists from the Water Colour Society, Botanical Society and the Highway Art Group. 254 Lillian Ngoyi/Windermere Rd, Morningside T. 083 385 0654 Durban Art Gallery Oct 21-29 Nov, ‘According To Plan-Recent Works by Durban’s City Architects’. Until Dec 2009, Pic(k) Of The DAG, South African works from the gallery’s Permanent Collection. Until Nov 2, Past/Present, works by Andrew Verster. Second Floor, City Hall, Anton Lembede Street, Durban T. 031 311 2268 discover/museums/dag Elizabeth Gordon Gallery A variety of new South African artworks, including paintings by Hugh Mbayiwa, Nora New-

ton and Hussein Salim. 120 Florida Road, Durban T. 031 303 8133 Kizo Art Gallery 20 Nov-10 Dec, “Innovative woman”, various mediums from video, installation, photography, painting and performance art exhibiting works by Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Usha Seejarim, Dineo Bopape, Nontobeko Ntombela, Ernestine White, Ingrid Masondo, Lerato Shadi, Senzeleni Marasela and Bongi Bengu. Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal T. 031 566 4324 KZNSA Gallery 27 Oct-15 Nov, ‘Imprint’, new ceramics by Carla da Cruz. Also on show ‘Joan’s Journey’, an installation by Joan Alkema, and ‘The Reading Room’, artists’ books by Cheryl Penn. 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, T. 031 2023686, Tamasa Gallery 20 Oct-11 Nov, Trees, oils, pastels and charcoal works by acclaimed KwaZulu-Natal artist Pippa Lea Pennington. 36 Overport Drive, Durban T. 031 207 1223


Tatham Art Gallery 27 Oct-14 March 2010, the Schreiner Gallery New Acquisitions Exhibition, including a linoprint by Vuli Nyoni, and a rolling ball sculpture by Zotha Shange. 10-18 Nov, FOTAG Fabulous Picture Show and Auction.9 July-21 Feb 2010, The Heath Family Retrospective Exhibition, mixed media works by the Heath family. Cnr. Of Chief Albert Luthuli (Commercial) Rd. and Church Street (Opposite City Hall) Pietermaritzburg T. 033 342 1804

Page 10

BUSINESSART November 2009

Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993) Boy with a yellow cap

Bertram W. Dumbleton (South African, 1896-1966) A portrait of the artist’s son, David, aged five (tempera)

Bertram W. Dumbleton (South African, 1896-1966) Abdul in Cape Town docks

Who owns history? The issue of the National Estate Jo-Marie Rabe A few weeks ago the second of two annual art auctions dedicated to South African Art were held in London by auctioneering firm, Bonhams. It was their fifth exclusive South African Art sale. “South African art, as proved by previous successful sales at Bonhams, is no longer of purely domestic interest. The continuing strength of the market has produced exceptional record-breaking prices. Such record-breaking prices and worldwide bidding have propelled modern South African art into the front lines of the global art market. Bonhams’ sales of South African art offer a valuable indication of the position of modern South African art internationally” This blurb on the Bonhams website ( says it all. South African art has hit the world, but not everyone is in agreement as to whether this new internationalization is a blessing or a curse. Bonhams is not the only international auction house that has branched out to include SA art. Christies London has held Contemporary and Modern South African Art auctions since December 2007. A lot of people are excited about this turn of events. For South African sellers the allure is obvious. It’s about the money. Both Christies and Bonhams hold price records for many South African art masters. In December 2007 Christie’s sold “Irma Stern’s Congolese Woman R 7,7 million”, their website boasts ( At the most recent Bonhams sale, four lots (lots 1,31,32 and 42) attracted attention for a particular reason. Each came with a special advisory note: “The South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) has declined an export permit for this lot. Therefore it is not subject to VAT on either the hammer price or the buyer’s premium. It is available for viewing at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, RSA. Please contact the department for further information”. The

