THE SOUTH AFRICAN
www.arttimes.co.za • July 2008 • Issue 7 Vol 3 • SA Home subscription 180 p.a • July Print & Distrib. 11 000 copies • RSA free from select outlets. Available in Namibia & Zimbabwe
Rhodes trained artist clinches BP Portrait Award ‘09 By Patrick Burnett Craig Wylie, a Zimbabweanborn artist who studied in South Africa before moving to the United Kingdom, has gone from obscurity to stardom after winning the prestigious BP Portrait Award in London. In what is considered to be the most prestigious portrait competition in the world that showcases the best of contemporary portrait painting, Wylie, 35, walked away with top honours for a two-metre high oil on canvas study of his girlfriend, Katherine Raw. In clinching the prize, Wylie beat 1,726 other entries and won £25,000 and a commission from the National Portrait Gallery in London worth a further £4,000. Fifty-five of the 1,726 entries were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London prior to the winners being announced on June 16, with the exhibition hailed as being of the highest quality ever. Wylie’s painting was tipped by some as a clear winner even before the prize was announced. Speaking from London, where he has a studio in Hackney Wick in east London, Wylie said the award was “excellent” from a personal perspective, although he was still coming to grips with what it would mean for his career. Since moving to London in the late 1990s he has exhibited widely and placed 3rd in the Young Artists Award of the Royal Institute of Oil
Painters in 2001 and 2nd in the same award a year later. But the BP award is by far the most prestigious, although having won it he points out that he is “not really a portrait painter”, at least not in the sense that he only wants to do portrait commissions. He sees portraits as a platform that he felt he could do well on and the BP prize as something “I always had a shot at”. With being known a large part of making it in the London art scene, Wylie admits the publicity associated with the prize certainly hasn’t done his career any harm, but is modest about the achievement. “Whether I’m up there or not is another question,” he says. The expression on the face of the portrait which won him the prize, known as K, was described by The Guardian in the following terms: “I know you’re my boyfriend and I love you very much and I know I agreed to sit for you and I think you’ll find I’m not moving but I’m really not happy here and, frankly Craig, I’d rather be somewhere else.” But Wylie, who was born in 1973 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, rejects the description, saying he tried to talk the journalist out of it. “It’s quite a complicated painting and it’s full of quite a few different messages. I’m not sure there is a look of boredom and not wanting to be there. There is definitely a challenge and I thought it was Continued on page 2
Craig Wylie holds the prestigious BP Portrait Award 2008, with his winning entry “K” (a portrait of his girlfriend). This is the second year running that a South African trained artist has won the award. Last year Paul Emsley won the internationally sought after award. Photo credit: Katherine Tyrell
Fifth Sunday Times commissioned sculpture vandalised Staff writer Sunday Times reported that vandals smashed a sculpture that honours Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu yesterday. The sculpture by Anton Momberg was erected in front of the city hall in East London as part of the Sunday Times Heritage Project. The vandals knocked off Tutu’s head.
Buffalo City mayor Zintle Peter expressed outrage over the incident. “I am both horrified and extremely disappointed that a symbol of an internationally respected icon of the struggle and of human rights can be desecrated in this way,” she said. This is the second Sunday Times memorial to have been vandalised in the city, and a total of five have
been smashed nationwide. In October last year, a sculpture of a black boy sitting on a bench erected at Eastern Beach was vandalised two days after being installed. The Sunday Times Heritage Project was part of the newspaper’s 100 th birthday celebrations in 2006.
Win amazing prizes: SA Art Times Readers Survey An icon of peace destroyed: the head of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu lies in state.
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Art Times July 2008 www.arttimes.co.za Published monthly by
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Dear Editor In response to the June edition of Art Times, pg 4, “Droopy moustaches over Stellenbosch art gallery”, I want to add my voice to those who had a bad experience with Barnard, the gallery owner, because I am afraid he is the type of person who would regard the report as advertisement for himself and his doings at his gallery. He claimed there were only three unhappy artists. I felt obliged to write when I read that he said “Artists are emotional” after being confronted with the response of artists who have been treated badly by him. I think most of us just do not take the trouble to tell such a guy what we think of him, one simply moves on – life is short. You could just as well say that artists are sensitive and trusting and sharks abuse those qualities. I have erased all of his details and only kept one of his emails as a reminder of a bad experience which I would like to avoid in future. Barnard originally phoned me; saying he had seen some of my work on www. southafrican artists.com and told me that he would like to have three of my sculptures for an art event. He also made promises of buying some of the work if we could negotiate about the cost. I met him in Stellenbosch and left 3 sculptures with him for the art event. He was very talkative. After I got home it bothered me that he never mentioned buying the work and I felt uneasy about having been too trusting. I replaced my work at his gallery with cheaper variations as soon as was possible and decided to give it a 6 month trial period. After 6 months I turned up unannounced and retrieved my work, all but two small terracotta figures which he told me he was buying. He had my bank details, I was in a hurry and had to leave it at that. After a month I called him wanting to know when the payment would be made. He had some or other excuse. After a month or two I again turned up unannounced at his gallery only to find a Zim artist who was seemingly being had in a bigger way than me. This artist told me that he was working for Barnard in return for being helped to forward his career in South Africa. I liked his work and asked him whether he had sold some. He replied that Barnard only sells his own paintings, but not much of anyone else’s and he asked me for advice. I referred him to Greatmore studios. I made enquiries about my work and described it to him. He told me that it was still there and brought both sculptures forward. Not only were they broken, but they were broken off their mountings as well. I was horrified and angry, took the pieces and left. I received no apology or explanatory phone call from him and am just glad that I do not have anything further to do with him.
Craig Wylie continued from page 1 about vulnerability,” he says. In a statement on K issued after the award he explained that: “On a formal level this work is about contradiction. I wanted to use a strictly classical composition, formal, even stiff, and then try to subvert the stillness these tenets imply. This internal friction between elements in the painting give it its quiet dynamism.”The size of the work was intentional: “Enlargement creates for the viewer both a confrontational vortex and a sacrifice to scrutiny as the viewer can step into the paintings personal space in a way not possible with smaller works. Gigantism also affects the psychological edge of the sitter. On one level the viewers intrusion into the sitters emotional state is tacitly accepted, on another it is positively rebuffed.” It was a case of third-time lucky for Wylie when it came to K, which he had started on two separate occasions, the first in 2006, before completing the final version. After completing the portrait, he said he had “not had much time with it” before it was sent for entry to the competition. It was two and a half months before the two were reunited. “When I saw it again I was pleasantly surprised and thought it
(Left) K, 2008. Oil on Canvas 210 x 165 cm. (Above) Naked Woman on chair, Oil on canvas 110 x 110 cm. wasn’t too bad,” he says. Wylie studied at Rhodes University in Grahamstown between 1992 and 1996, graduating with distinction with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He initially began studying journalism, but from his second year onwards “art took over” in the place where, like many Rhodes graduates, he remembers having an “excellent time”. A move back to Zimbabwe after graduation and a show in his home country could not prevent the pull to London. “I just wanted to come and see what was going on and I thought as far as art is concerned it’s the place to be,” he says. He doesn’t have plans to return to Zimbabwe or South Africa on a permanent basis, but does not rule out spending more time on the continent “especially during the winter”.
The move to London was not easy. Although he had money from a show in Zimbabwe, when that disappeared “it was a bit awkward”. “To find representation is quite difficult. There are a lot of galleries, but there is so much competition.” He did odd jobs for a short period of time but quickly realised that he would never be able to paint if he did “crappy jobs” and so he lived clandestinely in his rented studio space and “cracked on with it”. Other than painting portraits, he says he “just wants to get on with my thing”, which involves a variety of projects that include working from live models and combining them with objects like fridges, broken chairs or suit cases. He is also working with images taken from the internet and blown up in size, one of which is taken from a news report on Zimbabwe and shows a man lying on his back
with an oxygen mask over his face – a clear commentary on the state of his home country. His mother and some friends are still in Zimbabwe and the last time he visited was in October. “It’s just dreadful and it’s really a crying shame,” he says about the situation under Mugabe, “All I can do really from here is make a small contribution in terms of finances. It’s sad.” For artists planning the move to London, Wylie points out that it’s a tough and expensive city, but does have its benefits. “I guess you just have to stick to a level of belief and see your projects through as well as you can and then keep pushing, trying to find the openings and chasing them down and ploughing through the opportunities that are available. It’s a question of perseverance I guess,” he says.
OBITUARY: Len Thomas, Artist and co-founder of Zellen Art Products From District Mail 11 July 08
Len touched the lives of young artists Len Thomas, Kleinmond businessman, artist and local philanthropist (and former mayor) died on July 5 after a brief illness.
