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November 2008 • Issue 11 Vol 3 • Subscription RSA 180 p.a • November Print & Distrib. 7 000 copies • Full online version available at

Joburg Art Fair ‘09 - a more modest affair Artlogic have cut back spending and fallen back on sponsors, writes Mary Corrigall The Joburg Art Fair will run in 2009, confirmed Ross Douglas, the fair’s director and head of Artlogic, at a press briefing in Johannesburg last week.

Ross Douglas, director of Art Logic , has scaled back spending for the 2009 Joburg Art Fair, although it is expected that the fair would grow in size, Douglas implied that there was only a limited amount of reputable galleries in the country that could size up to the ethos of the fair. Photograph is of Ross Douglas at the opening of the Joburg Art Fair 08 earlier this year. Photo: John Hodgkiss

This wasn’t unexpected news given the accumulative R27-million sales garnered during its first three day run at the Sandton Convention Centre in March this year. However, while all the galleries did a roaring trade, Artlogic incurred a R1-million loss. Keen to turn the Joburg Art Fair (JAF) into a sustainable event Artlogic, therefore, has been forced to make a few alterations to the 2009 rendition. It was expected that the fair would grow in size, attracting more galleries for its second run but only two more galleries will be participating, bringing the total to 24. Douglas implied that there was only a limited amount of reputable galleries in the country that could size up to the ethos of the fair. “There are a number of ways we could make it sustainable; we could have opened the doors to other galleries and expanded the exhibition but we really only wanted quality galleries. So to make ourselves more sustainable we have had to look to sponsors,” commented Douglas. First National Bank (FNB) will once again sponsor the event, and Douglas hinted that a partnership with BMW might also be in the offing. Despite this backing Artlogic have decided to tighten the purse strings to make the 2nd fair more

financially viable. Artlogic wanted to kick the first art fair off with a bang but they were perhaps too extravagant, financing events around Joburg, observed Douglas. “We did a launch party at the old JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) and discussion sessions at the Alexandra Theatre in Braamfontein. We wanted to create a week-long event around the city. This year the focus is on creating attractions at the fair to keep people there.” Artlogic have somewhat scaled back all the attractions for the 2009 art fair. Instead of forking out a fortune for a world-renowned curator such as Simon Njami, who curated this year’s curated exhibition, the curated show for the 2009 art fair will be in the hands of a lesserknown but established international talent, Tumelo Mosaka, who currently holds a position as assistant curator at the Brooklyn Museum, New York. Instead of staging events around Joburg, the 2009 fair will present talks at the fair by participating galleries and two international speakers supported by the Goethe Institut and WISER. The featured artist of the 2009 fair will be Jane Alexander, whose installation, Security, which was originally commissioned for the 27th São Paulo Biennale, will be on view for South African audiences for the first time. •The 2nd Annual Joburg Art Fair is scheduled to run from April 3- 5 2009



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The South African

Art Times

South African Art Times. November 2008

‘Benign’ relationship melts under the spotlight

November 2008 Published monthly by

Global Art Information PO Box 15881 Vlaeberg, 8018 Tel. 021 424 7733 Fax. 021 424 7732 Editor: Gabriel Clark-Brown Advertising: Eugene Fisher Subscriptions: Bastienne Klein News: Shows: Artwork: Layout: seethestiffmightyfall

Deadlines for news, articles and advertising is the 20th of each month. The Art Times is published in the last week of each month. Newspaper rights: The newspaper reserves the right to reject any material that could be found offensive by its readers. Opinions and views expressed in the SA Art Times do not necessarily represent the official viewpoint of the editor, staff or publisher, while inclusion of advertising features does not imply the newspaper’s endorsement of any business, product or service. Copyright of the enclosed material in this publication is reserved.

Cover: Eric Laubscher Photo: Steve Kretzmann

A still from Hentie van der Merwe’s installation (right) that won him the SASOL Wax Award 08 By Mary Corrigall This article first appeared in the Sunday Independent The conflict between corporate sponsorship and art has dogged the Sasol Wax Art Award, reaching a crescendo in this, its third and final year. It wasn’t just Hentie van der Merwe’s winning work that made an overt assault on the corporate. It was also the recent brouhaha over Sasol’s other art initiative, the Sasol New Signatures Award, which saw the corporate giant distancing itself from the winning work, Richardt Strydom’s Familieportret 2, a supposedly risqué photograph, that also brought the politics of Sasol’s art sponsorship under question. The art world’s relationship with corporate South Africa has always been a love/hate affair; although corporates have stepped in to support art initiates in the absence of

government aid, their assistance has often come at a price. With the Sasol Wax Awards, the price has been high – artists were forced to produce either works in wax or use wax as the conceptual impetus for their art. Without a doubt, over the past three years there have been artists who have flourished under the artistic restraints of the competition, such as last year’s winner Walter Oltmann, the 2006 winner, Jeremy Wafer, and finalist Diane Victor. But the compromises that the competition demanded of the artists did not engender such satisfying results this year. The five finalists – Stephen Hobbs, Tracey Rose, Brett Murray, Avhashoni Mainganye and Van der Merwe – all responded to the competition’s brief in intriguing and unexpected ways but, ultimately, you have to wonder whether any of the artworks they produced have any value outside

of the competition. As one art aficionado observed: “There was nothing visually thrilling” to view. Perhaps Hobbs’s State has the most visual and expressive gravitas. State is an atmospheric video work that maps the metaphorical and physical regeneration and disintegration of a city. Focusing on the shadows of rudimentary scaffolding structures fashioned from wax, the cycle of reconstruction and devastation is played out over and over, transporting the viewer into an almost meditative state. This seems to suggest that although humans are instrumental in this cycle they are simultaneously powerless bystanders – we see no human intervention. Also implied is that a city is always trapped in a state of becoming – either ascending or degrad ng. Never static, it is unable to maintain its state of completion.

As it fluctuates between birth, death and rebirth, the city comes to mirror an order more common to nature. So, although cities are seen to be in conflict with nature, they follow an organic cycle that mimics the cycle of all living beings. State may be a natural extension of Hobbs’s artistic practice, which has always been concerned with urban issues, but it is not bubbling over with the usual heady concoction of themes that typically infuse his art. The point is that an artist of Hobbs’s calibre should not be hemmed in by any kind of thematic or technical regulation – nor should Brett Murray, whose work for the award was like a wry and one-dimensional advertising slogan. His large text piece, Power, is fashioned from candle stick holders and consists of the struggle mantra “Power to the People”. Lawrence Lemaoana also referred to this slogan in his recent solo exhibition. Clearly the

rate sponsorship is more direct. His video artwork is displayed in a corporate setting and shows a suited man giving a speech. He is standing in front of the company’s slogan, “Reaching New Frontiers”, and, speaking in Latin, he explains how bees make wax. This is a multilayered piece in which the corporate’s ambitions to be part of the future clash with the staid traditions of its capitalist outlook. The speaker also represents the artist, who communicates in a language that is unintelligible to the corporate world and needs translation. The content of the speech has no place in this setting, creating an incongruous and conflicted scene that parades as if it’s an established functional relationship. Van der Merwe suggests that it is in the official pageantry that the vexed and unbalanced relationship between the artist and corporate is glossed over. On the evening of the awards, Van der Merwe’s observations came to

phrase is coming to symbolise the disillusionment with the ANC and its betrayal of the values it once represented. Murray’s work refers explicitly to the load shedding of electricity, but it also obliquely pokes a finger at corporate sponsorship. Van der Merwe’s attack on corpo-

life in the trite speeches and corporate rituals that all but ignored the uncomfortable disconnect between art and business.

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• The Sasol Wax Art Award exhibition is atthe University of Johannesburg Art Gallery until November 5

South African Art Times.