refusal meant that these four lots could still be sold in London (and were indeed, sold), but that they could not leave South Africa.It is not the first time that export permits had been refused. What is behind the decision to decline the export permits for these works? To start with, the regulation of and control over cross-border movement of antiques and objects of an artistic nature is not a uniquely “South African” issue. It merely forms part of an intricate and complex international debate that has raged for quite some time. In essence, the debate centers around ownership of items of national importance. It concerns the question: “Who really owns cultural property?” In Going Going Gone: Regulating the market in illicit antiquities, Simon Mackenzie, explores this debate and identify the two directly opposing schools of thought underlying this ownership/custodianship debate as the “cultural nationalists” and the “cultural internationalists”. To the cultural nationalists, historical ownership always takes precedence. Based on the nationalist ideals of the 19th Century, they favor a retentionist approach, arguing for total control over all cross-border trade in any cultural property, claiming that “cultural property constitutes one of the basic elements of civilization and national culture, and that its true value can be appreciated only in relation to the fullest possible information regarding is origin, history and traditional setting” (to quote from the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property) ( At the other end of the opinion spectrum the cultural internationalists believe that the free market is the only fair distributor and regulator – even when it comes to cultural property. Based on the 18th century premise of cosmopolitanism (with Diderot’s “that great city, the world” their motto) they maintain that “all consequential

culture becomes international”. To them, the person or institution willing to pay the highest price for an item are more than likely the most suitable for the conservation and care of such an object. In his book Who owns Antiquity, museum director James Cuno argues in favor of these so-called “Encyclopedic” or “International” Museum - institutions like the British Museum, where the cultural property of many different nations and ages are exhibited together to create an international context in which the development of civilizations and the achievement of man can be showcased. In reality, few people, organizations and countries are either fundamentally one or the other. In the majority of cases, each individual situation or object or group of objects will warrant it’s own approach situated somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes: total control versus total freedom of trade. Arguing along the lines of “some things can go and some should stay” all depending on how “important” the object/s are. According to Barbara Hoffmann, editor of Art and Cultural Heritage, as a rule, “source” nations (Egypt, Greece, South America, Africa amongst others) tend to have more stringent regulations and tighter control over exports than the “market” nations (England, America, Canada, the Scandinavian Countries). It is understandable. As a potential source country, the position taken by the South African authorities are one of tight regulation and constant vigil – this mammoth task resting on the shoulders of the South African Resources Heritage Agency (SAHRA). In accordance with The National Heritage Resources Act (No 25 of 1999) (NHRA) - the legislation concerned with the protection and regulation of cultural property - very few items are banned from export, but all items of an artistic nature that has been in South Africa for longer than 50 years or more has to be issued with an export permit before it can leave the country. And yes, that

includes your inheritance in case you decide to emigrate! Notice No 1512 published by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in the Government Gazette Volume 450, No 24116, 6 December 2002, includes a provisional list of the types of Heritage Objects requiring export permits. Point 6 relates to objects of an artistic nature: “South African items of artistic interest (that have been in SA for 50 or more years) including paintings and drawings; original prints, posters and photographs; artistic assemblages and montages; statuary art and sculpture; applied art in glass, ceramics, metal and wood; objects of ritual and symbolic significance and personal adornment”. The list include various other categories; it is vast and generic and contains illusive words like “or of national importance” a number of times. (www.sahra. HeritageObjects.pdf). In this culturally diverse nation of ours, what does “of national importance” mean and who decide what it constitute? Regina Isaacs of the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) explains: “The SAHRA Council appoints the Permit Committee who makes decisions concerning permit applications. Since heritage objects are diverse, advisory panels made up of experts from museums, galleries, relevant organizations, academics, etc. form part of the Advisory Panels who advises the Permit Committee on whether to export or to prohibit export.” The board consists of 17 members. Their identities were not divulged. Why did SAHRA withheld export permits on these four works specifically? Isaacs states that the four artworks are of outstanding significance by reason of its close association with South African history and culture and that being exceptionally fine paintings, it qualify for retention in South Africa on aesthetic grounds. In all four cases she indicates that the

