THE SOUTH AFRICAN
October 2008 • Issue 10 Vol 3 • Subscription RSA 180 p.a • October Print & Distrib. 7 000 copies • Full online version available at www.arttimes.co.za
A still from Paul Emmanuel’s 3 SAI a Rite of Passage 12 minute film that is currently taking the art world by storm. See page 12
LI T UA Y
MINIMUM SHRINKAGE ON DRYING
South African Art Times.
EDITORIAL This month the Standard Bank Gallery hosts Judith Mason’s retrospective exhibition, what a treat for all our demons. In having said this, Judith, I have realized, is a very shy and extremely caring person who has a deep concern and love for humanity. On a website compiled by one of her children an image of her is indexed as “momport” which for me says that her tender relationship is reflected with love and the image isn’t titled “WorldFamousRockstar” as could be a suitable image title for Damian Hirst,
The South African
Art Times October 2008 www.arttimes.co.za Published monthly by
Global Art Information PO Box 15881 Vlaeberg, 8018 Tel. 021 424 7733 Fax. 021 424 7732 Editor: Gabriel Clark-Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Leone Rouse email@example.com Subscriptions: Bastienne Klein firstname.lastname@example.org News: email@example.com Shows: firstname.lastname@example.org Artwork: email@example.com Layout: itsalrightnowmedia Deadlines for news, articles and classifieds 20th of each month The Art Times is published in the first week of each month. News and advertising material need to be with the news and marketing managers by the 15th- 20th 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.
who has briefly rocked the art market out of its depression - for now. In terms of rocking it seems to that succession battles haven’t yet ended with Zuma this month, as mist and shadows surround both the country’s leading institutions as both the National Gallery and Joburg Art Gallery are looking for suitable new directors. Word has it that we are down to a few names on the SANG but a furious battle rages at the JAG. Some parties it may seem, want a token head, a celebrity that will schmooze with ministers and look good in photos. Personally, warts and all do it for me, in my mind South Africa has to embrace change, from the inside out,.What we need is someone with a strong sense of management but with a good sense
of knowing and respecting who we are, were we came from and hardest of all where we all would like to go. Lastly my congratulations to the David and Goliath Auction in Joburg last week. Well done to all parties in raising R 450 000 for legal fees. Maybe Johannesburg has got some spunk in getting it together now both with the Joburg Art Fair and this auction manifests a healthy unity in tacking serious issues. I must say that the rare times when walking into Mr Price, I wonder who is flavour of the month in terms of SA artists being copied and not credited. Maybe it’s time for Vansa – or someone else to start getting something going here for working for more legal rights for artists.
Count Labia wins battle - but at a cost Patrick Burnett Count Natale Labia has won his bid to have his childhood home returned to him by the government. Labia had donated the property – the Natale Labia Museum in Muizenberg – to the government in 1985 for use as a museum. But the museum was later closed in 2004. Labia maintained this was in breach of contract and the property, a 20-room Venetian manor built by his father and overlooking False Bay, should therefore be returned to him by the Department of Public Works. The museum was built by Labia’s father and he lived in the house during his teenage years in the 1930s. The matter was set down in the Cape High Court for September 9, but was prevented from going to court due to an out of court settlement. In terms of the settlement, Labia was entitled to take possession of the property and the govern-
ment undertook to pay to have it transferred to Labia’s name by May 2009. “I am very pleased that it all went well and justice had been done,” said Labia. “I am glad the ownership has come back to me. I’ll look at what is possible to keep it going [as a museum] but there are major problems, especially in terms of parking.” Other issues that formed part of the original case included Labia seeking compensation for the sale of an adjacent piece of land next to the museum, which was sold for R50,000 and later resold, together with other land, for R950,000. Labia was asking for compensation for this land. However, Labia said in order to avoid going to court he had agreed to fore-go the compensation claim. Another matter involved compensation for the loss of an 18th Century painting by James Stark. This, he said, was still in the process of negotiation