Len Thomas, artist and co-founder of Zellen Art Products, locally made, quality artist’s paints and materials
Born in Johannesburg in 1936, Len spent his early years building a career in the photographic industry while simultaneously starting a family with his wife, Hazel. They had a daughter, Pamela, and
a son, Gary. Len soon found himself posted to Durban where he lived for eight years. During that time he pursued his love o fpainting through an involvement in local art groups. He also took part in a number of group exhibitions. Listening to his heart, he walked away from corporate life in 1976 and moved to Somerset West where he started the Len Thomas School of Art based at Southey’s Vines. His six-year stay in Somerset
West was active and productive as he not only taught many of his students the finer points of oil and watercolour painting, but also took part in numerous group and one-man exhibitions. He was also active in the Somerset West Art Group, which he chaired for a number of years. Feeling that he wanted to re-focus his energy on his own painting, he closed his art school in the early ‘80s and moved to Kleinmond. He served as a councillor on the then Kleinmond Town Council and subsequently became mayor for
four years during which time he worked relentlessly to improve the lot of the local population and improve the financial position of the town. Painting continued to be his primary passion in life, but his entrepreneurial spirit soon came to the fore and he opened Zellen Art Products, a family business which has grown into a mature manufacturer of artist paints and associated products. Len enjoyed exploring the world of art, cooking, and classical guitar in his spare time.
South African Art Times.
JOHANS BORMAN FINE ART GALLERY
(Above and left) works currently on show at The Michael Stevenson Gallery by leading photographer Guy Tillim entitled Avenue Patrice Lumumba. Guy Tillim embarked on this project as the recipient of the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography granted by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. Avenue Patrice Lumumba will be shown in 2009 at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris, France; Foam Photography Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal. A book will be published by Prestel. (Above): Court records, Lubumbashi, DR Congo, 2007. (Left) City Hall, Lubumbashi, DR Congo, 2007 see www.michaelstevenson.com for more of Guyâ€™s work
Gerard Sekoto: Three Men Walking
A showcase for the best of South African Masters, as well as some leading contemporary artists. Telephone: 021 423 6075 www.johansborman.co.za Mon-Fri: 10h00 - 18h00 Sat: 09h00 - 14h00 or by appointment In Fin Art Building Upper Buitengracht Street, Cape Town 8001 Cell: 082 566 4631 E-mail: email@example.com
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Hayden Proud: Cedric, Wyson, Jamie, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, Oil on canvas, Painted 1979
What art friends are for - Celebrating a special partnership Detail: Laubser, Maria Magdalena (1886 – 1973) “Landscape with Houses and Figures”. Oil on board, 50.8 x 43.2 cm. Signed “M Laubser” (lower/left)
THE MODERN PALIMPSEST: ENVISIONING SOUTH AFRICAN MODERNITY
THE OPENING OF AN EXHIBITION OF SOUTH AFRICAN MASTERS FROM 1853 ONWARDS. The exhibition will conclude on the 29 August 2008. For private viewings and appointments please contact Graham Britz on 083 605 5000
Shop 46, Broadacres Lifestyle Centre, Cnr. Cedar & Valley Roads, Broadacres, Fourways. Graham Britz 083 605 5000 Sarah Keys 084 568 5639 Gallery 011 465 9192
Conrad Botes, Nicholas Hlobo and Thembinkosi Goniwe, three South African artists, have been chosen to participate in the Guangzhou Triennial in China, which will take place between 6 September and 16 November this year. The main theme of the triennial proposes to say ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’, and draw attention to identity politics and restrictions which have been the unwitting result of such discourse, says a statement from Gao Shiming, Sarat Maharaj and Chang Tsong-zung, the central curatorial team-members. The theme of saying ‘Farewell to Post-Colonialism’ is not simply “a departure, but a re-visit and a re-start” - a space to re-think the theoretical frameworks that help articulate an “ethics of difference” in cultural production, they say.
In room one of the Iziko SA National Gallery, during these turbulent times in our neighbouring country, Cedric, Wayson, Jamie - Zimbabwe, Rhodesia (1979) seems to take on a riveting poignancy. The melancholy of faces who have lost expression and glued viewers to the floor when artist Hayden Proud showed it the first time and the Friends of the SANG acquired it in 1987, now looks ghostly; masks of something forever lost. How fortuitous of the Friends’ Choice committee, led at that time by the energetic Helen Cherry, to buy the painting. A few years later it joined the museum’s permanent collection. For Proud, who, as curator at the Iziko SANG, works closely with the Friends and looks after the many artworks that they have bought over decades, the exhibition of
his fine triptych as part of this small celebration of the remarkable organisation called FONG, for short, too would bring back sweet memories. The Friends are, indeed, observing 40 years of contributing to Cape culture. For those of us who have shared the rewarding friendship (mine include being chair from mid-1980 to mid-1990), the exhibition is not only one of upbeat nostalgia, but a proud reflection of the worth, need and achievements of the Friends of the SA National Gallery. Even an outsider, looking at the top-class art that is one show here today, could be surprised at the insight with which the friends’ organisation acquired and supported mostly younger artists. It was 20 years ago that the collection known as the Friends’ Choice travelled to the Grahamstown Festival to be one of the art highlights there that year. In April
1992, the collection - which by that time had developed repute - had one final, triumphant outing at the SANG in a show. As recorded by the then chair of the selection subcommittee, Deon Viljoen, in the handsome catalogue, the purpose of the project - to collect young and less well-known artists’ work - had been overtaken by the SANG’s own acquisitions policy. And so the collection, or most of it, was transferred to the permanent collection. Since those days, the Friends have contributed magnificently to the collection, supporting acquisitions and raising funds. (The fine Bertha Everard landscape Lekkerdraai on show now was acquired with the support of FONG, who contributed an astounding R4 000 to the cost of R9 000 in 1978!) Founded in 1968 (when the society sponsored a documentary about Adolph Stephan Friedrich
Jentsch with R3 600), the Friends of the SA National Gallery are, like similar associations attached to major art institutions all over the world, the gallery’s first circle of supporters and fans. These are the patrons whose moral and other backing provides the public impetus for its functions and obligations as cultural entity. The wonderful small exhibition - on until the end of September - is a vivid demonstration of that friendship. * The Friends of the Michaelis Collection at the Old Town House too are celebrating. Their fifteenth anniversary is coming up and a number of events are planned around this. They have also added to the collection, assisted with conservation work, as well as the funding of workshops and schoolrelated projects involving up to 50 schools in the Cape area.
A farewell to post-colonialism
By Anita Funke
Artists have been called to renovate the theoretical interface of contemporary art – to depart from pervasive socio-economic discourse, and work to create new modes of thinking: a process of self-discovery in a globalised world. According to Stina Edblom, a member of the wider curatorial team whose portfolio involves choosing artists whose work relates to Africa, nine artists have been confirmed for this category from around the world, three of whom are South African. She said Botes, Hlobo, and Goniwe were artists whose work stimulated enquiry into centred identity, and thus invited critical dialogue about theories of difference. Botes, who is working on a new piece for the triennial, said popular concepts of Africanness, which exist conceptually, are changing. By superimposing African stereotypes onto European iconography, he suggests that “European perceptions of Africa and its people are something of the past,” as “borders are disappearing, and so is race”. He added: “I am trying to suggest that the way that Africanism has been perceived has changed – it has died.” Edblom praises the way Botes uses irony and satire to change perceptions. “I really like his work because it’s not politically correct; he just does his own thing.”
“He becomes one with [cultural stereotypes] so that they will not colonise him,” and “when you play with stereotypes, you re-appropriate them, and you turn them into your tools, not someone else’s tools”.