artworks are of a degree of national importance in view of its importance in the study of the arts and that its loss to South Africa would thus diminish the National Heritage. No other reasons were given for the refusal of the export permit for Lot 1 “Adderly Street” by Thomas Bowler. In the case of lot 31, “Portrait of David Dumbleton aged 5” by Bertram Dumbleton, both the artist and the subject matter seem to hold significance to the decision makers. “Although trained in London in the 1930s, Bertram Dumbleton was largely domiciled in the Cape. He was an unusual artist in that he preferred to work most of the time in the time-consuming medium of egg tempera, a painting process seldom used since the Renaissance and eclipsed by the invention of oil paints in the 15th century. Dumbleton’s achievements in this medium are of a unique aesthetic quality seldom seen in SouthAfrican art.” As to the value of the painting itself, the following arguments are offered by Ann Higonnet: “New discourses on images of childhood in art history are now showing us that images of children tell us much more about a society and its historical evolution than previously thought. Such works ought to be paid serious attention to and should not be dismissed as merely sentimental. An image of colonial childhood in South Africa of such quality presents a case for its retention, preferably in a public collection”. For the purpose of academic discourse, does one need direct access to the original work or would a pictorial references (a photographic rendition of any artwork) suffice? one could wonder. Lot 32 “Abdul in Cape Town Docks” by Bertram Dumbleton is indeed and interesting work. “ The portrait shows the sitter at an older age than another tiny child-portrait of him already held by the SA National Gallery. Sympathetic representations of members of the Muslim community in Cape Town are limited in our collections, and this work should, if possible, be acquired by a local

public collection in the Cape. Such a work, for example, would be highly relevant to the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum in Cape Town. It has a close association with the history and the culture of this community” For Lot 42, the painting by Gerard Sekoto “Boy with a yellow cap”, the reasons for a export ban also seems very interesting and valid. “The work pre dates Sekoto’s exile in 1947 and the body of work produced by him in South Africa is of major importance in terms of the history of South African art. The significance of works by Sekoto from this period lies in the fact that they mark the beginnings of an urbanized black visual arts culture as distinct from one based on rural traditions and origins. The adoption of oils on canvas by Sekoto and other artists like George Pemba mark the start of black artists wishing to compete with European artists and tradition on their own terms, using media that were previously not employed in traditional black cultures.” What role does the commercial value play in deciding which pieces are given an export permit? The facts speak for themselves. It seems to play a minor role. Only one of the four works on offer were sold for a sizable sum. Sekoto’s “Boy with a yellow cap” fetched ₤ 102 000 (approximately R12 million). The others were not expensive. The Bowler fetched ₤ 12 000 and the two Dumbletons each fetched ₤ 2400. The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions 2005 Paris, 20 October states that “[...] cultural activities, goods and services have both an economic and a cultural nature, because they convey identities, values and meanings, and must therefore not be treated as solely having commercial value.” Being party to the Convention, this sentiment seems to be a strong guideline for SAHRA. For more information and a copy of an export permit visit

BUSINESSART November 2009

Page 11

Baylon Sandri opening the Anton Karstel exhibition at SMAC

ART|Stellenbosch|09 launches the first successful Contemporary Art Event The weekend of 3 to 4 October, 2009, saw the first successful installment of ART|Stellenbosch – a new annual contemporary art event. The special programme and events put together by galleries, museums and other participating institutions attracted a high number of visitors to Stellenbosch during the weekend. With exceptional exhibitions and activities such as artist demonstrations, walkabouts, artist performances and talks, visitors were presented with an informed selection of contemporary art trends. Some

of the highlights in this year’s progamme included the opening of Nel Erasmus’s exhibition entitled Portraits (1949 – 2009) at the SMAC Space, installation work by local artist Strijdom van der Merwe at Pier Rabe Antiques, Art and Contemporary Design, a poetry reading by veteran artist Peter Clarke and a talk by the newly appointed director of the Iziko South African National Gallery, Riason Naidoo, about a new vision for the National Gallery. The Artist Mbongeni Buthelezi also presented demonstrations on his unique method of working with plastic as an artistic

