THE SOUTH AFRICAN
February 2010 For the full online edition go to: www.arttimes.co.za SUBSCRIBE: 1 year’s subscription to your door: R 360 - Incl. Business Art. and ArtLife E-mail: email@example.com
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Dada South?, one of the most thrilling exhibitions ever to grace our National Gallery By Lloyd Pollock On entering Dada South?, one experiences a jolt of dismay. A riotous profusion of sculptures, paintings, assemblages and videos violate the gallery’s classical architectural severity, and the exhibits are arranged in a seemingly chaotic, anti-museological display: islanded on the floor; climbing up the pilasters, spilling out of showcases, dangling from the ceiling, or craning down from the walls. Video soundtracks and snatches of music and nonsense poetry create a boisterous charivari, and one’s senses are bombarded by teeming, unruly forces that refuse to be contained. This an apt introduction to Dada which rejected logic and causality, espoused chaos and irrationality, and deliberately outraged ‘good’ taste and all the protocols of the museum and art gallery in order to inflame the imagination, expand the mind and reinvent the world. Dada South?, one of the most thrilling exhibitions ever to grace our National Gallery, achieves just this goal. The fact that it is devoted to a single ism, makes it the kind of show
almost never seen in this country. Survey exhibitions of major art movements occur regularly overseas, but they are regarded as far too ambitious and expensive for us to mount. The astronomic costs of foreign loans, and not curatorial oversight, explain the lacunae at Dada South? Schwitters, Ernst and Picabia are barely represented, and Cologne, Hanover and New York Dada are to a large extent passed over. However Van Wyk and Smith have displayed immense ingenuity in pressing printed material into service to stand in for absent works, and only the most desiccated pedant would nit-pick, for clearly the curators have attempted the impossible, and come up with results so admirable that the show is bound to become a museological milestone.
Heidi Erdmann puts the squeeze on the darling of South African painting Robert Hodgins well before his 90th birthday in June. Heidi Erdmann gave Robert a Tea party held in his honour at The Erdmann Contemporary in Cape Town. Photo: Carla Erasmus
Like a snowy Xmas, one associates Dada with the Northern hemisphere, but Dada South reveals just how tenaciously it took root here. The exhibition which explores the impact Dada had upon us in Africa, and the impact Africa had on Dada, transforms our understanding of the entire movement.
A great South African artist passes
Jackson Jekiseni Hlungwane 1923 - 2010 Acclaimed woodcarver and Charismatic spiritual leader passed away on 20 January 2010 at his home in Mbhokota, near Elim, Limpopo Province. Read his obituary on page 13.
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