Hlobo likewise “inserts himself in a local and global community” in his work, with Edblom highlighting the way he speaks of “localised differences” and interrogates black, male, Xhosa sexuality and identity. Although she said his work speaks of South African experience, it also points to a shared, “general” identity struggle, which is not a national (or even personal) phenomenon. Hlobo said: “The issues I challenge are not uniquely South African…People from different parts of the world deal with this in
different ways.” He believes that it is a “time of change” in terms of people’s views of South African art. “We’ve managed to slowly change people’s perception of what African art should look like.” Nonetheless, the perception that identity is geographically centred persists, with the result that members of the global audience still struggle to reconcile their concept of African art with the works themselves. At times, they are concerned that it “doesn’t look African enough…. [and] some people don’t what to believe or accept [you’re African]”, said Hlobo. In the same vein as Hlobo and Botes, Goniwe resists national, cultural, or racial definition: “I am an artist who happens to live in South Africa…[and] I don’t want my nationality to structure my thinking,” he said. Likewise, “I don’t want to make the South African experience something unique, or differentiate between South Africa and the rest of the world.” To this end, his project for the triennial is partly discursive, and according to Edblom, will “contextualise the exhibition through dialogues”. The piece will be interactive, in order to stretch the exhibition space beyond the museum, and allow people to respond. “I just want to create a space for interaction. If I can get that, that will be the achievement,” said
(Far left) South African artist Thembinkosi Goniwe has been chosen to participate in the Guangzhou Triennial in China later this year. Picture: Anita Funke/West Cape News. (Middle) Devil’s dictionary by Conrad Botes, 2008, Acrylic on wall drawing, reverse glass painting and painted wooden sculpture, courtesy of the artist. (Right) Nicholas Hlobo, Izinqanda mathe, 2008, Saddle, ribbon, rubber, chains, 130 x 138 x 105cm, courtesy of Michael Stevenson, Cape Town. Goniwe. The Guangzhou Triennial will be a space “really to tease out a number of different perspectives and even provocations, to encourage [discussion],” said Edblom.
“You have all these negative images of Africa,” she said, but this opens up the possibility for independent creative spaces which “speak against modularisation”.
South African Art Times
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Talk of the Town What’s happening in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban
Alex Dodd No matter what niceties and noble expressions of consolation get uttered by the dignitaries on the big night, when it comes to art prizes, Swedish pop/dance quartet Abba knew best when they belted out the cruel, cold truth of it: ‘The winner takes it all, the loser has his fall…’ Or in the case of last year’s Spier Contemporary, the winners took it all – all R700 000 of it – and the losers drowned their sorrows in a flagon of Spier Merlot. Yet even though there were six awards and an additional ‘people’s choice award’, I couldn’t help exiting those bright orange containers installed on the idyllic green fields of the wine estate feeling slightly sodden and grim.
Somebody else noticed the irresistible, glaring talents of Daniel Halter and Themba Shibase, whose Spier works were just too power-packed to be overlooked. Although I’m not of the school that buys into contemporary social clout as the central criteria for notable art, the weird thing is that both of their work hinges on the madness that currently has Zimbabwe in its vampire grip. Halter is the brains behind a work called All of a Sardine, which features an etiolated little kapenta fish (Lake Tanganyika Sardine) on a Rhodesian Teak plaque in an ironic take on hunting trophies that archly comments on the crass squandering of that country’s rich natural resources. And once you’ve seen Shibase’s sickly green portrait entitled Wena wendlovu (His Excellency) it’s hard to get that image of Robert Mugabe out of the backrooms of your mind. So that somebody with her eyes wide open is Soweto-born contemporary
Peter Machen Take a look outside.
The judges’ choices were perfectly fair and explicable – although admittedly the strong emphasis on performance art was a teensy-weensy bit puzzling – but the show itself was such an extraordinary showcase for genuinely fresh and inventive new voices that I couldn’t help feeling a bit morbid Muriel on behalf of the truly excellent submissions that didn’t even get a mention. More recently though, on the occasion of a recent lunch at the University of Johannesburg Art Centre for the shortlist announcement of the MTN New Contemporaries, I was reminded of the insightful words of my bold and buxom Argentinian friend, Marcela, who once declared: ‘Life’s a bitch, but sometimes she makes love to you.’ I couldn’t have been more delightfully vindicated with the selection of finalists for the award and not too small a fraction of my joy came from the knowledge that someone else had their eyes wide open at the Spier Contemporary and that there is a kind of justice in these awards, which do create meaningful platforms for exposure beyond the allure of the prize loot.
THE ART COWBOY
(Above) : image from www.uj.ac.za (Below) Dineo Bopape. image from: www.radiopapesse.org Her selection gives one a charged sense of this being a serious competition, where each of the finalists is an equal heavyweight contender for the title. And Mboweni has done another clever thing. In addition to selecting four artists who have already come some way through the thickets of the art circuit independently, she has also subtly curated a thematic show by grouping four contemporary thinkers whose artistic concerns bounce off one another in interesting conceptual ways. So this won’t be a ragtag show of diverse artists brought together by the imperative of the prize money. Mboweni’s selection of artists means that the show itself will have a thematic cohesion, exploring issues of power and governance in contemporary postcolonial Africa. Need I say that I’m looking forward to opening night? The prize-giving event is set to take place on 10 July at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery and the exhibition will be open to the public until the 13 August. Mboweni will be also doing five public walkabouts – so here’s your opportunity to get to grips with the thinking behind what is bound to go down in local art history as a decidedly trend-setting show.
Some years ago, there were whispers of Durban getting its own Guggenheim, an idea whose sheer outlandishness made it enormously appealing. Outlandish, not because Durban is a bastion of philistinism (although that suggestion has been made by those who only look in the direction of the city’s lukewarm mainstream) but because it is a place that is perceived as being very far from the centre of things – and correspondingly, very close to the edge. But while physical centrality has lost its importance in the digital age, it is that edge that really makes the city. Not only in the art that emerges from the Durban/eThekwini (and which substantially informs the creative scenes in Cape Town and Johannesburg) but on the streets and the pavements and all the spaces outside and in between. Liminal and interstitial have become contemporary holy grails which 21st century artists like to attach to their conceptual charm bracelets, but these notions are particularly relevant where the South East coast of Africa meets the Indian Ocean. In Durban, it’s possible to never enter a gallery (and let’s face it, most people don’t) and still experience a rich cultural life in the city. Visual art is everywhere, from the sometimes technically astounding and always surreal adornment of the city’s buses to the hand-painted signage of plumbers and electricians to the individually styled mblaselo pants worn by Zulu men festooned with colour and nguni designs. In Durban, adornment is never pure adornment. It is always layered, ironic, spiritual, historical, encapsulating the vague but insistent sense of anarchy that defines the city. Dehal’s Bus Liner captures these contradictions best, handing out profoundly resonant spiritual advice from Sai Baba and Jesus Christ on the back of buses, while flaunting sexy phrases on the side, beautifully rendered in anachronistic typography. The ongoing performances by many of those who spend their days at Durban’s traffic lights and intersections also add much to the experience of Durban as an endless cornucopia of surreality. Moses Nxumalo, the city’s Nothing Man, whose begging boards have made their way into the city’s galleries, is one of Durban’s most celebrated examples but there are many others, quietly adding to the visual texture of the city. On the corner of Berea and Hunt Road, a beggar’s sign is lovingly made out of coloured glitter. In the right gallery, given the correct context, it could sell for thousands. On the corner of Churchill and Umgeni Road, sits a genuine outsider artist. The first time, I saw him he was sitting cross-legged on an electrical box, dressed only in transparent plastic
bags, half a pumpkin balanced on his head. Every day he presents a new installation constructed of found objects from the immediate vicinity, addended with Zulu text scrawled on the pavement. It seems that he makes these things because he has to, because he is driven to. The fact that an audience is so incidental to the work is beside the point. Fifteen years ago, these observations might have been taken as condescending or over-extending notions of the contemporary. Today, they are virtual currency in the art world, but still, for many, such work only acquires the lustre of real art when it is taken into the gallery, given the formalism of the catalogue, the recognition of critical discourse. These were some of the considerations that took place at a seminar on public art at the KZNSA Gallery and which included a series of experienced voices from around the country including Stephen Hobbs, Doung Jahangeer, Dorothee Kreutzveld, Roger van Wyk and Andries Botha, national voices having a national conversation in an apparently marginalised fishing village. Meanwhile, at Gallery 415 in Umgeni Road, a place that is surrounded by street-level creativity, the feeling of outsiderness continued in an exhibition entitled Love And Monsters by three young artists Liezel Prinz, Anet Norval and Caryn Tilbury. Although all three artists have studied fine art and regularly show their work in local galleries, they remain peripheral, on the faltering borders of recognition. Anet Norval’s work literally looks like outsider art, her moving meditations on love, family, gender and sexuality, deftly conveyed through painting, text and the embedding of found objects in to her work, all studded with a moving naivety. Even at her most sophisticated, Norval’s work carries the essence of heart-rendered doodling, providing a palpable sense of someone’s else’s sense of emotional reality. It is this depth of intimacy that carries her work into the mental life of the viewer.