Formidable new art auction house launched with industry heavyweights Michael Coulson The established art auction houses are about to face a new challenger backed by substantial capital and the expertise of the doyen of the industry, Stefan Welz. Newly formed Strauss & Co is already working on its first sale, to be held at the Johannesburg Country Club on March 9. The “Strauss” of the company is director Conrad Strauss, an economist by training whose long career at Standard Bank culminated in his assumption of the chair, from 1992-2000. He was instrumental in sponsorships like Standard Bank Gallery and the Standard Bank Young Artists Award. While Strauss is one of the backers, a larger share of the capital has been put up by chairman (the term she prefers) Elisabeth Bradley, daughter of industrialist Albert Wessels, whose family recently sold out of major investments in Toyota SA and Johannesburg’s Rosebank Hotel. Apart from Welz, the two main players are Mary-Jane Darroll (executive director) and Francis Antonie (MD). Darroll – generally known as MJ in the art world – has a wealth of experience, including many years at Welz’s former company, Stefan Welz in Association with Sotheby’s, and more recently with the Everard Read Gallery in Johanesburg. Antonie, a Wits graduate in politics and law, later studied music in London and Paris and has had a lifelong interest in art; his CV includes spells as an
economist with Standard Bank and director of the Wits Management School. With the name Welz unavailable, MJ says Strauss was chosen as carrying both English and Afrikaans connotations at home, as well as being familiar abroad and easy to remember, and having associations with the music world. Antonie adds that it was their idea, and Conrad almost fell over backwards when it was proposed that the firm take his name. Does Stefan’s re-entry into business immediately after the expiry of his 18-month restraint of trade agreement with his old firm mean that he was sorry he sold? “Definitely not,” he says. “It took a hell of a weight off my mind at a time when I was seriously ill. I had every intention of going farming, but then I was presented out of the blue with an unexpected land claim. So when my health improved and these guys approached me, I didn’t take much persuading.” He adds, though, that he’s disappointed with the general level of expertise in the market at the moment, and makes it clear that his business philosophy differs from that of the new owners of his old business. But he denies the rumour that he’d made an approach to buy it back, saying that literally the only communication between them since the sale was an exchange of lawyer’s letters over a charity auction he’d agreed
to run before he sold. When we spoke, incidentally, Welz was just back from running the annual Nederburg wine auction, which was specifically excluded from his restraint agreement. Strauss has taken about 530 sq m in a brand new building in Houghton, still being decorated in sleek black, silver and grey. MJ says that it was in New York that she first saw auction houses break away from the traditional staid Victorian ambience, and was keen to replicate this modernist approach. It’s a large space, and though two or three mainstream auctions a year off-site will be the main focus, Strauss may use it for smaller exhibitions or sales, talks, or cocktail functions. MJ says they’d like to fill the gap in art education and promotion that local museums, unlike their counterparts abroad, have left vacant. Strauss intends to compete on price as well as quantity, setting both the seller’s commission and buyer’s premium at 10% each. At Welz/Sotheby, both range from 12%-17%, though 12% would be the rate for most art works. Add that to the wide respect MJ and Stefan command, and they’re certain to be serious contenders. Indeed, they’ve already had an impact, to judge by Welz/Sotheby’s cancellation of its planned sale of contemporary SA art and rumoured telescoping of some upcoming sales into one.
Custom Stretched Canvasses Hand made Easels Painting & print stretching Free delivery within Cape area
Tel: 021 448 2799 Fax: 021 448 2797 firstname.lastname@example.org www.artstuff.co.za
Artist: Ann Gadd
ArtStuff now available on the Garden Route Call Paul Tunmer 083 2610084
South African Art Times.
JOHANS BORMAN FINE ART GALLERY
CAPE TOWN Giles Peppiatt takes the hammer at the latest Bonhams auction. Photo from Bonhams
Latest Bonhams sale confirms relative strength of blue chip SA Masters Michael Coulson Behind all the superlatives, there were some warning signs at Bonhams’ latest London sale of SA art. True, Pierneef’s magisterial The Baobab Tree fetched £ 826 400*, well above the previous auction record for SA art of about £ 500 000, for an Irma Stern at a previous sale, and almost three times the top of the £ 200 000-£ 300 000 estimate. True, too, the sale grossed £ 7.1m, £ 2m more than Bonhams’ January sale, but a high percentage of items remained unsold and there were a large number of minor works. Of the 375 lots (not 450, as Bonhams’ post-sale press release claims – that ignores the fact that there no lots 218-299), prices were recorded for only about 254. That means that at least a third of items were unsold, possibly more, as some for which prices were recorded may have been bought in by the auctioneer. Even 375 lots, though, forced
Bonhams to split the sale in two. The first 217 lots were sold at Bonhams’ lesser gallery in Knightsbridge the night before the main sale. Percentage-wise, these actually did better than the main sale, with only 31% unsold, but only four items topped £ 10 000. Part One of the sale in fact grossed less than £ 500 000, the average price of lots sold being about £ 3 100. Top price was £ 19 200 for a 19th-century view of Cape Town harbour. Of more modern work, £ 14 400 was bid for a Zanzibar landscape by the little-known Anne Petrie, £ 13 200 for a Tretchikoff Red Lilies (est only £ 2 000£ 3 000, so the renaissance in this artist is continuing) and £ 11 400 for a Sekoto gouache of a woman’s head, est £ 3 000-£ 4 000.