November 2008

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Secrecy surrounds BMW - Marx settlement



Alexis Preller’s, “New Eden”

R 43 M for latest Swelco auction reflects stability in SA art - for now A second highest Swelco record of decorative and fine art auction sale was set in excess of R 43 Million by Swelco - Stephan Weltz & Co in association with Sothebys, Cape Town in it’s two day auction last week. Paintings alone yielded close on R39 million, accounting for 85% of the sale total. Despite negative financial indicators, these results indicate that the art market in South Africa is maintaining a stability. 19 new artist’s records were achieved including R1 680 000 for an Alexis Preller, “New Eden”, sold for five times its pre-sale estimate. Pierneef “Naderende Storm in die Bosveld” sold for R 3 136 000 The Stern market held strong: a record of R3 584 000 was achieved for a series of 14 works on paper depicting scenes on the French Riviera, a portrait titled “Woman in the Kitchen” fetched R4 480 000. Further artist’s records include Cecil Skotnes panel for R504 000. The next Swelco auction will be held in Johannesburg on November 11 and 12 in Rosebank, Johannesburg with over 1,100 lots of decorative art and fine art. For viewing and auction details see www.swelco

Patrick Burnett Gerhard Marx, the artist who reached an out-of-court settlement with BMW South Africa after he took the company to court over copyright infringement, has praised the support he recevied from the artistic community as “phenomenal”. However, the details of the settlement have remained tightly under wraps according to the terms of the agreement, with both Marx and BMW South Africa refusing to comment. Marx was claiming R1,5-million in damages from BMW South Africa over the use of an illustration technique that he developed in a 2006 advertising campaign. The case was set down for court on October 9, but the outof-court settlement was reached before the court date. And even though the art world has interpreted the settlement as a victory for artists, BMW spokesperson Benedict Maaga said, contrary to reports that the company had apologised to the artist, no apology had been issued “as there was no need to do so”. He said the matter had been settled “amicably” on the basis that the settlement agreement and its terms were kept confidential. “Without breaching the contents of the settlement which we need to abide by, it’s important to point out that we continue to be of the opinion that the advert did not infringe the artist’s copyright,” he said.

Before the settlement and at the time of the auction in September, Marx looked set for a drawn out – and expensive – legal battle. The event to raise money for his legal fees was billed as the David and Goliath auction and took place at The Bag Factory in Johannesburg. It raised R450,000 through the auction of donated works of art, some from the likes of William Kentridge. Contacted by South African Art Times, Marx was clearly relieved the case was over, but unable to comment on the details of the agreement. “That was mindblowing,” he said about the auction held to raise funds for his legal fees. “There was basically two weeks to do it in. It was phenomenal generosity on behalf of everyone.” He praised the David and Goliath auction for supporting him as an individual and the “unprecedented” support from his gallery, the Warren Siebrits Gallery. “Without that kind of financial support you really don’t have a footing to stand on,” he said. He said the David and Goliath fund would form a base to support artists in other copyright infringement cases. “I think for the artistic community, which is quite often seen as being individualistic, it was phenomenal to feel that kind of support.”

Speaking about the arts in general, he said he felt “strongly” that artists had a right to a private language, meaning that it became difficult when this was “suddenly thrown into the public sphere”. The Bag Factory education officer Bronwyn Lace said there was a “significant amount” that would remain in the David and Goliath fund for future situations involving copyright and for education programmes on copyright and plaguarism. “The most positive thing (to come out of the Marx case) has been the David and Goliath initiative and also that this (copyright infringement) is a serious issue in the art world and needs to be raised.” She said when copyright infringement took place artists and galleries often did not follow up because they knew they would be unable to compete with the legal fees that came with taking large companies to court. However, the damage done to artists could be extensive if the replicated work was of a poor quality as it gave the impression that the artist did not produce quality work. Lace said the out-of-court settlement was a warning to corporates that if they were interested in using artistic work in an advertisement then it would be better for them to engage with the individual artist.


Irma Stern ‘Still life with African sculptures’ - 1938

A showcase for the best of South African Masters, as well as some leading contemporary artists. Telephone: 021 423 6075 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:

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I adore Red

South African Art Times.

November 2008

– the outspoken autobiography of South African artist Jean Campbell points of departure to introduce readers to Campbell’s sources of inspiration and way of thinking and working. She writes that “everything that is transcendental is united in painting and music through the never-ending work of seeing by the artist.” Serious flaws in art teaching and public criticism are highlighted sufficiently for readers to realize that errors in judgement can and do occur but unlike in medical practice, mistakes don’t get buried and enemies are made.

Veronica Wilkinson. Informative and candid, this elegant soft cover volume about the work and life experiences of South African artist Jean Campbell contains significant art historical information. Her personal and professional relationships are exposed with an almost relentless honesty as the view we are permitted reveals a character that is both compassionate and vulnerable. Hers is an unashamed view of the sometimes ruthless ambition, pretension and prejudice inherent in the vested interests of some elements of the art milieu in South Africa. She names individuals and institutions responsible for

ART_TIMES_novTP.indd 1

her experiences which include encounters with a complex assort ment of characters; some profiting at the expense of a victim’s naivety and romanticism and other more sinister entities prioritizing personal political agendas above their official roles. She believes that her friendship with Vladimir Tretchikoff resulted in members of the small art movement known as the New Group led by Walter Batiss and Gregoire Boonzaier, influencing the decision to fail her final year at the Michaelis School of Fine art at the University of Cape Town in 1954. Anecdotes are interspersed with relevant art historical reference

Campbell’s first exhibition was in Cape Town in 1989 at the Gallery International run by Esther Rousso. She was accepted as a special student by the art school at the University of Stellenbosch as a mature student in her early forties after ten years as the guardian of Gabriella, the daughter of mercurial Le Roux Smith Le Roux who was once the temporary director at the Tate Gallery in London. Le Roux’s wife, Campbell’s friend, Charmian requested that Campbell become legal guardian to Gabriella before she died of an incurable blood disease in 1969. Trials and tribulations are laid bare to acquaint us with Campbell’s constraints during the years following as economic realities took centre stage. Many examples of her drawings and paintings are included in the book which asks questions like “Are artists pawns?” and spans the period from the 1940s to 2008. Her childhood experiences are shared in simple, direct language that also informs us about her

introduction to weaving in Pietermaritzburg, a practical solution to a taxing emotional conundrum complicated by geographical proximity to Gabriella’s domineering grandmother. This autobiography by indomitable artist Jean Campbell who was befriended by Vladimir Tretchikoff and often challenged by established individuals and hegemonic infrastructures in the South African art world makes for a thought provoking if slightly troubling read. Its relevance is all the more pertinent at a time when radical rethinking is taking place around the issues of education and standards necessary for competence. Campbell’s work is in private collections in South Africa and overseas and in the corporate collections of Rembrandt and Standard Bank among others. Arts lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Val Hill has written a warm foreword, laden with insight, to the book ‘I Adore Red’ published by Contemporary Art Publishers. ISBN -620-41920-9 The book is available through Exclusive Books, Clark’s Bookshop and Wordsworth or interested readers are invited to contact Lindsay Coutts directly at 021 686 6668 082 447 6262 or

Daniel Novela Art Studio

2008/10/20 01:05:53 PM

One of worth visiting art places in South Africa is the studio of Daniel Novela, one of the black landscape impressionists that South Africa has ever produced before. His studio is situated in Khuma between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom. Just one and half hour to drive from Johannesburg to see this humble international and highly gifted artist.