medium at the SASOL Art Museum. The programme made it permissible for visitors to walk from one venue to another as opening or event times were coordinated. The size of Stellenbosch with all the various venues in walking distance from each other was definitely a contributing factor to the success of the event. Wine and art are always good companions and wine tasting tables in Church Street added to the festivities. In true underground street

style, ART|Stellenbosch also hosted an after dark art party on Saturday night in the derelict Oude Bank building where artist Barend de Wet, under the pseudonym, The Knitting Bull delivered his performance Knit Wit on the topic of “Brei”. Baylon Sandri, owner of the SMAC Art Gallery commented that Art|Stellenbosch was “highly successful and festive in its own right”. Jo-Marie Rabe of Red, Black and White Gallery delight after the event saying that ‘Stellenbosch has everything that it takes to become a major art destination’.

She further commented that “It was a huge success that attracted a whole new crowd of people to the Town. Stellenbosch lends itself towards an event like this. We’re excited about it becoming a bigger and more prominent event in the future”. Mike Donkin of the Dorpstraat Galery is also positive, saying that Art|Stellenbosch was “a fantastic event! [It brought] enormous amounts of interests from people further a field that came, followed the programme and made a day of it.”

its great future potential. ARTIStellenbosch presented a special time for encountering contemporary art and offered an opportunity for visitors, artists and other role-players in the art world to connect and interact. Although the ART|Stellenbosch|09 already includes strong local participation, it aims to expand in future years to draw international participation and audiences. Issued by ART|Stellenbosch administration 13/10/2009

The successful launch of this new initiative demonstrated

Thembinkosi Goniwe and Baylon Sandri

The Dorpstreet Gallery

Dorpstraat Galery opening

OudeBank Exhibition

Antoinette Murdoch opening the Nel Erasmus exhibition at SMAC

opening the Anton Karstel at SMAC

Nel Erasmus Exhibition at SMAC SPACE

Wayne Barker at the OudeBank Exhibition

Pier Rabe Antiques, Art and Contemporary Design

Page 12



Swelco ends auction year on high note

November 2009

Decorative & Fine Arts, Furniture, Silver, Ceramics, Jewellery & Books Location: Johannesburg Sale Dates: Tuesday 17 November, 2009 until Wednesday 18 November, 2009 Auction: 925 Lots in 4 Sessions. Download the catalogue at by Michael Coulson Stephan Welz & Co (Swelco)’s final sale of the year, in Johannesburg on November 17 and 18, will certainly end the year on a high note. It contains within a whisker of 1 000 lots, including almost 320 items of SA art. At the same time, though it has a certain end-ofterm feel to it. The first afternoon session includes the lesser SA art works: 119 in number, there isn’t a single five-digit low estimate and the gross is only R660 000, an average of about R5 550. Even the evening sale, of major works, has no R1m-plus estimates, the highest being R500 000-R800 000 for a Pierneef landscape, followed by R400 000-R600 000 for each of an Irma Stern still life, two Tretchikoffs, and a large William Kentridge drawing. The cover lot, an attractive interior scene by Maurice van Essche, is estimated at a modest R250 000-R350 000. Only 12 lots carry low estimates of R250 000, for other wellknown artists such as Maggie Laubser, Pieter Wenning, Francois Krige, George Pemba and Alexis Preller. There is only the one Stern oil and the one Pierneef, one Maud Sumner oil (a lovely Namibian night scene, est R150 000-R200 000)) and nothing from Stanley Pinker, who has been in strong demand in recent auctions. While there are nine Dorothy Kays, all but one are graphics.