Baobab Tree contributed more than 70% of the total raised. No fewer than 20 of the Sterns were unsold, but those that did sell generally went for the upper end of the estimate or even above. Top price was £ 390 000 for lot 321, a Malay lady (est £ 200 000-£ 300 000), followed by £ 356 000 for lot 350, a still life (est £ 200 000-£ 300 000) and £ 334 000 for each of lots 353 (Congolese girls, est £ 150 000-£ 200 000) and 365 (still life, est £ 200 000-£ 300 000). Noteworthy against the estimates were lots 339, a girl, at £ 288 000 (est £ 70 000-£ 100 000), and 349, a still life, also at £ 288 000 (£ 100 000-£ 150 000).
The main auction was flooded by Stern (52 paintings and drawings), Sekoto (22) and Pierneef (13).
Only three Pierneefs weren’t sold, with no prices marked for two others that were presumably sold privately before the auction. But only lot 388, Trees on the Veld, fetched a noteworthy price: £ 120 000 (est £ 60 000-£ 90 000).
The Sterns grossed about £ 4.3m, so together with the Pierneef
Of other bluechip names, a Van Essche Congolese market
reached £ 72 000 (est £ 30 000-£ 45 000). Only five of the Sekotos were unsold, but prices were unexceptional. Among the casualties, four of the six William Kentridges went unsold, as did both “Nelson Mandela” lithos – The Window and Hand of Africa (est £ 12 000-18 000 and £ 10 000- £ 15 000 respectively). Given the debate surrounding these works, it’s surprising that Bonhams listed them without comment and at such high estimates. Overall, though, apart from a couple of obvious features the general impression was of a market consolidating rather than making further advances, while recent gains could be flushing inferior works out into the open to augment the supply. *All prices quoted include the 12% buyer’s premium but not sales tax, which is levied only on UK-resident buyers.
Walter Battiss, ‘Sgraffito landscape’
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
South African Art Times.
Priceless paintings rotting on public collection walls
Artists rally behind Marx in landmark BMW case Artist Gerhard Marx, takes BMW and their advertising agency to court over alleged copyright infringement. R450,000 for legal fees raised through highly sucessful David and Goliath art auction Patrick Burnett
South African artists rallied behind one of their own in a September 25 auction, raising R450,000 for the legal fees of artist Gerhard Marx, who is taking BMW and their advertising agency to court over alleged copyright infringement. Marx is the plaintiff in a case where he alleges that BMW South Africa used his work without his permission in a 2006 advertising campaign. The case is to be heard on October 9. Owen Dean, attorney acting for Spoor & Fisher, who are representing Marx, said R1,5-million was being claimed in damages. BMW denies the allegation. Spokesperson Benedict Maaga said: “BMW South Africa contests the assertion that we have infringed the rights of the artist Gerhard Marx or plagiarised his work, as has been alleged. Our comments and submissions will be made in court and we will let the High Court make the final ruling on this matter.” The auction, hosted by the The Bag Factory in Johannesburg, and billed as the David and Goliath initiative, was aimed at creating a platform “through which the arts can support the arts in protecting creative ownership”, say the This image was used in organisers. 2008/09/30 04:47:18 PM lasts months Whats on Bag Factory education officer at Iziko in September’s Bronwyn Lace said: “We had an Heritage day celebraunbelievable turn out and it was tions column. The name definitely a success.” She said of the photographer who about 250 people had attended took this image entitled: and 64 works donated by various Madosini playing the South African artists had been Uhadi is Simon Lewis sold, raising R450,000. Thanks to Simon Lewis. Funds raised will go towards the cost of Marx’s case, but any further profits will go towards a
trust which will aim to financially support artists against copyright infringement and commercial exploitation. A publicity email about the auction said: “The relationship between the arts and commercial industry is one in which issues of creative ownership and copyright infringement is frequently contested. It is generally financially impossible for the individual artist to address these issues legally when faced with a corporate giant.” Lace said the works on auction ranged from established South African artists through to younger artists. She said while the event was a fundraiser it was also about the artistic community coming together in support of a principle. “The David and Goliath auction is in support of Marx, but it is a larger issue of copyright and the damage done to an artist when a corporate takes blatantly from them.” Copyright infringement was an issue globally, not just between corporations and artists but between artists and artists. Wim Botha, one of the supporting artists, said artists made things that entered the public realm and which people picked up on at some point, but this could not be accepted when it happened in a direct way. “At some point something becomes established and associated with one person, but when it’s new and shortly afterwards it is pilfered then the artist is deprived of developing that.” He said a precedent needed to be set that art was not freely available and corporates should think a “little bit harder before using something”
Patrick Burnett Two recent cases of neglect involving paintings by South African master Jacobus Hendrik Pierneef have raised renewed concerns about the status of art held by lesser-known public institutions. Last month, South African Art Times reported on a Pierneef painting estimated in value between R500,000 and R700,000, which was removed from Free State’s Dihlabeng municipality in July and the frame burnt for firewood. The painting was later recovered. Since then another case has come to light, with Beeld newspaper reporting in September that a Pierneef hanging in the Johannesburg Regional Court had been damaged by water. The apparent disregard for art demonstrated by these two cases comes at a time when interest in South African art internationally is at an all-time high. Ironically, a Pierneef painting sold for more than R11-million at a Bonhams auction in September in London. One art administrator, who did not want to be named because he works for the government, said the safety of art held by public institutions was “a huge problem”. “There are many examples of public paintings that simply fall from the walls,” he said. However, although two recent cases had involved Pierneef paintings, the problem was more widespread than one particular artist. He said when confronted with the problem, no government department wanted to accept responsibility. The problem could be found at municipal level, but also in museums and other public buildings.