Daniel Novela in his studio

Sheep going home. Oil on canvas

To visit Daniel Novela art studio please book an appointment and for more information on how to get there or for a preview see: or email to or contact Daniel Novela at: Studio: +27 18 489 1780 Fax: +27 18 489 1777 Cell: +27 82 262 3600

This is an opportunity for all serious art collectors: individuals, groups, executive corporate, art galleries and Museum Curators, art auction Managing Directors and many others. Among those who have visited Novela studio is the world renowned Mr Carlos Parreira, the former BafanaBafana Coach as well as Mr Robert Du Preez the Managing Director of Mr Price who all have made a good collection of Daniel’s work.


Peter van Straten’s work entitled: Sky Marriage from his upcoming show: The Silence and the Bell, curated by Mark Read at The Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town starting 18 November 08


East London

Ann Bryant Art Gallery 06 – 22 Nov, Dikeni turned treasures solo exhibition, Ashwin Ramhith 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London T. 043 722 4044

Port Elizabeth

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum 09 Oct – 26 Nov, Africa Rifting/Bloodlines, Georgia PapaGeorge 04 Oct – 26 Nov, Relationships, Comparing British and South African collections 1 Park Drive, Port Elizabeth, Tel. (041) 586 1030,

Free State


Oliewenhuis Art Museum Until 13 Nov, Fractal Young artist exhibition. 14 Nov – 04 Jan 09, Anthology: a mid-career retrospective, Lien Botha. 24 Nov – 07 Dec, Planet Pixl, annual Student Exhibition 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein T. 051 447 9609



Apartheid Museum Until 31 Dec, Transitions, Paul Emmanuel Northern Parkway & Gold Reef Road Ormonde Ext. Art Extra 04 Nov – 13 Dec, Solo Exhibition, Wim Botha 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034,

Gallery MOMO Until 04 Nov, Group Exhibition. 06 Nov – 01 Dec, Life and Life’s Agony, Dumisane Mmabaso & Manfred Zylla 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg T. 011 327 3247 Goodman Gallery Until 15 Nov, Willie Bester. 20 Nov – 12 Dec, Real Beauty, Jodi Bieber 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, GordArt Gallery Until 15 Nov, D.A.R.K S.A.D.E., Musha Neluheni’s first solo exhibition GordArt Project Room Until 15 Nov, Lazy Eye – Group show curated by Michael Smith, Nare Mokgotho, Willie Simon, Phillip Johnson, Tracy Edser, Anthea Moys, Marcel Waldeck and Karin Preller. Until 15 Nov Before Moses, Louis Fourie, Dawid Ras Sus and Daan, Look and Paint 72 Third Avenue Melville, Johannesburg T. 011 726 8519 Johannesburg Art Gallery Until 01 Mar 09 Disturbance - An exhibition featuring Scandinavian and South African Contemporary Art. 04 Nov – 02 Feb 09, Artist at the Nando’s Project Room # 3, Themba Shibase. R30 Nov – 30 Mar Retrospective Exhibition -Thami Mnyele and Medu King George Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3180 Moja Modern Until 08 Nov, I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now, Wits Student Art Exhibition Obert Contemporary at Melrosearch Until 12 Nov, Yellow Lines, Kudzi Chiurai Rooke Gallery Until 30 Nov, A Claude Glass’: a photographic exhibition, Liam Lynch 37 Quinn Street Newtown Johannesburg,

Art on Paper 19 Oct – 08 Nov, Human Contellations, Kim Lieberman. 15 Nov – 06 Dec, Colin Richards 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf (Milpark), Tel. (011) 726 2234

Standard Bank Gallery Until Dec 06, Judith Mason Retrospective Exhibition Cnr. Simmonds & Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, 2001 Tel: 011 631-1889

Artspace - JHB 05 – 26 Nov, Jacob’s Ladder, Susan Woolf. 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, T. 011 482 1258

University of Johannesburg Arts Centre Gallery Until 05 Nov, SASOL Wax Art Award Tel. (011) 559 2099/2556, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park Kingsway campus cor Kingsway en Universiteits Rd, Auckland Park

Worldart MATHABO. Until 15 Nov 95 Commissioner Street Johannesburg T. 011 901 5045 David Krut Art Resources Until 10 Nov, Ryan Arenson. 15 Nov – 15 Dec Recent Editions, Bruce Backhouse 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627 Everard Read Gallery Jhb 06 – 30 Nov, Two un/related stories - A collaboration between Zwelethu Mthethwa and Louis Jansen van Vuuren 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg T. 011 788 4805

Warren Siebrits Modern & Contemporary Art Stefanus Rademeyer - Crystalline Variations. 6 November to 10 December 2008 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, Tel. (011) 327 0000


Alette Wessels Kunskamer Exhibition of Old Masters and selected leading contemporary artists. Maroelana Centre, Maroelana. GPS : S25º 46.748 EO28º 15.615 Tel: +27 (0)12 346 0728 Cell: 084 589 0711 Centurion Art Gallery 02 - 14 Nov, Watercolour Society, Tshwane Branch.

18 – 28 Nov, Magic Arts Show Tel: +27 (0)12 358 3477, Fried Contemporary Art Gallery 01 – 22 Nov, Imprinting the cradle, Janina Pechova. 25 – 26 Nov Studio exhibition & open day for classes. 29 Nov – 24 Jan 09 Paper + +, Pascual Tarazona, Lien Botha, Lindi Sales 430 Charles Str, Brooklyn, Pretoria Tel: 012 346 0158 Magpie Gallery Until 06 Nov, Enough Said, Works by Kobus Walker, Anna Stone, Craig Smith Shop 21B, Southdowns Shopping Centre, Centurion T. 012 665 1832 Pretoria Art Museum Tel:(012) 344 1807/8, PAM- South Gallery Until Dec 08, A story of South African Art. A selection of artworks from the permanent collection of the museum. Includes works of early 20th century painters. Resistance artists of the 1980s and artists of the 21st century PAM-North Gallery Until 21 Nov, Permanent Collection, A variety of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection PAM-Henry Preiss Hall Until 24 Nov, Artists by Artists, From the Museum’s permanent collection PAM-Albert Werth Hall Until 30 Nov, CANSA Exhibition, Sanna Swart, Lynette ten Krooden, Loeritha Saayman, Philip Badenhorst, Marthinus Höll, Nola van der Merwe and Guy du Toit PAM-East Gallery Until 02 Nov, For Sale Project Exhibition, The Art Museum’s Education Assistants’ annual exhibition UNISA Art Gallery 29 Nov – 16 Jan (closed 24 Dec – 04 Jan 09), UNISA final Year Visual Arts and Multimedia Students Exhibition Alice Art Gallery Hartbeespoort 15 – 16 Nov, Susan Greyling exhibits 110 Scottstraat, Schoemannsvlle,



Art Space - DBN Until 15 Nov, Loathing and Loving and Giving, Ceramics and Mosaics by Jane du Rand. Until 15 Nov, Diminutive - A group exhibition of miniatures. 24 Nov – 17 Jan 09, 6th Annual Affordable Art Show 3 Millar Road, Durban T. 031 312 0793, Bank Art Gallery 06 Nov – 06 Dec, Memento Mori , Bronwen Vaughan-Evans 217 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban T. 031 312 6911 Durban Art Gallery Until 31 Jan 09, Construct: Beyond the documentary Photograph, Curated by Heidi Erdmann and Jacob Lebeko. Featuring Roger Ballen, Zander Blom, Lien Botha, Jacques Coetzer, Abrie Fourie, Nomusa Makhubu, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Barbra Wildenboer, Dale Yudelman, Bernie Searle. Until 15 Feb 09, Indian Ink, Indian South Africans in the media: A photographic history of propaganda and resistance. 20 Nov – 18 Jan 09 Standard Bank Young Artist 2008: Lolo Veleko. 05-16 Nov Timbuktu Script & Scholarship.