The work of Caryn Tilbury fits directly into the absurdo-pop canon of Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami but despite these heavyweight references, she sits outside of the fine art scene more than the other two artists, spending most of her time not making art but working in a bookstore. Her medium continually changes but its essence remains consistent – soft, fluffy and absurd, and just ever so slightly sinister. For Love and Monsters, Tilbury produced a series of knitted and sewn monkeys, each elongated creature somehow imbued with it’s own seductive soul. Liezel Prinz produces wall-mounted installations that echo the traditional frame of fine art but extends it into three dimensions. Her work is darkly humourous and lightly alienating, - chicken bones, Astroturf, physical and metaphysical trophies blended into works that capture both the tropes of South African life and her own deeply personal narratives. And I was struck by the fact that this modest little exhibition would feel comfortable
and accessible in London, New York, Bloemfontein and KwaMashu. Perhaps Durban will one day get its Guggenheim – or something similar in scope and weight – in recognition of the fact that it is both physically and metaphorically one of the cultural centres of the South. It would be grand, and sceptics should consider the fact that two decades ago – before the glory of the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the ascension of Barcelona – Spain was widely considered a peripheral third world country, little more than a place where the English went to behave badly. But regardless, what I’d really like to do if I possessed vast (or indeed any) tracts of wealth, is start a museum of outsider art. Although, in a way it would be unnecessary since if you look carefully enough the entire city functions as such.
art specialist Melissa Mboweni, the curator appointed to select the four nominees for the 2008 MTN New Contemporaries Award. Mboweni, a former curator at the Goodman Gallery, started the process with a national research project two months ago, involving tours to studios and galleries, and in-depth discussions with artists. And after weeks of deliberation came up with a nominees list to do us proud. In addition to Halter and Shibase, she has selected multi-media and performance artist Dineo Bopape, who explores issues around urban black female identity, and Michael MacGarry, whose work investigates the infiltration of Western imperialism and colonialism through current experience on the African continent.
THE ARTFUL VIEWER Melvyn Minaar Timeous Challenges of Video Art As one of those who take my Hollywood movie fix in the form of a rental from the corner store video shop - not only to avoid the depressing experience of going to the bioscope in de-humanised environment of a shopping mall, but to take advantage of that glorious personalised system that allows you to skip and fast-forward - video art presents a particular challenge. And I guess, I’m probably not the only art observer out there with such an affliction. With so-called ‘new media’ an entrenched presence at all contemporary art exhibitions, and the (fast-aging) category of video de rigueur in any self-respecting group show, I sometimes just sigh, take a deep breath, and try my best to sit it out. (Well, more than likely, not ‘sit’ - because few galleries offer such a luxury - but loll about in the gloomy darkness or terrifying glare, as comfortably as possible while some artistic indulge passes by on the small or large screen, or whatever serves as such.) Here’s the thing: video art take up one’s time. And we all subscribe to the cliché that time is of the essence. In the mad-mad modern world of everything-goes and free-for-all art-making, considering a viewer/observer’s time is an issue, surely. Ten years or so ago, when the minivideocam did not yet have all those no-brainer gadgets of today, artists worldwide took to video like ducks to a newly discovered-pond of productive pleasure. All arrived artists had to boast a video. (Of course, it is so much easier to fiddle with images on screen than to actually use a screen to print them!) At biennales and big-deal art events all over the world, viewers were lured into boxes or confronted in alleys with the new-fangled medium. (To sit through
all the art at the Venice Biennale in the mid-1990s, you had to book into an hotel for extra days and suffer leg cramps.) Ninety percent of these videos is dreary, boring and simply bad. South African artists jumped into the pond with glee. What most of them didn’t realise is that masterpieces in video art are far more difficult to churn out than a steadicam and editing apparatus suggest. After all, there is a long, long history of, yes, cinema and, come to think of it, television. Which bring me back to the time factor. And an artist imposition on the viewer’s physical presence in time. The great American art philosopher, Arthur Danto, once talked about video ‘requiring an investment of real time on the viewer’s part with no guarantee that there will be an artistic pay-off’. Hollywood bosses have known for yonks that bioscope audiences are finely tuned to how movies play out in the time and how long they are prepared to sit in the dark before losing interest. Why would it be different in contemporary video art? Before gallery-goers were forced to put on earphones or go behind curtains into darkened rooms, you had control of you own time to walk around and check out the pictures on the gallery wall. Video imposes a demand on your time - and hence your tolerance. This is where many video art bites the dust. Or, more sympathetically put, lose the viewer. If it ain’t interesting enough, why stay and watch? (At home, the fast-forward facility is a great help.) At the moment in Cape Town, most of the big art operators (a number now cosy together in Woodstock) have video art in some form or another on display in their galleries. And there are more to come. The opening exhibition of Michael Stevenson’s new venue had a few which demonstrated different ways the medium works to greater and lesser success: Steven Cohen’s Golgotha, not much more than a documentary; Yinka Shonibare’s 14 minutes of Odile and Odette, a mini kind of movie; Dineo Bopape’s wacko Dreamweaver, a kind of free-floating atmospheric piece; while the imported Sweetberry Sonnet by Kalup Linsky was only for the hard-wired fans who could stand around for half an hour. As part of Power Play, the Goodman Cape had videos which tested visitors’ endurance levels with the potential to frighten them off forever. The new Bell-Roberts shows work by Jacques Coetzer as part of the Matter & Meaning group show, and an elegant, if taxing, three-channel projection called The Theory of Displacement by Johan Thom. Whatiftheworld has, as part of the rather nice Prints & Edition show, two shorter pieces by Charles Maggs - quite a video wiz normally - which don’t quite match some of his brighter stuff. Offering videos as part of an exhibition that set out to feature ‘a selection of works that are contextualised through the medium of prints and the concept of editions’, makes a rather important point about video art and its ‘preciousness’ or not. If you’ve paid the R26 400 asked for the Thom video at the Bell-Roberts, and have a nice bright broad white wall to project it on in your suburban house, do you wonder about who owns the other two of the three in the edition? And do you sometimes feel, if no-one is looking, whether you may fast-forward any of its 6 minutes and 58 seconds?
THE SOUTH AFRICAN ART TIMES
ART GUIDE JULY 2008
Bheki Khambule’s work: Beautiful like me won the Start Nivea Art Awards ‘09 hosted at The KZNSA Gallery in Durban. Emerging, self-taught local artist, Bheki won the R20 000 cash award earlier this month. As the winner, Khambule automatically qualifies for a solo exhibition at KZNSA’s NIVEA Gallery next year. For more information see www.kznsagallery.co.za
South African Art Times.
SOUTH AFRICAN ART GALLERY SHOW LISTINGS FOR JULY The Premises Jan-Henri Until 05 July The Premises at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre Loveday Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg www.onair.co.za/thepremises
Eastern Cape East London Anne Bryant Art Gallery Until 17 July - Barry Gibb ‘The Expressionists Germans’ 24 July - 09 August - Pat Mantsivi - An exhibition of illustrated prints from the illustrated London News 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London, T. 043 722 4044
Free State Bloemfontein Oliewenhuis Art Museum 07-11 July - Fun activities for young and old 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein, T. 051 447 9609
Gauteng Johannesburg Absa Gallery 21 July - 22 August The Absa L’Atelier Exhibition 161 Main Street, Johannesburg Alliance Francaise of JHB Until 11 July - ‘Africa Remix’ - fringe touring exhibition 17 Lower Park Drive, Corner Kerry Road Parkview, T. 011 646 1169 www.alliance.org.za Art Extra Gallery Until 12 July - Reshma Chhiba - ‘Kali’ 16 July - 16 August - Michael MacGarry - ‘When enough people start saying the same thing’ 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034 www.artextra.co.za Art on Paper Paul Molete ‘Second Offering’ Until July 05. 44 Stanley Avenue, Braamfontein Werf (Milpark) www.artonpaper.co.za Artspace Gallery 05-26 July - New works by Richard Smith 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, T. 011 482 1258 www.artspace-jhb.co.za David Krut Print Workshop Until 28 July - Bronwen Findlay – ‘Floating and Falling’ 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, T. 011 447 0627 www.davidkrutpublishing.com Everard Read Gallery 17 July - 03 August ‘BRAIT’ – Everard Read Art Award 2008 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg, T. 011 788-4805 Gallery Momo Until 07 July - Bronwen Vaughan Evans - ‘Home Is Where the Heart is’ 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg T. 011 327 3247 www.gallerymomo.com Gallery On The Square July – September - A range of painting, limited edition graphics and sculpture by leading South African and International artists Shop 32, Nelson Mandela Square, Corner 5th & Maude Streets, Sandton Central T. 011 784 2847/8 www.galleryonthesquare.co.za
Hentie van der Merwe at The Goodman Gallery Jhb 19 July - 9 August Messenger
Warren Siebritz Until 18 July Wilhelm Saayman’s ‘Don’t do business with family or friends’ and Jonah Sack’s ‘The evening of the second day’ 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg www.warrensiebrits.co.za
– ‘Miniature Paintings’ 27 July – 31 August - ‘Tana Bana Warp Weft’ - Textiles Collection 45 Maritime Place, Small Craft Harbour (Off Victoria Embankment), T. 031 332 0451 www.batcentre.co.za KZNSA Gallery 08 July - 02 August - Nivea Art Award 2008 – exhibition featuring the final works by the 25 finalists 08 July - 02 August - Carlos Motta - ‘The People: Enemies of the State, The Government and The Army’ - an exhibition of three videos of street protests (2005-2008) 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood T. 031 202 3686 www.kznsagallery.co.za
Bell-Roberts Gallery Until 08 August - ‘Between meaning and matter’ - Group exhibition 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock www.bell-roberts.com Blank Projects 02 -18 July - Norman O’Flynn - ‘The Butterfly Project’ 02 - 30 July Gabrielle Alberts - ‘Fine Art’ 23 - 30 July - Barend de Wet, Douglas Gimberg and Christian Nerf - ‘Mental Pictures’ 198 Buitengracht Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town.