Meanwhile the South African Heritage Resource Agency (SAHRA), which is charged with conserving and protecting South Africa’s heritage, said it has had a poor response to its attempts to establish what kind of heritage objects are held by local authorities. SAHRA has been involved in developing a database to document the extent of heritage resources in South Africa. In March, then CEO Phakamani Buthelezi said the first phase of developing the database had already been completed through an audit of objects at presidential residences, parliament, museums and state institutions. SAHRA’s executive officer for corporate affairs Herma Gous said the second phase consisted of a roll out of the audit to other locations and the development of the South African Heritage Information System (SAHRIS) to house the information gained from this audit. Gous said the brief was that in developing the inventory it should focus on heritage resources under state ownership, including national, provincial and local government, as well as the museum sector. But as part of phase one a questionnaire had been sent out to over 1,000 respondents to assist with the identification of collections for inclusion in the audit. “Unfortunately, the response was limited, especially from government departments and local authorities, except for the larger ones.” Gous said the challenge faced was how SAHRA would know what was held unless institutions came forward and informed them about their collections.
Subscribe to the Art Times for just R 180, per year
Contact Bastienne at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 424 7732
ERVAAR DIE RYKHEID VAN TOP SUID-AFRIKAANSE OU MEESTERS, SOWEL AS KONTEMPORÉRE KUNS
STELLENBOSCH KUNSGALERY Ryneveldstraat 34 Stellenbosch Tel. 021 887 8343 Sel. 076 279 2175
Pieter van der Westhuizen
Tye: Ma. -Vr. : 09h00 – 17h30 Sa. : 09h00 – 13h00 www.stellenboschartgallery.co.za E-pos: email@example.com
Skilders : Kontemporêr: Scats Esterhuyse, Hannes van Zyl, Clare Menck, Kaffie Pretorius, Robert Slingsby, Harvey Rothchild, John Kramer, Adriaan Boshoff, Terence McCaw, Gregoire Boonzaier
Judith Mason: Shiva slowing down, oil on canvas (detail)
SOUTH AFRICAN ART GALLERY SHOW LISTINGS FOR OCTOBER Eastern Cape
Ann Bryant Art Gallery 16 Oct – 01 Nov, Solo Artist Exhibition, Chanelle Staude 9 St Marks Road, Southernwood, East London T. 043 722 4044
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, www.artmuseum. co.za
Oliewenhuis Art Museum Until 28 Oct, Mid-career Retrospective, Johann Louw 16 Harry Smith Street, Bloemfontein T. 051 447 9609
Apartheid Museum Until 31 Dec, Transitions, Paul Emmanuel Northern Parkway & Gold Ref Road Ormonde Art Extra Until 29 Oct, Fortune Telling in Black, Red and White, A solo exhibition by Lawrence Lemaoana Until 29 Oct, Extra Extra 001, Fred Clarke: Drawings and mixed media collage 373 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg T. 011 326 0034, www.artextra.co.za Art on Paper 19 Oct – 08 Nov, Human Contellations, Kim Lieberman 44 Stanley Ave, Braamfontein Werf (Milpark), Tel. (011) 726 2234, www.artonpaper.co.za Artspace - JHB Until 18 Oct, The Royal Invisible 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, T. 011 482 1258, www.artspace-jhb.co.za Worldart Until 11 Oct at Worldart, Bollywood, Hollywood, Nollywood, Mentor Tanya Poole; Mentees Lindi Arbi, Nomusa Makhubu 95 Commissioner Street Johannesburg T. 011 901 5045, www.worldart.co.za David Krut Art Resources Until 11 Oct, Drawing Show, An exhibition featuring exclusive new artworks by 12 of South Africa’s leading graphic designers and illustrators. 16 Oct – 10 Nov, Ryan Arenson 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg T. 011 447 0627, www.davidkrutpublishing.com Everard Read Gallery Jhb Until 12 Oct, Etchings 1946-2004, Lucian Freud 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johan-