Second Floor, City Hall, Smith Street, Durban, 031 3006238

T. 021 685 0676,

Kizo 18 Nov – 18 Dec, Meditating with Shamans 2, Dinkies Sithole Shop G350 Palm Boulevard Gateway Theatre of Shopping Umhlanga T. 031 566 4322

Erdmann Contemporary / Photographers Gallery 05 Nov – 05 Dec, Uncle Six Fingers, Jan Neethling. 03 Nov – 05 Dec, New Drawings, Johann Louw 63 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town T. 021 422 2762

KZNSA Gallery Until 09 Nov, Studio Solo exhibition – works by Cameron Platter. Until 09 Nov, Sakhisizwe Project- The art component of Lifeline Durban Prison Programme 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, T. 031 2023686,

Northern Cape Kimberly

William Humphreys Art Gallery Until 31 Dec, Lino-cut artists, Alan Grobler. Until 31 Dec, Photography, Marlene Neumann Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent, Kimberley, Tel. (053) 831 1724,

Western Cape

Cape Town

34 Long On 26 Nov, 19h00, Double Bill: Two art auctions in one evening! Viewing starts 04 Nov 34 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 426 4594, Alex Hamilton Art Studio 05 – 29 Nov, CAST & CREW, Alex Hamilton. Woodstock Industrial Park Art B Gallery 04 – 26 Nov, UNISA group students’ exhibition Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville T. 021 918 2301, Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Until 14 Nov, Ashes, Jost Kirsten. Until 14 Nov, Thicker Skin, Natasja de Wet. Second Childhood Peter Clarke 17 Nov – 05 Dec, A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, Eris Silke. 17 Nov – 05 Dec, 17 Nov – 05 Dec, Re-Turning Heroes, Paul Birchall 35 Church Street, Cape Town,Tel. (021) 424 7436, Bell-Roberts Contemporary Art Gallery Until 28 Nov, Convoluted Involvement, Pierre Fouché 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Blank Projects 5 November - 28 November: (opening Wednesday 5 November, 18h00), Kaffers’ Paradys , Vusi Beauchamp & Eric Rantisi 198 Buitengracht Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, Cape Gallery Until 15 Nov, Recent Oil Paintings, Peter Gray 60 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 423 5309, David Krut Publishing: Fine Art and Books Until Nov 20, Drawings and Editions, Ryan Arenson 31 Newlands Avenue, Cape Town

Everard Read Gallery - Cape Town 06 – 19 Nov, New Paintings, Zondi Skosana. 20 Nov – 04 Dec, Shany van den Berg / Wang Qingli A cultural exchange initiative including individual and collaborative works inspired by Van den Berg’s recent visit to China. Portswood Rd, V&A Waterfront Goodman Gallery, Cape Until 01 Nov, Clive van den Berg 08 – 29 Nov, New Paintings, Robert Hodgins 3rd Floor, Fairweather House 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, Cape Town T. 021 462 7573/4, Greatmore Studios 14/11/08, In Celebration of 10 YearsExhibition of donated artwork & a raffle draw. Greatmore Street, Salt River. Irma Stern Museum Until 06 Nov, Exhibition, Nichola Leigh & Diamond Bozas. 19 Nov – 06 Dec, The silence and the Bell- New Work by Peter Van Straten Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town T. 021 685 5686, Iziko South African National Gallery Until 16 Nov, Journey on a tightrope, Albert Adams. Until Jul 09, Scratches on the Face. Until 23 Nov Colouring American Photography Stephen Shore. Until 15 Mar 09, Voices of the Ancestors Government Avenue, Company’s Garden T. 021 467 4660, João Ferreira Gallery 26 Nov – 20 Dec, Naked, In Association with Mica Curitz (at 80 Hout Street Cape Town): Cathy Abraham & Jenny Schneider. 05 – 29 Nov, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings including Leon Vermeulen, Lauryn Arnott, Douglas Portway, Michael Taylor. 08 Oct – 01 Nov, Lyrical abstracts Part 2 of Michael Pettit’s double exhibition Loop Street, Cape Town Lindy van Niekerk Art Gallery From 02 Nov, Carla Bosch solo 33 Chantecler Avenue, Eversdal,Durbanville, Tel. (021) 913 7204/5, Michael Stevenson Contemporary Until 22 Nov, Double Edge & Fear of a Black Planet, Odili Donald Odita & Anton Kannemeyer 27 Nov – 10 Jan 09, 13th Annual Summer Exhibition - 10 projects including Nicholas Hlobo, Deborah Poynton, Zanele Muholi & David Goldblatt, plus Andrew Putter, Paul Edmunds and Daniel Naudé. Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town T. 021 462 1500 Salon91 Contemporary Art Collection 06 Nov – 02 Dec. Salon (1) - a meeting of like-minded people, Group Exhibition Kloof Street, Cape Town Sanlam Art Gallery Until 16 Jan 09, Decade Highlights

from 10 years of collecting 2 Strand Road, Bellville Tel. (021) 947 3359 Urban Contemporary Art Until 28 Nov. The Bijou burns again, various artists 46 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town T. 021 447 4132, What if the World… 05 – 29 Nov, How the troubles started, Wilhelm Saayman & Lizza Littlewort First floor, 208 Albert Road Woodstock T. 021 448 1438


Gallery Grande Provence Until 13 Nov, Paintings by Hannes van Zyl and ceramics by Ralph Johnson. 16 Nov – 09 Jan 09, Angels, Group Exhibition. Main Road Franschoek T. 021 876 8600

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


Art Karoo Until 21 Nov, Debut Solo, Etienne Van Zyl 92 Barron van Rheede Street.


Dorp Straat Gallery Until 28 Nov, New Works, Paintings by Jenny Parsons, Drawings by Greg Lourens, Sculptures by Stephen Rautenbach and Cermaics by Joy Savage 144 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 2256 Sasol Art Museum Until 29 Nov, An Eloquent Picture Gallery, Curated by Keith Dietrich 52 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch. 7600 University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery Until 15 Nov, Ceramics (solo), Ruan Hoffmann cnr of Bird and Dorp Streets, Stellenbosch SMAC Art Gallery 27 Nov – 15 Jan 09, Retrospective Exhibition, Fred Schimmel at 80 De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 3607 Stellenbosch Art Gallery Permanent exhibition of Conrad Theys, John Kramer, Gregoire Boonzaier, Adriaan Boshoff and other artists. 34 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch T. 021-8878343

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,


Around the Galleries

Dog II- 2008. Metal and mixed media assemblage by Willie Bester, showing at The Goodman Gallery Jhb until 15 November.

J is for Jacob and Jesus by Anton Kannemeyer from his Fear of a Black Planet showing at The Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town until 22 November

Work by Wilhelm Saayman & Lizza Littlewort from their looked forward to exhibition entitled: How the troubles started, showing at What if the world Gallery, Cape Town from 05 November

A work by Michael Pettit entitled: Night fall , oil on canvas shown at his Figurative paintings at AVA Gallery, Cape Town last month.