On the other hand there are eight WH Coetzers, which may give an indication of whether there’s a revival in this somewhat overlooked and politically incorrect artist, and the same number by Walter Battiss. And no fewer than 10 Johan Olderts have come out of the woodwork. Also well represented are Gregoire Boonzaaier and Frans Claerhout (seven each) and Gerhard Batha, Errol Boyley, Otto Klar, Braam Kruger and Erich Mayer (six each). The evening sale starts with works donated on behalf of the Friends of the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the alumni of Pretoria University. The former includes 19 works with a total minimum estimate of R106 500 for an average of R5 600 and the latter, boosted by a statue by Angus Taylor (est R40 000-R60 000), 13 works valued at R111 000 for an average of about R8 540. The evening sale proper covers 177 works with a total low gross marginally under R11m, for an average of R62 400. Adding in the charity works, overall the evening session comprises 209 lots, with a total low estimate R11.15m and average just under R53 400, while for all 318 lots the figures are R11.8m and R37 150. By contrast, the house’s recent Cape sale included 317 lots with a combined low estimate of R16m, of which 222 were sold for R14.8m (including buyer’s premium).

Helmut Starcke, Interior with tulips and rino skull, R50 000 – R70 000

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BUSINESSART November 2009


Page 13

Maud Frances Eyston Sumner: Desert scene with full moon. R150 000 to R200 000

Walter Whall Battiss, The Banana Boy, R80 000 – R120 000

Tretchikoff: Zulu Maiden Est. R400 000 – R600 000

(Above) Maurice Charles Louis van Essche, Still life with grinder, tea cup and other items R120 000 to R160 000 (Left) May (Mary Ellen) Hillhouse A landscape with a tree R30 000 to R50 000

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November 2009

Emma Bedford appointed Paintings Specialist at Strauss & Co. testimony to the fact that they care enough about cultural public institutions to volunteer their time. I admire the fact that Strauss & Co and the individuals within it are guided by strong, ethical principles and a sense of responsibility to both the sellers and buyers. In our field, integrity counts as much as expertise in building and maintaining client confidence.”

Emma Bedford Emma Bedford is to join Strauss & Co as Paintings Specialist starting from 1 November 2009. Although she will be based in the Cape Town office, she will liaise on a regular basis between Johannesburg and Cape Town. According to Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co, it is not often that someone of Bedford’s calibre becomes available. Highly regarded both locally and internationally, Bedford played an unequalled role as a Curator at Iziko South African National Gallery and as Director of Goodman Gallery Cape. She is an acknowledged expert in modern and contemporary art with particular reference to South African art, has extensive experience in curating exhibitions and collections management, has written and edited many publications and is a popular public speaker. Says Bedford of her new appointment: “I’ve known and respected Stephan Welz and his colleagues for many years. They are the acknowledged experts in the field of art and antiques. Ann Palmer and Vanessa Phillips both serve on the Council of the Friends of the SA National Gallery, a

During her 25 years at Iziko South African National Gallery Bedford became Senior Curator and Head of Art Collections, where she managed a range of projects and initiatives including exhibitions such as the Marlene Dumas: Intimate Relations (2007 – 2008) and William Kentridge (2002), the artist’s first large-scale survey exhibition to be mounted in South Africa. She also devised Fresh, a series of artists’ residencies and publications on young artists including Berni Searle, Robin Rhode, Tracey Rose and Moshekwa Langa. As Director of Goodman Gallery Cape, which she was headhunted to start in 2007, she curated many of the thematic and group shows and worked closely with artists such as William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Deborah Bell and Mikhael Subotzky in preparing their solo exhibitions. She has developed close relations with most of South Africa’s top artists and several international artists, often assisting in initiating and developing projects. Her reputation is such that she is invited to collaborate on local and international projects including the District Six Public Sculpture Project in 1997 and Authentic/Ex-centric: Africa in and out of Africa at the Venice Biennale in 2001. She

was a Member of the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Centre for Modern Art (CAAM), Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in 2005, was a juror and co-curator of Dak’Art 2004 and served on the selection panel for the Artistic Director of the second Johannesburg Biennale. Bedford has conducted research and is published widely in books, journals, magazines and online publications. She is often invited to present papers at international conferences such as the Congress of the International Association of Art Critics held in Dakar, Senegal in July 2003 and was the only South African curator invited to attend the International Curatorial Workshop at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in March 2005. “This is a new direction for me,” says Bedford, “and one that I’m going to enjoy immensely. It’s no secret that Strauss & Co has become the leading auction house having succeeded in achieving a turnover of more than R100million in its first year of business. It’s a great honour for me to be joining this winning team. I look forward to working closely with Stephan Welz and his colleagues. I had my first taste of the auction business at Strauss & Co’s inaugural Cape Town sale on 8 October. The sheer pleasure of handling examples of South Africa’s most beautiful art, furniture and silver is such a privilege. The excitement of sourcing works rarely seen in the public domain, the research and preparation and the thrill of the auction defy description.”