Rust-en-Vrede Gallery 10 Wellington Road, Durbanville T. 021 976 4691 www.rust-en-vrede.com Michael Stevenson Gallery 10 July - 23 August - Guy Tillim – ‘Avenue Patrice Lumumba, Ângela Ferreira – ‘For Mozambique’ and Manthia Diawara Maison – ‘Tropicale’ Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town, T. 021 462 1500 www.michaelstevenson.com
Goodman Gallery Jhb July 19 - August 9 Hentie van der Merwe 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg www.goodman-gallery.com
The Cape Gallery Until 26 July - ‘Desire’ - a group exhibition 27July - 16 August - ‘From Precept to Concept’ - Artworks by Juli Jana and Oil paintings by Mike Wolfson & John Robert 60 Church Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 5309 www.capegallery.co.za
Graham’s Fine Art Gallery Until 29 August - ‘The Modern Palimpsest - Envisioning South African Modernity’ Corner Cedar & Valley Roads, Broadacres, Fourways, T. 011 465 9192 www.grahamsfineartgallery.co.za
UCT Irma Stern Museum Until 26 July - Nicolaas Maritz – ‘Unmentionables’ 29 July - 16 August - exhibition sponsored by Irma Stern Trustees Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town, T. 021 685 5686 www.irmastern.co.za
Heather Moore at the Soup Kitchen at see more at Curious Whetstone & Frankley www.curiouswhetstoneandfrankley.com Curious Whetstone & Frankley 02 – 31 July - A cosy collection of handcut artworks, homemade prints, crocheted keepsakes, fluffy ceramics and statuesque bunnies by Jesse Breytenbach and Heather Moore, Alta Stegmann, Homebakes, Helon Melon, Meld, Janin de Waal, Gussie van der Merwe and Colleen Roberts. 87A Station Road, Observatory, Cape Town www.curiouswhetstoneandfrankley.com
Johannesburg Art Gallery Until 06 July - Carlos Motta - ‘The People: Enemies of the State, The Government and The Army’ - exhibition of three videos of street protests (2005-2008) 05-31 July - ‘Confluence 2008’ - a combined art development school projects exhibition Until 30 September - Kay Hassan ‘Urbanation’ - a mid career exhibition King George Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg, T. 011 725 3180 Rooke Gallery Olaf Bisschoff - Terra Incognita Until 14 July. The Newtown, 37 Quinn Street, Newtown, Johannesburg www.rookegallery.com Standard Bank Gallery Until 05 July ‘Messina/Musina’ by Pieter Hugo Corner Simmonds and Frederick Street, Johannesburg www.standardbankgallery.co.za The Constitutional Court 02-31 July - MANDELA @ 90 - Art exhibition with works by Billy and Jane Makhubela, Johannes Maswanganyi Roy Ndinisa, Beverley Price and Susan Woolf Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg The Photo Workshop Gallery Until 06 August - Mimi Cherono Ng’ok - ‘I am Home’ 2 President Street, Newtown, T. 011 834 1444
David Krut Fine Art & Books 26 July - 21 August - Deborah Bell Montebello Design, 31 Newlands Avenue, Cape Town, T. 021 685 0676 www.davidkrutpublishing.com
34 Long Fine Art FACE 08 Group exhibition 12 August – 6 September 34 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 4264594 www.34long.com
Everard Read Gallery Until 10 July - Olivia Musgrave - ‘Bronzes’ 3 Portswood Road, V&A Waterfront T. 021 418 4527 www.everard-read-capetown.co.za
The A.R.T. Gallery No. 205, The Colosseum Building, 3 St.George’s Mall T. 021 4192679
Goodman Gallery - Cape Gallery closed unil July 29 7 August - 30 August: Monomania 3rd Floor, Fairweather House 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, Cape Town www.goodmangallerycape.com
Louise Linder’s - From Here to eternity at João Ferreira Gallery 2 July - 2 August The Worldart Gallery 19 July - 09 August - Ian Waldeck and Pieter Swanepoel - ‘Landscapes’ 95 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg T. 011 901 5045 www.worldart.co.za University of Johannesburg Art Gallery 11July - 13 August - Exhibition of MTN New Contemporaries Award Finalists Daniel Halter, Themba Shibase, Dineo Bopape, Michael MacGarry Kingsway Campus, T. 011 559 2099 www.uj.ac.za
Kwazulu Natal Durban artSPACE Durban Until 12 July - Terri Broll and Terry King - ‘Paintings and Process and Kieran Smith - ‘Us’ 18 July - 02 August - Bigwood2 3 Millar Road, Durban, T. 031 312 0793 www.artspacedurban.co.za
Gerhard Marx : Skull without nomenclature 2005, cut and reconstituted map fragments 29 x 54cm This months Artbio on Artthrob (www.artthrob.co.za) or see www.warrensiebrits.com
Erdmann Contemporary 07 July - 29 August - ‘Departure’ - an exhibition showcasing unique visual vocabularies of four photographers including Roger Ballen, Lien Botha, Patricia Driscoll & Abrie Fourie 63 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town, T. 021 422 2762 www.erdmanncontemporary.co.za
Bank Gallery Until 17 July - ‘DIS EASE’ - a new generation of video art from the Rijksakademie archives 217 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban, T. 031 312 6911 www.bankgallery.co.za Bat Centre 04 July – 03 August - Themba Ngema
art.b Gallery Until 16 July - ‘Destinations’ - Land and seascape paintings by Elizabeth and Hester de Vos and ‘Journey to the Heart of the Matter’ by Joy Savage 23 July - 13 August - ‘Spirit’ - paintings by Benjamin Mitchley and ceramics by Tania Babb Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville, T. 021 918 2301 www.artb.co.za AVA Gallery Until 11 July - ‘Baring’ curated by Eunice Geustyn 14 July - 01 August - Sibusiso Duma - ‘The Story Teller’; Strijdom van der Merwe - ‘HAIKOES’ and Randolph Hartzenberg - ‘Prints in the Artsstrip’ 35 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 424 7436 www.ava.co.za
Iziko South African National Gallery Until 31 July - Ernest Cole - ‘Chronicler in the House of Bondage’ Until 31 August - Pancho Guedes ‘An Alternative Modernist’ Government Avenue, Company’s Garden, T. 021 467 4660 www.iziko.org.za João Ferreira Gallery 02 July - 02 August - ‘Abstraction’ - a show comprising of both local and international artists including Anton Karstel, Mark Hipper, Kevin Atkinson, Mark Francis and Douglas Portway 02 July - 02 August - Louise Linder’s - ‘From Here to Eternity’ 70 Loop Street, Cape Town, T. 021 423 5403 www.joaoferreiragallery.com
Whatiftheworld Gallery Until 26 July - ‘Prints and Editions 08’ 05-30 August - Rowan Smith – exhibition First Floor, 208 Albert Road Woodstock, T. 021 448 1438 www.whatiftheworld.com
Franschoek The Gallery at Grande Provence 01 June-09 July - ‘Decadance’, group exhibition by Angus Taylor, Diane Victor, Gordon Froud, Jacki McInnes, Musha Neluheni, Paul Boulitreau, Rosemarie Marriott and Ulricke Lourens Main Road Franschoek T. 021 8768600 www.grandeprovence.co.za
Knysna The Dale Elliott Art Gallery Oyster Festival exhibition on Knysna and her surrounding areas Woodmill Lane Shopping Centre, Knysna, 6570 Tel: 044 3825 646 www.daleelliott.co.za
Stellenbosch Die Dorpstraat Galery 144 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 8872256 www.dorpstraatgalerie.co.za SMAC Gallery Until August 29 : Abstract South African Art from the Isolation Years Part 2 De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch. Tel: 021 887 3607 www.smacgallery.com
Villiersdorp The Elliott’s Art Gallery Exciting Winter exhibition of latest works by Dale and Mel Elliott. 80 Main Rd, Villiersdorp, 6848 Tel: 028 840 2927 www.daleelliott.co.za Send your Gallery’s show details (text and images) to: email@example.com before the 20 th of each month
South African Art Times.