Geographic Dream | 2008 Wood, wax and pigment by Clive van den Berg from his show last month at The Goodman Gallery CT

A work by Stefanus Rademeyer from his show entitled: Crystalline Variations at The Warren Siebritz Gallery Jhb from 06 November 2008 to 10 December 2008

GREG KERR DRAWING AND PAINTING WORKSHOPS Booking for workshops in 2009 is now open. Classes will be held throughout the year in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth. For more information call Greg at 082 4111472 or 041 3662269 or email at

By Steve Kretzmann

“Would you like a drink?” asks Claude Bauscharain in her charming Swiss-French accent, referring to alcohol rather than tea. Although it is only the first time I’ve met her and her husband Erik Laubscher, who I had just interviewed, the invitation provides a glimpse into the gregarious and easy-going nature of these two artists. Although Erik has just crested the hill of 80 years of age, he and Claude nonetheless maintain a glint of youth in their gaze, if not their gait, likely from a life of exercising the intellect, and keeping the company of peers similarly graced with wit. In fact the almost legendary double storey house at number 6 Cheviot Place in Green Point in which they have lived for most of their adult life and in their younger years shared with the writer Jan Rabie and Marjorie Wallace, was regularly filled with visitors such as Etienne Leroux, Ingrid Jonker and Breyten Breytenbach, to name only a few. It likely hosted the kind of parties and lively discussions that would pale the better efforts of today’s sms and Facebook-obsessed set. For Erik, who brooked no compromise in his art and explored a wide range of the abstract in his painting – through Cubist beginnings, ‘pure’ abstraction, Hard Edge and touches of Expressionism and Surrealism – immersed himself into the Cape Town art world almost as soon as he returned from his final years of studies at the Académie Montmartre in Paris in 1950 which followed London in the late ‘40s. His frank nature, artistic ability and 24-year-old good looks gained him immediate acceptance into the somewhat small but nonetheless lively Cape Town art scene of the 50s, a scene he was to play an integral part in shaping over the next five decades. The paintings he produced over these decades challenged – like all good art does – the accepted modes of the time, and remain mesmerising, decades later. Cape Town of the 1950 and ‘60s was, by all accounts, rather parochial, with the public on the whole unwilling to accept anything more adventurous than a provincial ‘Cape Impressionism’ which regurgitated mountain sunsets, vineyards and thatched cottages, while Erik’s work was, and remains, largely abstract, with hardly a human figure to be found. Thus he did not sell well until the mid-‘70s he says. But in the 1950s, having been joined in Cape Town by Claude, the married couple needed to pay the rent, particularly as there were children on the way. His first foray into business, taking advantage of an offer by Maurice van Essche and George de Leon to run the Continental Art School, was not very successful. “I didn’t have any bloody business sense, really. One was sort of spending the money as it was more or less coming in. That didn’t last too too long,” he says with a chuckle. “Financial success probably came about ‘74 when I had gone through the acrylics cycle, which I was beginning to find a bit too easy. You take a bit of masking tape and you go zip zip and work out your colours. I thought that’s it! Now I must stop that. And I thought I must go back to oils and I must relax and just enjoy painting. And that exhibition did bloody well. But I had to do other things all my life.” Chief among the “other things” was following the suggestion of a

friend who worked as an agent for paint makers Plascon, to “do colour schemes”. And so started about 17 years of being what amounted to a glorified paint sales rep, but if there’s a trace of bitterness in Erik’s voice as he tells the tale, it’s not detectable. Having a steady income allowed him to maintain his integrity as an artist as he was never forced to produce work to please the predominant art market of the time, and allowed him to travel all over the Western Cape where he discovered many of magnificent landscapes which would become the abstracted subjects of later paintings. “I’d see all these abstract shapes in the wheatfields…it was quite a battle at first, I couldn’t get the bloody shapes to go…away (show perspective) and then slowly it came right. I would stop and I would look at them and draw them and see the certain little nuances that would come in.” In fact he quite enjoyed being free to roam the country encouraging people to paint their kitchen doors orange. “I had a nice car. I had a Volvo. You do 30 000 and then you get a new one. No speed limits, you’d be cruising at 80-90 miles an hour. Lekker.” But working “five and a half days” a week may have prevented him developing quite as much as he might have liked as an artist, especially since he only had evenings and Saturday afternoons in which to paint. Sundays were mostly given over to recovering from Saturday nights, he says with a laugh. Yet despite these constraints he managed to exhibit, solely and in groups both locally and abroad, and have work selected thrice for the Venice Biennale (1954, 1956 and 1958 from which he withdrew in a protest) and the 1957 Sao Paulo Bienale, plus arranging a non-governmental entry to the 1959 Sao Paolo Bienale. He also served on numerous art committees and institutions and was elected Western Cape Chairman of the SA Association of Arts in 1961 and was the first South African to be awarded a Carnegie grant to study art movements in the United States in 1966. Juggling corporate earnings and art finally came to an end, however, when he established the Ruth Prowse Art Centre in 1970, from which he only retired as principal in 1996 And even though the years are catching up with him, there’s more evidence of laugh lines than frown lines on his face, and he hasn’t stopped painting either. There are still oil paints staining his fingers and he talks of this and that painting which still need to be finished. But whether he produces new work or not, he has made an invaluable contribution to South African art and made the South African art scene much richer for his presence. And after a lifetime of struggling, somewhat successfully, for the proper recognition of the role of art in society, the only time regret tinges his voice is when he mentions he is no longer able to take his sketchbook and camera and go camping with his friends. *The Stellenbosch Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery (Smac) is imminently launching a book on the life of Erik Laubscher and will host his 80th retrospective exhibition next year. see for more details.

Eric Laubscher’s rich living

Eric Laubscher in his studio.

g legacy to South African Art

Images from l-r, top to bottom. Storm Clouds Klein Karoo, Landscape, Warm Maanligaand - Rooikoppe, Dorre Landskap, Namibia 2005, Stilllife-1949 Photo: Steve Kretzmann

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South African Art Times.

November 2008

Fanning the Flames What and who is fanning the eternal braai in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town

ART PIG Alex Dodd One of the juicier cultural byproducts to emerge out of Damien Hirst’s recent $198-million Sotheby’s auction was a crisp and catty debate between art critic Robert Hughes and writer Germaine Greer. When Hughes took a stand against Hirst, expressing the unpopular view that ‘art as spectacal loses meaning’, Greer went for the jugular, claiming that Hirst’s work was beyond Hughes’s analytical reach, and that his criticism of Hirst’s egomaniacal Bond Street greed fest was quite simply missing the point. ‘Hughes doesn’t understand a good deal of art – doesn’t get Basquiat or Baselitz, for example,’ wrote Greer in The Guardian. ‘What is being presented as aesthetic sensibility is, in fact, moralism, of a kind that has always bedevilled innovative artists.’ Personally, I think it is Greer who is missing the point. Just because lazy, hollow installations and mass-produced art objects are the flavour of the moment doesn’t mean we have to accept them in bent and cowered silence. In an age of the radical dematerialisation of the art object, in which concept tends to be king, I celebrate Hughes’s courage in boldly pointing out that the emperor is wearing no clothes. ‘No wonder so many business big shots go for Hirst: his work is both simpleminded and sensationalist, just the ticket for newbie collectors,’ he writes. Hughes is the only writer I know of to have pointed out the gross absurdity of Hirst’s prices – $12-million for a dead shark, $10 000 for a mere photograph of a diamond-encrusted skull – when half the hungry world would be happy to have a bit of old pickled shark fin for supper. To drive home her point, Greer satirises Hughes’s love of Lucian Freud, jeering at the fact of him being impressed by the laboriousness of Freud’s work. ‘Ha ha ha!’ jeers Greer from her invisible throne of contemporary derisiveness. But again, I’m with Hughes on this matter of labour. I may well be a child of the 20th century, but personal labour in art often impresses me. Evidence of sweat excites me – even more so of late, for recently I have witnessed two major art prizes (the MTN New Contemporaries and the Sasol Wax Art Award) being awarded to the most chilly, unaffecting installations I have had the displeasure and bewilderment of encountering. (As for the Sasol Wax Art Awards evening, pass the spittoon, Sheila. I haven’t endured a more awful evening since that ostrich farm in the Karoo, New Year’s Eve circa 1999. I thought nothing could be more dismal than the table ar-

Paul Emmanuel, Crowning: Detail from Transitions 3.