Irma Stern, portraiit of Carla, which was the cover lot, fetched R5.57m

Stern, Kibel star at Strauss Cape sale By Michael Coulson While new auction records for Irma Stern and Wolf Kibel were the highlights of Strauss & Co’s inaugural Cape sale, SA art generally fared well. The main session included 109 lots of SA pictures and sculptures of which 90 were sold, or 82.6%, but they grossed about R31.1m, well in excess of the low estimate of R25.4m, remembering as always that this figure excludes the buyer’s premium and any other extras. The Stern portraiit of Carla, which was the cover lot, fetched R5.57m, against the estimate of R2.5m-R3m. Two Stern still lifes fetched R4.23m each (est R3m-R3.5m and R3.5m-R5m) and another one from the estate of the late Leslie Milner R2.1m (R1.2mR2.6m). The R1.23m for a Kibel self-portrait compared with an estimate of only R500 000-R600 000, while R1.06m for a Kibel nude was way up

on the R400 000-R600 000 estimate. The only other sevenfigure porice was R1.23m for a Jean Welz still life (R800 000-R1.2m). A mini-sale that opened the session comprised 42 works from the Milner collection, which grossed R4.54m, against a low estimate of R2.7m, but value was concentrated in three lots: the Stern still life already mentioned, R835 000 for a Maggie Laubser landscape (R400 000-R600 000) and R401 000 for a Maud Sumneri still life (R180 000-R240 000). In the main sale, the highest-estimated Pierneef (R500 000-R700 000) failed to sell -- the only one of the top eight estimates to meet that fate -- but several other lots went for well above expectations. They include R468 000 for a Frans Oerder still life (R300 000-R400 000), two Laubser landscapes at R535 000 (R150

000-R180 000) and R446 000 (R300 000-R400 000), R579 000 for Stanley Pinker’s Man & Car (R150 000-R200 000) and R401 000 for a Fanie Eloff bronze (R80 000-R100 000). The earlier, afternoon, session included 87 minor works of which 58 sold (66.6%). A gross of R2.36m fell well short of the minimum estimate of R3.02m, confirming a shift to quality. Surprising top price was R111 000 for a Gregoire Boonzaaier portrait of Paul Kruger (R60 000-R90 000), followed by R111 000 for a Dorothy Kay watercolour (R60 000-R90 000) and R106 000 for a Johan Volschenk landscape (R60 000R80 000). Adding the two sessions togather, 148 of 196 lots sold (75.5%) for a gross of R33.6m, against the low estimate of R25.4m. Altogether, probably the most gratfying of recent sales

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November 2009


Page 14

Strauss & Co. Preview, The Vineyard Hotel, Cape Town

Dennis Clack and Chloe Rolfes

John Bradley, Christopher Till and Elisabeth Bradley

Alec Wapnick and his grandsons Daniel and Craig

Lambert van der Nest, Stephan Welz- MD Strauss & Co. and Alasdair Wiley

Benedetta Lami, Preben and Charlotte Skak-Jensen

Count Lucio Labia, Anne and John Groves and Anthony Labia

Jo Wolpe and Emma Bedford

Fernando and Suzanne Rueda

Still Life among Euphorbias | 1955 | oil on board | 92 x 75 cm


6 DECEMBER 2009 - 25 FEBRUARY 2010

Coinciding with the launch of Erik Laubscher: A Life in Art by Dr. Hans Fransen contributions by Elza Miles and Abraham de Vries 1st Floor, De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch | Tel: +27 21 887 3607 | |

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