What’s on at Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town
iziko south african national gallery
Pancho Guedes: An Alternative Modernist Iziko South African National Gallery hosts ‘Pancho Guedes: An Alternative Modernist’, an exhibition of the iconic architect’s work from 22 May to 31 August 2008. In addition to being described as ‘alternative modernism’ with international links, Pancho Guedes’ work draws on traditional African skills and motifs. Now eighty-three years old, he has been prolific in terms of output and diversity, in Africa and internationally. Born in Portugal, Pancho moved to Mozambique as a child and studied in Johannesburg, obtaining his architectural degree from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). He returned to Wits in 1975 and was Head of the Department of Architecture until 1990. Despite working in the peripheral contexts of southern Africa, Pancho’s work captured the attention of the European avant-garde and he became an active member of the dissident modernist Team 10. He represented Portugal at the Biennale di Venezia in 1976 and 2006. Twenty-five years after the Architectural Association of London show of his work, an
exhibition entitled ‘Pancho Guedes – An Alternative Modernist’ was commissioned and produced by the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel in 2007. Curated by Pedro Gadanho, this exhibition focused on the nearly twenty-five year period that he was active in Mozambique, and his extraordinary achievements involving over 500 projects. Pancho’s capacity to seamlessly bring together Europe and Africa, art and architecture, dream and reality are revealed and further explored in the newly-curated component that introduces work created mostly in South Africa, after April 1974, and which remains largely unpublished and little known. Curated by architects Henning Rasmuss and Dagmar Hoetzel, in consultation with the architect, it is separate yet conceptually linked to the SAM show. At a time when little attention was paid to the aesthetic production of Africa, Pancho was a promoter and supporter of vernacular architecture and African artists, notably Malangatana Valente and Tito Zungu, yet his work has never been shown in either Mozambique or South Africa, the two countries where his architecture exerted enormous influence. The exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg are made possible through
sponsorship by Instituto Camões in Portugal, Arup, the Cement and Concrete Institute of South Africa, Business Arts South Africa, Grand West Cultural Heritage Trust, as well as various businesses, architectural practices and individuals. It is a rare privilege for Iziko South African National Gallery to host a full retrospective of Pancho Guedes’ oeuvre, to share it with students and learners through lectures and publications and to inspire new generations of extensive
architects who most certainly education programmes, have heard the name, but may no longer know what his architecture embraced and encompassed. The lessons to be learned from Pancho in so many fields of endeavour and creativity will no doubt enhance a built environment sorely in need of excellence. The Iziko South African National Gallery is open daily, except Monday from 10:00–17:00. Enquiries: Tel. 021 467 4660.
iziko michaelis collection
Dutch works in the Iziko South African National Gallery collections provide a setting and a context for Andrew Putter’s installation piece entitled Secretly I will love you more (2007), which was recently acquired for the Iziko Art Collections. The example of a contemporary South African artist using the Iziko Michaelis Collection as a base for a work of art that has cutting-edge relevance for the present indicates the valuable role our Dutch Old Master collections can play in the building of a new heritage. (left) Andrew Putter, Secretly I will love you more (2007). Video and sound installation.
Dutch Treat: Dutch works from the 17th–20th centuries in Iziko collections In this exhibition, highlights of Dutch art from the Iziko Michaelis Collection and many seldom-seen
Forty Years of Friendship: The Friends of the SA National Gallery: 1968–2008
celebratory exhibition of works of art that they have presented to the Gallery’s collections over the past four decades. While the exhibition emphasises exciting, newly-acquired works of contemporary South African art that are being shown for the very first time, it also reveals the quietly supportive role played by the FONG in building a very broad and representative collection for the nation over an extensive period. Without this loyal and proactive support, our collecting activities would have been greatly impoverished.
The Friends of the South African National Gallery (FONG) mark their 40th anniversary with this
(left) Brendhan Dickerson, Cannon Fodder (2006). Welded steel and carved jacaranda wood.
iziko south african national gallery
Auction of Fine & Decorative Arts, Jewels & Jewellery, Furniture, Ceramics & Books Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 August 2008
Gerard Sekoto (South African 1913-1993) TERUM GO ITSHEBA signed, canvas laid down on board 43,5 by 38,5cm executed 1946 Estimate: R2 000 000 – R3 000 000
Presale Viewings Friday 1 August 2008 12noon to 5pm Saturday 2 August 2008 10am to 12.30pm Sunday 3 August 2008 10am to 1pm & 2pm to 5pm Monday 4 August 2008 10am to 1pm Auction Tuesday 5 August 2008 2pm & 7pm Wednesday 6 August 2008 10am & 3pm Stephan Welz & Co. (Pty) Limited 13 Biermann Avenue corner Oxford Road, Rosebank Telephone 011 880 3125 firstname.lastname@example.org. za Catalogue can be viewed on our website www.swelco.co.za
The New Bell-Roberts Gallery: If Meaning Truly Matters weather House and facilitated the fixing-up (similar floor colour to Goodman Cape upstairs), reported that, among the hitches pre-opening, was the very same floor that had to be redone. Oh well, all opening nights have last-minute hitches. So what of the show-piece opening?
in-between. There’s a fair amount of matter like in ‘stuff’ - on show: the classic ‘found object’ medium reworked by the likes of Lynette Bester in her cheerful Hell’s Angel toy celebra tion, and the delightful, wacko constructions by French-born Philippe Bousquet. Like witty cartoons (he
Photography seems to be the stronger stuff on show, and also
Maybe the best think about the group show, which features new work by a number of established Bell-Roberts artists, as well as new names, is the title. It is so cleverly enigmatic, without the pretence so prevalent in current curatorial babble which sometimes sacrifice grammar for posture. The phrase Between Meaning and Matter actually seems get one to think about it - and whether there is something
was a jeweller), his mini sculptures are, well, so French, so Jacques Tati. And they complement Norman O’Flynn’s little mystery men, as if inviting them for a dance. To which the music could well have been Room to Roam, Jacques Coetzer’s odd video of a Scottish sing-song, except that the refrain was only audible through the earphones: always a bother.
(Left) Spacious new Bell-Roberts Gallery, (Middle) Norman O’Flynn: Border Ramblers - soap stone (Top) Brendan Bell- Roberts and Melvyn Minnaar, Top Middle and bottem: views of the new gallery.
By Melvyn Minnaar Local art luvvies - well, let’s say, those early birds who had their eyes on the Jameson, never mind the very large, very new Kevin Brand - were not too thrilled at having to share the Woodstock pavement with other hangersaround while the glass door to the spanking new gallery remained firmly closed. It was well after 40 minutes beyond the official kick-off on the invitation. But then Suzi - as she is lovingly known among the over-familiar and those with racy thoughts - threw back the latch of the new establishment, and the party could proceed with all due diligence that beholds the opening of an important new commercial art space.
(The Michael Stevenson’s opening party next door a few weeks earlier had already featured in Noseweek, so the scene was set for more arty ‘bites & pieces’, second time around.) With the expression ‘the bride is ever elegantly late’ quietly whispered to Mrs Bell Roberts, resplendent as usual, and framed by two very stiff flower arrangements (which may or may not have found a place under the evening’s show title), the crowd got over the locked-out-on-the-pavement awkwardness, and cruised the gleaming grey floor in search of what’s Between Meaning and Matter, the official opening group show. Gerald Phillips, who owns Fair-
arguing questions around the title more soundly. Talk of ‘meaning’. Anthony Strack’s images are wonderful, and one would except nothing less than style from Svea Josephy. Amelia Smith’s Kimberley mine print may be the most gritty
imagination of the show’s title. It’s great. Like the now-neighbouring galleries of the big art shots in Cape Town, the new Bell-Roberts space is grand, elegant, light - and ready to be invaded by talent. The opening collection is cool enough, but hardly adventurous.