Transitions comprises a series of five ostensibly ‘photographic’ sequences of images which, when examined closely, are revealed to be drawings which have been sensitively hand-incised into photographic paper with a blade. You can’t help but marvel at the madness of sheer painstaking application. There is something miraculous in the object that stands before you – something magical, sublime and beyond the ordinary. But this superior level of draftsmanship is something I have come to expect from Emmanuel. It was his film, 3 SAI A Rite of Passage, that left me wordless. For he has managed to translate that excruciatingly sensitized essence of his drawings into a whole new medium. The film documents the head shaving of new recruits at the Third South African Infantry Battalion in Kimberley, one of two national military training camps, which still performs the obligatory hair shaving of new recruits. With its haunting soundtrack, it succeeds in taking the viewer out of flat documentary reality for 12 perfect minutes – and in that sublime stretch of time outside of time, the world becomes charged with emotional and symbolic resonances that render even the fleeting expression on a young boy’s face quite unforgettably nuanced. You’re in a stark mess hall in Kimberley circa 2008, but it might as well be Death in Venice.

THE ART COWBOY Peter Machen For those who live in, or even near the edges, of the art world, it is easy to forget that the narratives of art history are absent from most people’s reality. In the same way that only a small group of people are particularly interested in scientific paradigm shifts or noncontemporary cinema, most people are entirely unaware of the great confrontations that took place in art in the twentieth century. And more specifically, they really don’t care. At the same time, however, art is seen by many as something which needs to be properly understood in order to be appreciated. So when it comes to broadening the audience for art in South Africa, this conflict between not wanting to understand and needing to understand becomes a real problem. As a result, there are a great many people who might enjoy all that art has to offer, but instead keep well away from it. Of course, understanding has its own rich pleasures. But its absence shouldn’t stop you from experiencing art – or anything else for that matter. Personally, understanding trails experience by relative eons – with which I’m perfectly content. I’ll swim down a river first, and work out where I’ve been later. And if I’m heading for a waterfall, well, I’m not scared, it’s only art. All of this comes to mind because I’ve just finished writing a review of the show Silent | Listen by avantgarde sound-based activists UltraRed. It was a show that I liked, but which others found problematic, both because of its relatively obscure art historical references and the fact that it represents a specifically American reality. As well as a haunting cacophony of American voices talking about the Aids crisis, the show incorporated specific references to Robert Rauschenberg’s White Painting and 4”33’, the four minutes and thirty three seconds of silence which avant garde composer John Cage produced in response. Space prohibits an investigation of that relationship here but if you explored Silent | Listen without that knowledge, much of it would have passed you by. Which is both okay, or not okay, depending on who you talk to. The existence of the American voices in Ultra-Red’s work also pointed to another problematic dichotomy. We want to see international work, but we also want to see that same work as relevant to our own context. And, certainly if I saw Silent | Listen in a gallery in London or New York, where the avant garde finds audiences more naturally due to those city’s large

populations, I doubt that I would give much thought to its relevance. But that might also be some kind of reverse prejudice on my part because, at the same time, I’m seen many cutting edge events in local galleries that would struggle to find space in the United States arts world, where conservatism and radicalism experience far greater – and often politically fueled – conflict than they do in South Africa. Galleries have many functions, and given the increasing lack of public space in this globalised world, they represent, or are capable of representing, a replacement or substitute for the town hall. Admittedly, it is inevitably a somewhat rarified town hall but they nonetheless make excellent venues for public forums. This is partially because of their highly formalised structures and infrastructures, and partially because the parameters of conversation around art tend to be broader than anywhere else in the culture. If you are talking about crime, as a group of us were, also at the KZNSA a few Mondays ago, in a space where someone has publicly made chocolate moulds of their vulva, you’d imagine there’d be much scope for discussion. But while the speakers and topics were mostly fascinating, the audience was strangely muted. Perhaps we’ve discussed crime for so many years that it has moved on from the collective dinner table, replaced by the economy and just how poor everyone suddenly is. Or perhaps many people have already made up their minds about crime and criminals. I spoke to one woman who had been physically attacked but who didn’t raise her voice during the forums; she was vehemently in sympathy with Susan Shabangu’s “kill the bastards” comment. Another successful function took place at Bank Gallery a few weeks ago, where Paul Willemsen from the Brussels-based Argos Centre for Art and Media showed a quintet of fascinating films. Billed simply as non-narrative-based films, rather than video art, the works were

Shelly Silver. What I’m looking for. USA, 2004, colour, 15’00 – and here I am being allegorical more than literal – the work of art film-makers, rather than artists making films. It might seem like a silly distinction but the level of technical skill on display – even though it is mostly invisible – is absent from most of that discipline we call video art. And I am reminded of that old chestnut about Picasso being able to paint perfect realism. The truth is that film-makers – whether they are artists, directors or the countless teenagers around the planet who are embracing digital video in their bedrooms– need to learn to make films before they can make films. Pointing a camera at a clever idea is only occasionally enough, and the vast gulf between this small fragment of the Argos archive and so much contemporary audiovisual expression, is testament to that truth.

electricity box on the corner seems to accentuate the unfortunate revamp.

Alex Emsley

rangements, which agglomerated mirror balls with wooden hearts and cabbages dunked in wax, until the deputy minister of Arts and Culture, Ntombazana Botha, opened her mouth. It was all down hill from there.) But just as I was about to drown in a small flagon of post-modern despair, I set out on the M1 South to experience Paul Emmanuel’s current exhibition, Transitions, at the Apartheid Museum. A continuation of Emmanuel’s lifelong engagement with issues of masculinity, this exhibition is an exploration of ‘moments of shifting white male identity and liminal spaces’. Simultaneously humble and majestic, it entirely restored my faith in art’s capacity to awaken and transform. And left me with a desire to proselytize and punt, to encourage every likeable and deserving citizen of this mad republic to haul their asses down south for a dose of real profundity. If it was evidence of hard labour that I was after, I found it there in Emmanuel’s insanely dedicated drawing technique – the exhibition took the artist over four years to research and create. Not that personal effort is my sole criteria in assessing the power of an artwork. But when it is unavoidably, irrevocably evident, it does somehow make a difference.

THE ARTFUL VIEWER Melvyn Minnaar Dead Memorial Mid morning, on a sunny week day last month, Church square was surprisingly empty and quiet. The recently refurbished centre-city public space offered an eerie absence. Just a street away, the buzz of business was continuing as usual, but here the only people present comprised two tourists and a young family of four. Church square is one our truly historical spaces, surrounded as it is with buildings drenched in the politics of the past. The upgrading over the past year or so had seen the car park removed and a paving project executed. Just a few weeks before that summery day, the mayor had unveiled the city’s official slave memorial on the corner of the square. The concept of ‘giving the space back to the public’ seemed curiously at odds with the lack of passers-by on that bright morning. The tourists looked in their guide and took a half-hearted picture of the towering bronze statue of Hofmeyr, permanently fixed on facing the Groote Kerk’s back; the kids jumped up onto the stony boxes that form the new monument. The boarded-up, grand-old National Mutual building (to become the Iziko Social history centre) with its medieval-prison style burglar bars had a dodo presence. An empty stage, as it were. After giving a puzzled look at the new memorial (not in their guide book yet), the tourists moved on (towards admiring the beautiful frieze, half hidden on Parliament street-side of the Slave lodge). The boy, who jumped up on the bigger of the boxes quickly lost interest and moved on. Some controversy (so what is new?) surrounded the selection of Wilma Cruise and Gavin Younge’s proposal for the Slave memorial, but here it is: different-sized polished granite ‘boxes’ engraved with phrases that relate to the Cape’s slave history. With its reference to grave stones and heroic plinths, the new memorial, together with the unremitting dullness of the piazza, paved with those fake, cement cobblestones, seems to have turned the square into a funereal public space. The unfortunate banality of the grey