nesburg T. 011 788 4805, www.everard.co.za Gallery MOMO 06 Oct – 04 Nov, Group Exhibition 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg T. 011 327 3247, www.gallerymomo.com Goodman Gallery 25 Oct – 15 Nov, Willie Bester 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg, www.goodman-gallery.com GordArt Gallery Until 18 Oct, Probably Spiked, Susan Jowell Until 18 Oct, Storie, Persian inspired illustrations and jewellry & an animation installation, Diek Grobler & Marna Schoeman GordArt Project Room Until 18 Oct, M18J92T, Murray Turpin 72 Third Avenue Melville, Johannesburg T. 011 726 8519 www.gordartgallery.com Johannesburg Art Gallery 05 August -12 October - Dinkies Sithole - ‘Shrine Rituals’ King George Street, Joubert Park, Johannesburg T. 011 725 3180 Museum Africa 05 – 26 Oct, Gigapan Conversations: Diversity and Inclusion in the CommunityA selection of the high-resolution panoramas created by learners at Lavela High School (Soweto), Falk Middle School (Pittsburgh) and Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (Pittsburgh). Also shown are selections of conversations between learners from across the two continents. 16 Seventh Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg Tel: (011) 447 9000 www.mojamodern.co.za Rooke Gallery 09 Oct – 30 Nov, A Claude Glass’: a photographic exhibition, Liam Lynch 37 Quinn Street Newtown Johannesburg, www.rookegallery.com Sally Thompson Gallery Until 16 Oct, Defining Moments, By Billy and Jane Makhubele, Jurgen Schadeberg, Susan Woolf, Johannes Maswangani, Beverly Price and Roy Ndinisa 73, 2nd Ave, Melville, Tel. (011) 482 2039 www.thompsongallery.co.za Spaza Art Gallery From 05 Oct, Turquoise, Paintings by Tandi Sliepen Tel: (011) 614 9314,19 Wilhelmina Street, Troyeville Standard Bank Gallery Until Dec 06, Judith Mason Retrospective Exhibition Cnr. Simmonds & Frederick Streets, Johannesburg, 2001,Tel: 011 6311889 www.standardbankgallery.co.za Unity Gallery 04 - 22 Oct, Wasted, Mandy Coppes, Prince of Newtown, Robyn Field, Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube, Flip Hattingh, Patrick Mabena, Lebogang Tshetlo, Vuyo Seripe and Irene Mdebuka and Goge. Tel. (011) 726 2686, 2nd Floor, Kruis House, 19 Harries Street, Cnr Kruis Street, CBD University of Johannesburg Arts Centre Gallery 13 Oct – 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 Warren Siebrits Modern & Contemporary Art Until 24 Oct, Terreno Ocupado, Jo Ractliffe 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood,
Johannesburg, Tel. (011) 327 0000, www.warrensiebrits.co.za
Alette Wessels Kunskamer Exhibition of Old Masters Maroelana Centre, Maroelana, GPS : S25º 46.748 EO28º 15.615 Tel: 012 346 0728, Cell: 084 589 0711 www.artwessels.co.za Centurion Art Gallery 01 – 31 Oct, Elsa Blem School of Creative Art Tel: +27 (0)12 358 3477, www.pretoriaartmuseum.co.za Fried Contemporary Art Gallery 04 - 25 Oct, On the Globe, Titus Matiyane, Diek Grobler, Pieter Swanepoel 430 Charles Str, Brooklyn, Pretoria, Tel: 012 346 0158, www.friedcontemporary.com Magpie Gallery Until 16 Oct, Painting: Now, New Paintings by Elfriede Dreyer, Mariki Van Graan, Norman Catherine, Maryna Joubert, Andre Naude, Pieter Swanepoel, Zondi Skosana Shop 21B, Southdowns Shopping Centre, Centurion T. 012 665 1832, www.magpie.co.za Pretoria Association of Arts 05 Oct – 18 Oct, Some Old Some New: an exhibition of landscape orientated sculptures, Mike Edwards 173 Mackie Street, New Muckleneuk, Pretoria Tel. (012) 346 3100, www.artsassociationpta.co.za Pretoria Art Museum Tel:(012) 344 1807/8, art.museum@ tshwane.gov.za PAM- South Gallery South African Art focusing on the school syllabus, from the Museum’s permanent collection PAM-North Gallery Until 21 Nov, Permanent Collection, A variety of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection PAM-Henry Preiss Hall 30 Sep – 24 Nov, Artists by Artists, From the Museum’s permanent collection PAM-Albert Werth Hall 09 Oct – 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 11 Oct – 02 Nov, For Sale Project Exhibition, The Art Museum’s Education Assistants’ annual exhibition Alice Art Gallery Hartbeespoort 18 – 26 Oct, Art with Heart Art Festival, Portchie, Glendine, Cornelius Bosch and various other well-known artists 110 Scott straat, Schoemannsvlle, www.aliceart.co.za