EVERARD READ JOHANNESBURG
The Brait Foundation
Premier Dealers in Fine Art
Celebrating the winner of the
Brait - Everard Read Art Award 2008
FRANCKI BURGER ‘ B EL O N G I N G ’ 17 July - 3 August 2008
6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, Private Bag 5, Parklands, 2121, South Africa Tel: +27 11 788-4805 Fax: +27 11 788-5914 Email: email@example.com To arrange a preview, kindly contact the gallery or visit our website www.everard–read.co.za Gallery Hours: Monday to Friday 9am – 6pm Saturdays 9am –1pm Illustration: Francki Burger, Magersfontein II, hand-printed fibre based silver gelatin prints, 188 x 226cm
South African Art Times.
Nicola Danby: life after BASA
By Michael Coulson When I went to see Nicola Danby at Business & Arts SA – generally known as Basa – I reminded her that the last time I was there, we’d had to evacuate the building prematurely, because of a fire in a neighbouring office. She laughed and said the staff had been reminiscing about that only recently. Now Danby is about to evacuate the office permanently, not out of compulsion but because she’s resigned as Basa CEO with effect from the end of July. Having run Basa for 11 years, virtually since its inception, Danby feels she’s achieved as much for it as she can, and that it needs a fresh approach to advance to the next stage. She could also be forgiven if she’s had enough of the struggle of wheedling money out of big business, who prefer to sponsor such intellectually unchallenging but higher profile sports, like rugby. A study commissioned by Basa from BMI-Sport Info (Pty) last year suggested that direct sponsorship expenditure by business on sport sponsorship rose from R207m to R2bn-plus in 2006, while in 2007 arts and culture sponsorship drew R304m, of which R148m went into music. Danby reckons that sports sponsorship rose to R2.8bn last year. Apart from the direct spend, she puts additional, or leveraged, spending at R1.6bn on sport and R60m on arts and culture. Back in 2000, she estimates arts and culture sponsorship totalled R30m, with another R15m in leveraged spending. So business sponsorship of the arts has beaten inflation, but has barely grown as a percentage of the sponsorship cake.
BASA appoints new CEO The Board of Directors of Business & Arts South Africa is pleased to announce that Michelle Constant has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of BASA, effective 1st August, 2008 Well known as a media personality and arts journal-
This in spite of the fact that BMI-Sport Info found that, with only minor variations among race groups, adults polled felt that it’s as important for children to learn about arts and culture as sport. Danby stresses that, with its limited resources, Basa’s function is not to fund projects, but to encourage business to put up finance. And this in turn depends on persuading business that it will benefit from this spend. The annual Business Day-Basa sponsorship awards are a key way to recognise successful sponsorships. Fortunately, over the years she’s been at Basa business attitudes towards sponsoring the arts have changed significantly for the better. In 1997, Basa had 49 corporate members; today, 135. But, she argues, it’s not only the attitudes of the business sector that have to change. Arts organisations and creators like to pose as helpless, subservient creatures, divorced from the harsh disciplines of business. This too must change: the arts must be run in accordance with good corporate governance and sound business principles if they are to attract business support. If business doesn’t see that it will derive benefit from sponsoring the arts, it will go elsewhere. In 2001 Basa launched its first part-time interdisciplinary courses, in association with the Institute of Marketing Management, the Department of Arts & Culture, and the National Arts Council. Danby says the toughest task was to persuade not-for-profit bodies that they are still businesses; when achieved, the mere change in mindset was extraordinarily positive. Aspects like marketing and branding came to be appreciated as important. Building on this, three years ago Basa launched a mentoring project, in association with Barloworld. Executives agree to devote a few hours a week to consulting on projects, looking not just at the product but at areas like pricing and marketing. Danby says a spin-off is that the business people have not only been impressed by the energy, commitment and hard work put in by the arts practitioners, but have often come up with
ideas they can apply in their own companies. Two current projects are with the Institute of Directors on corporate governance in the arts, and with BEE rating agency Empowerdex. Danby says it’s important to develop a BEE template that meets the specific needs of arts and culture, as a BEE status will give funders credit on their own scorecards. Empowerdex’s data bank will also give access to a pool of potential black candidates for the boards of arts organisations, not just to give BEE credibility but also provide legal, financial, marketing and other skills. If Danby has one regret, it’s that Basa has been unable to negotiate with government tax concessions to arts donors, which have have had a very positive impact elsewhere. What drew her to Basa in the first place? After graduating from UCT, she lived abroad for 13 years. Returning to SA and Durban in 1984, she joined the municipally-funded Durban Arts Association as editor of d’Arts magazine and organiser of various arts projects. In 1987, she moved to Johannesburg as manager of the Vita arts awards, which covered the visual arts as well as craft, poetry, theatre, music, dance and other genres. No doubt 10 years of that demanding task was also exhausting, so when the Basa opportunity came up she applied, and got the job. And what’s next for Danby? She may feel she needs to be refereshed, and says she views the future with some trepidation. She doesn’t want to be a full-time employee again, but at the same time it’s difficult to leave a space you’ve been immersed in for so long. Danby says she’s already had a couple of attractive approaches, but she doesn’t want to jump in. Still, don’t be surprised if, pretty soon after she leaves Basa on July 31, she re-emerges in another dynamic arts initiative.
ist, Ms. Constant has extensive experience in radio and television both as producer and presenter. She brings her knowledge of both the arts and cultural sector and corporate South Africa to the position. BASA Chairman, Sikkie Kajee of KPMG, welcomes the appointment, saying: “Ms. Constant is a consummate professional in all
that she does, and the Board has no doubt she will continue to grow our activities around the country, for the benefit of business and the arts.” Ms Constant replaces Nicola Danby, who has successfully led BASA for the past 11 years and who will be pursuing personal interests in the sector.
Titia Ballot: Aktivis vir versoening In n onderhoud me the Burger koerant is aangekondig dat Titia Ballot pas met n erepenning deur die SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns vereer. Dit het nog net twee ander grafiese kunstenaars te beurt geval: Katrine Harries in 1973 en Diane Victor in 2004. Die kunstenaar se: “Ek het dit nie verwag nie, want dis hoe ek uit my belewenis my werk aanpak. Ek staan self krities teenoor my werk, en wat ek oordra, beleef ek intens”. Sy vertel hoe sy geworstel het met begrippe op soek na hierdie bevryde identiteit om Mrikaan of Afrikaner te wees. “My werk is my enigste kommunikasiemiddel. Ons moet werk met ons stories hier in Afrika.” Ballot is nou met proteskuns besig. Sy protesteer teen vooroordele oor ons gesamentlike verlede wat verdelend is. Sy pleit In haar werk vir bevryding. Die seggingskrag van haar werk is versoenend, met die potensiaal om helend in te werk.
Broken glass becomes a magnificent work of Ark “...and if one green bottle would accidentally fall, you would have, no green bottles hanging on the wall.” Artist Mary-Ann Orr has redefined this old nursery rhyme through a year long collaboration, with a group of underprivileged children creating livelihoods through municipal dumps within the Eastern Cape. Mary-Ann sources much of her own materials from found objects, spending her time sifting through local municipal rubbish dumps. While there she met children who’s livelihoods were dependant on these locations. She began collaborating with these children, and noticed their delicate eye for objects of beauty amongst the waste that inspired joy. Gradually a small menagerie of paired ceramic creatures were discovered, as if Mary-Ann’s team were excavating an archaeological midden from Noah’s Ark. Thus was born the breathtaking sculp-
ture, entitled The story-teller’s chair- Noah’s Ark. As perplexed as Noah with his Ark, after creating the chair Mary-Ann wondered, “what do I do with this work of ARK?” Having successfully exhibited the work within her gallery in Stellenbosch, Mary-Ann finally found the Mount Sinai to rest the chair. The chair has been donated to Biblioneef an NGO which sources African children stories and translates them into 12 South African languages. Large editions of top quality books are printed and then distributed for free to schools, libraries and organizations operational in underprivileged communities. The story ‘within’ the storyteller’s chair will be presented as an opening feature and live installation at the 2008 Cultavaria FNB Private Clients and De Kat exhibition at the KWV Cathedral Cellar in Paarl on the morning of the 27 September 2008 at 11:00
STOP PRESS Nicola Danby has joined Artinsure’s board with effect from 14 July, as reported from Gordon Massie.
We represent these artists:
Original Art, Etchings, Sculpture, Ceramics.
Ben Coutouvidis Alice Goldin Wendy Rosselli Lyn Smuts Phillipa Allen Hardy Botha Theo P. Vorster Judy Woodbourne David Riding Cecil Skotnes and others.
South African Art Times.