South Africa’s slave history is one of sad, darkest horror. Unfortunately, and to our shame, it has been ignored for generations. Hundreds of Capetonians who merrily wandered up Parliament street to take their places in that institution, or, on Sundays, sat in the front benches of the Groote Kerk, didn’t know or care about the Slave tree (still barely visible as marker in the middle of Spin street). At a symposium last month to mark the 200th anniversary of the Cape’s famous ‘Jij’ slave revolt, Iziko’s Jatti Bredenkamp rightly called the men under Louis, Abraham and Adonis the country’s first ‘freedom fighters’. Some were executed for the rebellion. Yet only in recent times have South Africa’s bleak slave history seeped into general historical knowledge. Coming to terms with and memorialising it, is difficult - as the new memorial is proving. The ‘boxes’ are simply dead and dull - weighed down by an air of contrivance. When that pretty old colonial baroque edifice nearby was renamed ‘Slave lodge’, the irony seemed uncomfortable and provocatively calculated. (Not that some fine exhibitions haven’t been offered there.) The new monument has a similar air of superficiality. Slave memory deserves more subtle compassion, less gesture, denser consideration. It is proving to be difficult to grasp in (conventional) aesthetic terms. The Cruise/Younge design understood that a minimalist approach is perhaps the only way in. Abstraction is preferable when one cannot claim to speak for those different and long gone. But ideas on paper don’t always work on the streets where we live and work. Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust memorial in the heart of Berlin (from which the present designers surely took a cue) also reference burial markings, but there the entire block had become an abstract cemetery, forcing the public to negotiate the spaces - and, by implication, to confront the horrors of history. Cape Town’s effort to commemorate the tragedy of slavery was never going to be easy. Obviously the last thing to do would have been to utilise the means and manner of traditional colonial monuments (bronze, etc). But, for now, the solution hasn’t quite been found. Unless we want Church square to be permanently one large void.

South African Art Times.

November 2008

Work from a collaboration show between Zwelethu Mthethwa and Louis Jansen van Vuuren’s entitled un/related stories” shows at the Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg.

Page 11

Dylan Lewis works on one of his works for his show entitled From Animal to Human, showing at the Rupert Museum in Stellenbosch. Show runs until 30 April 09.

Irma Stern “Still life of Blossoms in Vase” Oil on Canvas

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South African Art Times.

November 2008

Art Community Profile: Clive Kellner Michael Coulson chats with Clive Kellner and his new role

Clive Kellner Clive Kellner reckons the optimum period to run a major art institution is 10 years. So why is he quitting as head of the Johannesburg Art Gallery after only four-and-a-half years, participating in an exodus that – for various reasons – is seeing the departure of the heads of almost all SA’s major public galleries? It would be tempting to see this as

a result of the frustrations of working anywhere in the public sector at the moment, but Kellner is more diplomatic. “It’s the right time, both for me and the institution. I like to build and fix things, not just maintain them. Despite the challenges of the lack of resources, I believe we’ve managed to turn JAG around after a somewhat subdued phase, and

Photo: John Hodgkiss made an impression on not just the African, but the world stage. “But I sense that in the current climate a change is necessary, for both our sakes.” Though he’s reluctant to be drawn on his future, saying that other developments could also be in the pipeline, it’s no secret that he may join forces with Gordon Schachat of African Bank Investments, a

major collector and patron of the arts. At the same time, reading between the lines it’s clear that he’s unhappy with the lack of support JAG receives from the Jo’burg Metro, in common with our other public galleries. No municipal money has been made available to supplement the collection for money years, though JAG has one advantage over its peers: an endowment from Anglo American, which at present generates about R700 000 a year for purchases. When I point out that at current rates that will buy about half a Pierneef, Kellner concurs. “But that’s not what we’re doing. There are gaps we need to plug in our historic collection, but we must spot the younger emerging artists, that aren’t overpriced. “Fifteen years ago we bought a number of Sekotos and Irma Sterns at what were still affordable prices. In 1981 the then director, the late Pat Senior, was able to buy works by Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein from major commercial galleries in London for tens of thousands of dollars. “They were sent out by courier in plain cardboard tubes – today

they’d have to be accompanied by armed guards! That sort of talent spotting is what all galleries have to do. We’re continually searching for future trends, and we’re also looking at photography – we’ve recently been buying David Goldblatt, for example. “And we’re already loaning out works by emerging artists to major international museums – that’s both positive and significant.” For all the frustrations, he insists “It’s an extraordinary privilege to have managed this institution. We own 9 000 works, and the responsibility of caring for them gives one a sense of purpose and mission, as well as constantly reminding us of their historic significance.” He has no doubt about the major achievements of his tenure: the Kentridge show and Africa Remix. More prosaically, JAG has also completed the first-ever comprehensive cataloguing of the collection. Kellner could easily have become an artist rather than a curator. He studied art history and studio practice, and won an award to Paris, where he says his education really started. He and a friend spent a year backpacking around Europe’s art centres: Paris, Rome, Basel

(the Dokumenta) and elsewhere opened up a whole new range of possibilities. He began to understand the power of big exhibitions, triggering a change in his mindset from maker to curator. On his return to SA, he joined the ANC Youth League and worked for MK and the Women’s League. The artistic breakthrough came when he joined an 18-month curator’s programme for the first Johannesburg Biennale, with Jean Hubert Martin; then came a 9-month programme at De Appel, in Amsterdam, which was largely an introduction to the politics of the art world. The final stage of his transition into a curator was being part of the management team of the second Johannesburg Biennale in 199798, with curator Okwui Enwezor. Between then and joining JAG in 2004, the highlight of his career was running Camouflage, a nonprofit art centre in Johannesburg and Brussels, until its sponsor fell out, through illness. Now he faces new challenges, but whether in association with Gordon Schachat or elsewhere, you can be sure the art world has not heard the last of him.

Obituary: Peter Schutz 1942- 2008 Jill Waterman Peter Schutz, sculptor and teacher, died of cancer at his home in KwaZulu-Natal on 15 October 2008. Born in Glogau, Germany, 1942, Schutz obtained a BA(FA) Honours and MA(FA) Natal University, Durban in 1982. He won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1984, the Cape Town Triennial Gold Medal in 1988 and represented South Africa in Chile and in Morocco at official presentations. He taught at major tertiary educational institutions including the Technikon Natal and the University of the Witwatersrand, and maintained fully equipped sculpture studios at Wits and in KwaZulu-Natal up to the last three months of his life. Schutz’s work is held in innumerous galleries, nationally and internationally, including Durban Municipal Art Museum, Atlantis/ Mariposa, Johannesburg Art Gal-

lery and corporate collections such as the Telkom, Sasol and Chase Manhattan Bank collections. He participated in group exhibitions with luminaries such as Penny Siopis, Walter Oltman and Neels Coetzee; and held solo exhibitions – in September 1998, Icons and Idols, Schutz @ 60 in 2003, Extraordinary People in 2004, and Sentient Beings in 2007. His long association with the Goodman Gallery positioned him as one of the major contemporary artists of South Africa, capable of speaking to the universal while maintaining a strong sense of the particular in the iconography of his work. For example, Durban Icon, in the permanent collection of the Durban Art Gallery, honours the rickshaw man – the work of a common labourer, with a halo and flames of light. Understanding the sacred within the commonplace, and presenting these images was a hallmark of his work. Female form and mythology became a major interest in his last

years with works like: Perpetual Light, Crouching Woman, A Piece of Blue Sky, Madonna of the Precious Blood, Goddess of Vegetation, Invocation to Light. A feature of this work was to create an inviting tension between images of spiritually and lightheartedness. He found peace and profundity in nature wherever he was and organic life forms were constantly emerging from his work – tempered by some Bavarian restraint perhaps, but prolific and joyous nevertheless. Although he traveled frequently and visited major art fairs internationally, his major works always referred to the African context within which his post-war family made home. Mythic, legendary and religious inspirations came from across the board – Lakshmi, the Madonna, bleeding hearts from the tattoo parlous – all brought their own particular richness of reverence and reality. His preferred medium was wood but he also worked frequently with

Malcolm Christian at Caversham Press, re-creating his 3 D images into graphics that had a simplicity of their own. His approach to his work was as idiosyncratic as his personality – he brooked no compromise of craftsmanship, and only emerged from his solitude to keep steadfast company with a few but distinguished colleagues. Schutz said of his work: “I take pleasure in the physical side of sculpture and like to honour the old methods of craftsmanship with contemporary manipulations, allowing the work to evolve beyond the original concept.” Peter is remembered with great love by his life partner Jill Waterman; sister Heidi and brother-inlaw Peter Kurth; his nieces Gabi and Susi and their husbands Torsten and Herbert; and their children Katherina, Benedikt, Laura, Johanna and Franziska.