Art Space - DBN 06 – 25 Oct, Migration of Symbols, Paintings by Hussein Salim 06 – 25 Oct, Nice to Meet you, Paintings by Elizabeth Sparg 3 Millar Road, Durban T. 031 312 0793, www.artspacedurban.co.za Bank Art Gallery Until 30 Oct, Furniture and Products from the internationally renowned EGG Studio, A Retrospective217 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban T. 031 312 6911, www.bankgallery.co.za 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. 29 Oct – 15 Feb 09, Indian Ink, Indian South Africans in the media: A photographic history of propaganda and resistance Second Floor, City Hall, Smith Street, Durban, 031 3006238 DUT Art Gallery Until 08 Oct, Contemporary Existence & the Moveable Arts Feast, Sabelo Khumalo, Nothando Mkhize and Nozipho Zulu 1st Floor Library building, Steve Biko Campus, Durban University of Technology, T. 031 373 2207 Fat Tuesday Gallery 07 -18 Oct, Modern Icons, Helena Vogelzang Block e Bellevue campus Bellevue Road Kloof T. 031 717 2785, www.fattuesday.co.za Kizo 06 – 28 Oct, xpanded Perspectives, Alternate Fields, Lambert Moraloki & Brigitte Hertell 06 – 28 Oct, Awaken, Paintings by Tracy Payne Shop G350 Palm Boulevard Gateway Theatre of Shopping Umhlanga T. 031 566 4322 www.kizo.co.za KZNSA Gallery Main Gallery, Until 12 Oct, Ultra Red, Silent listen Nivea Gallery, Until 12 October, Themba Shibase, The Skeptic 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, T. 031 2023686, www.kznsagallery.co.za
Northern Cape Kimberly
William Humphreys Art Gallery 07 - 21 Oct, Art Against Crime, An exhibition of prison art and craft from the Northern Cape 22 Oct – 12 Nov, Exhibition bylecturers of the Fine Art Department of the Univ. of the Free State, Ben Botma, Charlayn von Solms, Janine Allen and Jaco Spies Civic Centre, Cullinan Crescent, Kimberley, Tel. (053) 831 1724, www.museumsnc.co.za
34 Long 07 Oct – 01 Nov, All Rights Reserved, A private view of new editions by Takashi Murakami from the gallery collection 34 Long Street, Cape Town T. 021 426 4594, www.34long.com Art B Gallery Until 22 Oct, Picturing Piketberg, Paintings by a group of Piketberg artists Until 18 Oct, Over 60’s’ Exhibition in the Bellville Library Foyer Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Street, Bellville T. 021 918 2301, www.artb.co.za Association for Visual Arts (AVA) Until 24 Oct, Figurative paintings by, Part 1 of Michael Pettit’s double exhibition. Until 24 Oct, Seed of Memory, Ian Engelbrecht 35 Church Street, Cape Town,Tel.
(021) 424 7436, www.avaq.co.za Bell-Roberts Contemporary Art Gallery Until 24 October Caveman Spaceman, Nigel Mullins 176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, www.bell-roberts.com Blank Projects 2, 9, 16, 23 Oct 8h00 – 19h30, Data capture: a muse. Drawing performances, Featuring Models: Barend de Wet, Brendon Bussy, Ed Young, Willem Bosshof 198 Buitengracht Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, www.blankprojects. blogspot.com Cape Gallery 26 Oct – 15 Nov, Recent Oil Paintings, Peter Gray 60 Church Street, Cape Town T. 021 423 5309, www.capegallery.co.za David Krut Publishing: Fine Art and Books Until 23 Oct, CT Month of Photography, Damon Hyland Photographs 25 Oct – Nov 20, Drawings and Editions, Ryan Arenson 31 Newlands Avenue, Cape Town T. 021 685 0676, www.davidkrutpublishing.com Erdmann Contemporary /Photographers Gallery Until 31 Oct . Barbara Wildenboer Present absence/ Absent Presence 63 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town T. 021 422 2762, www.erdmanncontemporary.co.za Goodman Gallery, Cape 11 Oct – 01Nov, Clive van den Berg 10 Sep – 05 Jan 09, New Photography 2008, Josephine Meckseper & Mikhail Subotzky 3rd Floor, Fairweather House 176 