Bonhams next SA art sale expected to be biggest of its kind in the world Staff writer Bonhams fourth and largest sale of South African Art, consists of 450 lots divided into two sales, one at Bonhams in Knightsbridge on September 9 and one in Bonhams in Bond Street on September 10. The sale features the iconic Pierneef image, The Baobab Tree, which is estimated to sell for £300,000. While Charles Te Water was serving as the South African High Commissioner in London, Pierneef was given the commission to paint the murals for South Africa House in London. On 27 June 1933 the Pierneef family left Pretoria for London Pierneef completed the murals by May 1934 and accepted a further commission from Te Water to paint five works for the dining-room in South Africa House. The room was officially opened on 31 May 1934 and was known as the ‘Pierneef Room’.
Tay Dall, Artist
Good business is the best Art
By Tay Dall I am an artist and a businesswoman. I have been in business for 15 years. I run my office like any corporation only I am smaller. My business world consists of the following: A. Administration/ Employees B. Production/Paintings/Exhibitions C. Workshop/Art Materials/Canvases D. Logistics/ Transport E. Representatives/Galleries F. Marketing/Strategy Planning Andy Warhol said that ‘Being good at business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art’. I have been fortunate with my art because a lot of people have purchased my work over the years, but it has taken determination, risk, and consistently producing new work. There is no down time; there are phone
calls, shipments, exhibitions, marketing deadlines and business meetings to attend to. I have two galleries of my own called the Tay Modern in Hermanus and Greyton. I have 35 representatives with about 800 pieces of art in circulation worldwide. It’s a lot of effort to keep everything running smoothly, but I have no reason to believe that there is nothing else better than making a living doing what you love to do! Stats. So far in 2008 I have sold 91 works. Of the 91 works 47 sold to South Africans and 44 sold to overseas clients. This year my largest sale has been for a R59,000 art work. Paintings Sold 2005 – Sold 306 paintings 2006 – Sold 326 paintings 2007 – Sold 218 paintings 2008 – Sold 91 paintings
Destiny In 2007 I didn’t push my art as in previous years because I had a lot of important private and corporate commissions to give my focus to. In 2007 I sold 218 paintings ranging in value from R10,000 to R58,0000. Of the 218 paintings 148 sold to South Africans, 70 to overseas clients. I did 28 commissions with the largest work selling for R58,000. Of the 218 works, 110 were to direct clients and 108 were via galleries.
The Tay Modern - Hermanus No. 3 Long St. Hermanus Anton Neethling 072-980-9096 072-116-9029 tayd@hermanus. co.za www.taydall.com The Tay Modern - Greyton Greyt Oak No. 1 Main St. Greyton Joshua Rossouw 083-228-8651 072-116-9029 firstname.lastname@example.org www.taydall.com
Artist too nude for learners Teacher newspaper -. the Education Department disclosed that it has removed controversial artist Steven Cohen from the visual arts curriculum’s prescribed list, saying his works are not suitable for school learners.
See more of Steven’s work at www.davidkrutpublishing.com South African learners need to be protected from the naked truth, it seems. According to the The
Performance artist Cohen was removed from the list at the end of the first school term this year. The exclusion of Cohen, regarded as one of South Africa’s premier living artists sparked debate among the visual arts fraternity. Issues Cohen deals with include :
homophobia, racism, xenophobia, genocide and state repression. Bronwen Law-Viljoen of David Krut Publishing, the house which publishes Cohen’s art said she is certain schoolchildren could learn from Cohen’s work.”Just as one might say that children will learn something from looking at a Picasso painting”. What they take from his art depends on the context in which they are viewing the work, the guidance they are given by their teachers and the knowledge of art they already possess”.
In “The Teacher” Len Lordan, national examiner of art history at the Independent Examination Board, argued that it is imperative that students are exposed to such art forms. Lordan said learners face all forms of explicit material and Cohen addresses societal issues that are educationally sound to facilitate informed engagement. Lordan said she would rather teach Steven Cohen in the classroom than have learners accessing explicit content from magazines and other sources, that lack meaning.
This painting is unquestionably a product of Pierneef at his finest. The majestic baobab tree stands proud dominating the landscape, with the five people at the foot of the tree and the signs of human habitation in the background, dwarfed by comparison. It is reasonable to assume that The Baobab Tree was painted around 1934. The Bonhams South African Art Sales include the most significant collection of Irma Sterns yet seen in London, no fewer than 38 paintings. Giles Peppiatt, Head of South African Art at Bonhams, said of his next sale: “We have had such a growth of interest that we have had to extend the sale to two days and two venues to allow us to exhibit the works as they deserve. We are seeing a maturing market for South African Art with a greater appreciation by non South African buyers”.
Go for the best, advises antiques appraiser The Argus reported Paul Myson, the auctioneer and appraiser with Ashbeys Galleries in Cape Town, saying there is a large range of material that one can collect - from furniture and ceramics to glassware, silverware and memorabilia. For novice collectors, Myson suggests they follow a few basic rules. First, always buy from a reputable dealer, and insist upon a receipt with a full description of the item.
South African as well as the mternational contemporary art market have seen fantastic growth in the last few years, with world record prices achieved for a number of artists.
Second, compare prices of similar items that various dealers may have on offer, and third, ask if any restoration has been undertaken on the item, and if so, to what extent it has been restored.
At a recent auction South African works of art proved in demand, with a Maurice van Essche Nude fetching R145 000 and a Gregoire Boonzaier Still Life R130 000.
Condition is paramount when It comes to antiques. The reason they are so regarded and valuable is that they have survived the passage of time and If damaged they wifi be less desirable. On whether he thought art and antiques were a good alternative to the stock market, the Argus reported Myson advising “The
With the recent instability in the world financial markets as well as the ever increasing oil prices we would expect that the art market would reflect the sentiments held by investors.
Ashbeys Galleries are accepting entries for their next fine art and antiques auction on the August 22. VALUE: Piet van Heerden s Elim Street Scene, above left, went for R62 000; Frans Claerhout s Mother and Child R75, 000, and Maurice van Essche’ s Nude R145 000
South African Art Times.
fine collectable african art
The Old Tram Shed, Cnr Roberts & Kitchener Ave, Kensington PO Box 28267, Kensington, 2101 Tel: +27 11 622 6666 Cell: +27 79 213 3711 e-mail: email@example.com
You are cordially invited to
An exhibition of oil paintings by BENJAMIN MITCHLEY Host: The Arts Association of Bellville Guest speaker: Marina Eillers of www.southafricanartists.com
Exhibition opens Wednesday 23 July 2008, 18:30 for 19:00 Art Gallery, Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville, Cape Town Exhibition ends Wednesday 13 August 2008 THE ARTS ASSOCIATION OF BELLVILLE SITUATED IN BELLVILLE LIBRARY CENTRE CAREL VAN ASWEGEN STREET, BELLVILLE Tel; 021 918 2301 Fax; 021 918 2083 Web; www.artb.co.za Email; firstname.lastname@example.org Mon.- Thurs. 9am –8pm Fri. 9am –6am Sat. 9am –1pm
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: email@example.com Website: www.carmelart.co.za
Exclusive distributors of
Pieter van der Westhuizen etchings full selection on website
African Jewels Exhibition 24th July - 30th August
South African Art Times.
AROUND THE GALLERIES
Norman O’Flynn: The Butterfly Project - until 18 July at Blank Projects. “When will I be a butterfly?” the caterpillar asked. “When you have finished being a caterpillar,” the butterfly laughed.
Richard Hamilton A mirrorical return – part of the Masterworks Exhibition Goodman Gallery Jhb. Until 12 July
Kali A solo exhibition by Reshma Chhiba until Until 12 July 2008 at The Art Extra Gallery
Sibusiso Duma’s first solo show is at the AVA Gallery, Cape Town 14 July- 01 August. Image: Messenger
Legendary landscape artist Stydom van der Merwe has wrapped red material around selected historic oak trees in Stellenbosch as part of his latest installation. A total of 8 kilometres of red material was used. From The Bolander Newspaper. When enough people start saying the same thing.A solo exhibition by Michael MacGarry 16 July - 16 August 2008 Art Extra Julia Clark The Jellyfish Explosion. From Whatiftheworld Gallery: Prints and Editions Show Until 26 July
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: firstname.lastname@example.org www.houtstreetgallery.co.za Artwork: Peter Fincham, Afternoon Shadows
Joe Maseko (1940-) Three Washerwomen (detail) Acrylic on Board 445 x 595
The Philip Harper Galleries Hermanus, Western Cape www.thephilipharpergalleries.co.za We specialise in South African Art, both Old Masters and select Contemporary Artists, catering for both corporate and private clients Oudehof Mall, 167 Main Road, Hermanus, Tel: 028 3124836
www.arttimes.co.za • July 2008 • Issue 7 Vol 3 • SA Home subscription 180 p.a • July Print & Distrib. 11 000 copies • RSA free from sele...