Financial crisis hasn’t hit art market too hard, yet From Business Report, Alternative Investment, By Michael Killeen As the stock markets continue to gyrate, the Mary Boone gallery off Manhattan’s 57th Street just closed an exhibition of John Altoon’s ribald watercolours and oils, after selling five for prices ranging from $ 10 000 (Rl00 800) to $60 000. “I can’t say that we’ve noticed any direct response yet” to the financial turmoil, said Ron Warren, a gallery director and partner. “I would expect that we will, but we remain optimistic”. He said the gallery’s usual clients from

the financial world “haven’t been interested in looking at work or interested in buying it. But I think as things settle down, they will be back” Other galleries on the city’s main uptown art street also report that business isn’t bad, but not quite as usual. The Bonni Benrubi gallery was well attended on two different afternoons, with people eyeballing and buying camera obscura images by Abelardo Morell priced from $3000 to $20 000. “We have sold quite a few pieces to financial people,” said gallery president Bonni Benrubi. “I think the blue chip, tried and true,

established work, at least here, is doing really well.” Emerging or unknown artists are another matter. “There is less impulse for something that isn’t established,” he said. At the Laurence Miller gallery, which specializes in modern and contemporary photography director Laurence Miller said clients’ reactions to Wall Street’s woes had varied. “We are dealing with few collectors who are in the highest level of economics and wealth in the country and it doesn’t affect them,” Miller said. He noted, though that “clients who are money managers are not

answering ther phones”. A survivor of three recessions, Miller said: “Interestingly each time, as people scale back, they scale back into photography.” “ There is always an upside to things,” said Warren at the Mary Boone gallery, “If artists are not able to sell things so readily, they will think less about making work for the market and will ask themselves what they really want to express.” Michael Killeen is an art critic for Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.

St. Columban II 2007 Jelutong wood, found object and Oil colour Photo courtesy The Goodman Gallery Cape Town

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South African Art Times.

November 2008

The Greatmore Studios celebrate 10 years

By David Koloane The post 94 era in South Africa was an optimistic period consumed by fervent quest for a new form of identity within the broader cultural sphere. This optimism was further buoyed by the introduction of an arts and culture portfolio for the first time in the government. The paradox however was that most of the informal art centers in the major centers of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town who were the custodians of culture during the apartheid era were grossly neglected to the extent some like the community project in Cape Town folded with all the illustrious history of resistance and the legendary artists it produced. Other centers equally affected included the Nyanga, Fuba and the Open school in Johannesburg. The historical Rorkesdrift in Kwazulu Natal defied numerous efforts of revival by various groupings. The Thupelo art project initiated annual workshops from 19851991. The workshops were convened in the Alpha training centre just outside Johannesburg. The Thupelo workshop programme comprised participants from different t areas of the country and varied provinces as well. The primary objective of this strategy was to encourage as many collectives as possible around the country with a view of initiating programmes relevant to specific areas. As per example inspiring artists from the Venda , Limpopo area to bring together artists who work with wood or clay in a workshop situation. Of all the regional components which participated in the workshops, it was the Cape Town group who were better organized and more effective as a unit. It was not surprising that when the Johannesburg component decided

to suspend the workshop programme in order to concentrate on the establishment of the collective studio concept popularly referred to as the Bag Factory, Cape Town immediately became the venue for the annual Thupelo workshop. The Bag Factory formally known as the Fordsburg artists studios were launched in 1991 and the residency programme in 1997. The Woodstock area in Cape

Town was one of the notorious drug zones similar to Mitchell’s Plain and Mannenberg. The Cape Town contingency comprised a committed group which included Velile Soha, Jill Trappler Lionel Davis and Garth Erasmus. The Greatmore street studios have hosted some of the most innovative in its residency programme such as the late Billy Mandindi, Sophie Peters and Xolile Mtyakata. In 1982 an event took place in Gaborone Botswana coordinated by the exiled Medu cultural ensemble of the then banned ANC Movement The event was known as the culture and resistance conference attended by a variety of organizations political and liberation movements locally and internationally as well as as artists of all kinds of

persuasions. A number of significant resolutions were passed which had far reaching consequences. These included the consensus that art should be employed as a weapon in the struggle against apartheid and that artists should align themselves with various formations of solidarity with the struggle.

The culture and resistance conference was in essence the first event to bring black and white South African artists face to face for the first time. It was in a similar spirit that the Bag Factory studio concept became an integrated space where artists from different cultural backgrounds worked together as equals for the first time in South Africa. The Greatmore studios set a precedent by moving into potentially no-go area of the city and creating an oasis of stability as has happened internationally with cities such as New York, London and Berlin. These areas eventually become gentrified and beyond the reach of the locals. Woodstock has suddenly become trendy, arty and upmarket with the

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Goodman and Michael Stevenson having recently set up galleries there. The late Madi Phala was one the artists who were regular participants of the Thupelo workshop programme in Johannesburg and was an integral component of the project. Madi who was a teacher by profession exuded charm and charisma which was preceded by a joy –of-life laughter and he became a livewire of the Cape Town art scene during his brief sojourn there. Madi Phala had prior to the Greatmore residency been trapped in teaching situation in the East rand township of Kwa Thema in order to make ends meet and in the process his creative ability had reached its lowest ebb. Madi’s residency at the Greatmore studios brought in its wake a reawakening and a creative resurgence in his work and he played a pivotal role in the Cape Town art scene,

Walter Battiss (1906-1982), oil on canvas, Gathering, 60x90 (detail) CM Estimate R400 000-R600 000

5th AVENUE FINE ART AUCTIONEERS Regular catalogued auctions of fine art, antiques sculptures and collectables. Next auction on Sunday 30 November 2008 at 10 am Closing date for entries for November auction is 15 November 2008

Eusabius Nawa, soft spoken unassuming and deeply committed to his profession was a miner in Welkom in the Free State who at had an urge to draw. After an initial residency at the Bag Factory he was invited to Greatmore and his creativity soared and he has since become a vital component of the Cape Town exhibition circuit.

Auction rooms address: 404 Jan Smuts Avenue, Craighall Park, Johannesburg. Tel. 011 - 7812040 Fax 011 7877593 Website: Enquiries:

DECADE Sanlam Art Gallery Strand Road, Bellville Tel: 021 947 3359 For more information call the Sanlam Art Collection Tel: 021 947 3359 / 083 457 2699


from 10 Years of Collecting for the Sanlam Art Collection

22 July 2008 – 16 January 2009 Monday – Friday 09:00 – 16:30



Artlogic have cut back spending and fallen back on sponsors, writes Mary Corrigall November 2008 • Issue 11 Vol 3 • Subscription RSA 180 p.a...


Artlogic have cut back spending and fallen back on sponsors, writes Mary Corrigall November 2008 • Issue 11 Vol 3 • Subscription RSA 180 p.a...