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock, Cape Town T. 021 462 7573/4, www.goodmangallerycape.com Irma Stern Museum 21 Oct – 06 Nov, Exhibition, Nichola Leigh & Diamond Bozas Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town T. 021 685 5686, www.irmastern.co.za Iziko South African National Gallery Until 16 Nov, Journey on a tightrope, Albert Adams Government Avenue, Company’s Garden T. 021 467 4660, www.iziko.org.za João Ferreira Gallery 08 Oct – 01 Nov, Lyrical abstracts Part 2 of Michael Pettit’s double exhibition Loop Street, Cape Town Lindy van Niekerk Art Gallery 12 – 22 Oct, October Art Spectacular, Bi-annual exhibition of SA Artists 33 Chantecler Avenue, Eversdal,Durbanville, Tel. (021) 913 7204/5, www.artpro.co.za Michael Stevenson Contemporary Until 11 Oct, Berni Searle & Youssef Nabil Ground Floor, Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Cape Town T. 021 462 1500 www.michaelstevenson.com Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery Until 16 Oct, Lynie Olivier, Andrew Munnik 10 Wellington Rd Durbanville, Tel. 021-9764691, www.rust-en-vrede. com Salon91 Contemporary Art Collection 10 – 24 Oct, Under These Skies, Wesley van Eeden and Senyol Sanlam Art Gallery
Highlights from 10 Years of Collecting for the Sanlam Collection 2 Strand Road, Sanlamhof, 7532, Bellville,Tel. (021) 947 3359, www.sanlam.co.za Urban Contemporary Art 28 October – 28 Nov. The Bijou burns again, various artists (See advert) 46 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town T. 021 447 4132, www.urbancontemporaryart.co.za What if the World… From 02 Oct, The Matt Sparkle, Paintings by Jan-Henri Booyens First floor, 208 Albert Road Woodstock T. 021 448 1438, www.whatiftheworld.com
Gallery Grande Provence 19 Oct – 13 Nov, Paintings by Hannes van Zyl and ceramics by Ralph Johnson Main Road Franschoek T. 021 876 8600, www.grandeprovence.co.za
Dorp Straat Gallery Until 23 Oct, Wood, Drawings by Nelie Kuhn, Oil paintings by Paul Birchall, driftwood furniture by Gordon Rattey,wooden bowls by the Waterfront Woodturners and sculptures by Desmond Smart 144 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 2256, www.dorpstraatgalerie.co.za Sasol Art Museum 08 Oct – 29 Nov, An Eloquent Picture Gallery, Curated by Keith Dietrich 52 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch. 7600 University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery Until 09 Oct, Timo Smuts Art Prize Visual Arts Department, Stellenbosch University 16 Oct – 15 Nov, Ceramics (solo), Ruan Hoffmann cnr of Bird and Dorp Streets, Stellenbosch, 7600
SMAC Art Gallery Until Oct, Collection 10, A group exhibition showcasing previous and recent works by twenty contemporary artists selected by the gallery. Including Johann Louw, Sam Nhlengethwa, Kay Hassan, Anton Karstel, Wayne Barker, Beezy Bailey, Willie Bester, David Koloane, Peter E Clarke, Arlene Amaler-Raviv, Philip Badenhorst, Ricky Burnett, Jake Aikman, Gail Catlin, Matthew Hindley, Elizabeth Gunter, Andrè Naudè, Ndikumbule Ngqinambi and Francois van Reenen. De Wet Centre, Church Street, Stellenbosch T. 021 887 3607, www.smacgallery.com Stellenbosch Art Gallery Permanent exhibition of Conrad Theys, John Kramer, Gregoire Boonzaier, Adriaan Boshoff and other artists. 34 Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch T. 021-8878343, www.stellenboschartgallery.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
Villiersdorp The Elliott’s Art Gallery Exciting Winter exhibition of latest works by Dale and Mel Elliott. 80 Main Rd, Villiersdorp, 6848, Tel:
AROUND THE GALLERIES AUCTION OF DECORATIVE AND FINE ARTS Tuesday 21 October 2008 at 10am, 2pm and 7pm Wednesday 22 October 2008 at 10am Property of various owners including Estates Late Mr B Bloom, Mr JF Van Reenen and Mr MH Visser
‘Free-fall’ (2008) oil on canvas, 2 x 1.6m by Virginia MacKenny whose exhibition entitled:Foam Along the Waterline was held at the Irma Stern Gallery recently.
Artist Niel Jonker gives a rusty shave to fellow artist Joshua Miles at The Baardskeerdersbos Art Route near Gansbaai in September. See more at www.freewebs.com/artroute
Preview Friday 17 October 10am to 5pm Saturday 18 October 10am to 5pm Sunday 19 October 10am to 5pm
Lizo Manzi: Civil War is a Disgrace oil on board, one of the works to be seen at Sanlam’s Highlights from 10 Years of Collecting for the Sanlam Art Collection on show until 16 January Cobus Nienaber (far left) is the winner of the Sanlam Vuleka Art Competition 2008. His artwork titled, Tankman won him this accolaid. His Tankman (Beijing 1989), an enamel on wood installation, has landed him a cash prize of R10 000 and a return flight to Paris, France. Mboramwe Makakele (middle) from Belhar (originally from the DRC) for his Red Funky (best painting in oil, water or acrylic);• Adriaan de Villiers (right) from Bellville for Warted Church (best three-dimensional work; ceramics included);
Venue Old Mutual Conference & Exhibition Centre, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town Enquiries and Catalogues Cape Town Office: 021 794 6461 At the Saleroom, Kirstenbosch from Friday 17 October Tel: 021 761 4288 Fax: 021 761 8298 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Catalogues can be viewed on our website: www.swelco.co.za Irma Stern (1894-1966) WOMAN IN THE KITCHEN signed and dated 1941, 76 by 68cm R 5 000 000 - 7 000 000
Nichola Leigh Kirstenbosch Gardens 08
Diamond Bozas and Nichola Leigh Diamond Bozas Thorn trees, Ulundi 05
Bianca Baldi: Him and Her held at Blank Projects recently see more at http://blankprojects.blogspot.com
22 October - 8 November 2008 UCT Irma Stern Museum Cecil Road, Rosebank, Cape Town •Tues - Sat 10h00-17h00 •Tel 021 6855686 Walk-about with the artists and Julia Meintjes Thursday 23 October 11h00 Presented by Julia Meintjes Fine Art 083 6751825 email@example.com
As if to block the world out while she muddles through her thoughts, Judith Mason sometimes closes her eyes when she is conversing. It can be slightly disconcerting for the listener but it is indicative of Mason’s retiring persona. Mason’s shyness extends to her professional life too; she is uncomfortable with offering up her art for public scrutiny. So despite her large talent, this is why she has maintained such a low profile over the last couple of decades. However, that is all set to change this month when a large retrospective of her work opens at the Standard Bank gallery in Johannesburg, where around 50 of her artworks dating from 1963 to 2008 will be on exhibit. Initially the gallery first enquired about exhibiting her earlier work, but Mason wasn’t open to the idea. “An argument has been made that my work was better when I was a young woman then it is now. But I don’t share that argument I simply can’t afford to otherwise I would have a little cry and stop painting.” After spending two years completing a large commissioned artwork for a private client based on Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Mason, uncharacteristically, felt proud. And the introverted artist was gripped by the desire to exhibit again. Walking With and Away from Dante, is the piece’s title and it includes a 2 x 6 metre painting of Purgatory, which sees a confluence of hellish and religious iconography, references
Far from the Ma
Judith Mason has resisted the limelight but a retrospe
Tombs of the Pharaohs of Johannesburg (triptych), Mixed media. Collection: Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg. Photo credit: Justin James
to socio-political realities of the contemporary milieu and, of course, Mason’s iconic monkey motifs. It is bound to be one of the showstoppers of the retrospective. It may also debunk the myth that Mason has past her prime. Coinciding with the month of her 70th birthday, the retrospective, entitled A Prospect of Icons, will give art lovers and Mason herself an opportunity to reflect on how her vast oeuvre has developed over her forty year long career. “I am inquisitive to see what graph my work makes.” Ever the self-deprecating artist, Mason has often been convinced that her art hasn’t progressed in a linear way but rather diversified into different streams of expression or “unconsidered branches”, as she puts it. “I was afraid that the retrospective would be an anthology of Mason’s ‘emotional tantrums.’” However, after reading curator, Wilhelm Van Rensberg’s essay for the catalogue she realised that “they weren’t just making a thesis out of rubble” and that her oeuvre has in fact followed a coherent trajectory. “I found it restorative to find that my work was more like an ill put together novel rather than a lot of short stories.”
Catwalk Girl, 1999. Oil on hardboard. Collection: Lettie and Michael Gardiner. Photo credit: Bob Cnoops
When all the fanfare around the opening of the retrospective has died down, Mason looks forward to perusing the exhibition. She
hasn’t kept records of her work and hasn’t seen some of the artworks in a long time. But she is her harshest critic and she is slightly anxious whether all her artworks will meet the high standards she so obviously demands of herself. Mason says her long career has not been without regrets; her choice to remain independent with no formal affiliations to any gallery meant she “lived from hand to mouth.” In tough times she was forced to sell paintings before they were finished. “Sometimes I let works go before they were completely resolved. I am well aware I have damaged my reputation by doing that. As a freelance artist you sometimes fall back on panic rather than an income.” Nevertheless, Mason says she has enjoyed a happy and productive career. A career she suggests that wasn’t founded on a proficient talent but rather driven by obsession and hunger. As the title of the retrospective implies, the exhibition will be centred on the iconography that have dominated Mason’s art. Self portraiture is one of the leitmotifs that has characterised her aesthetic. Self-portraiture was attractive to Mason as she found that she didn’t have the ability to instantaneously capture the essence of sitters. “It would be a long, laboured slog for me to get there and I never enjoyed it.”
Self Portrait as my own Ventri lection: Mrs Jill Wentzel. Photo
South African Art Times.
ective of work will change all that, writes Mary Corrigall
iloquist, 1996. Oil on board. Colo credit: Bob Cnoops
As an introverted character, selfportraiture also suited Mason’s self-referential impulses. “You can take risks with your own image. A couple of the images I have done are very ugly where I have gone to town on the bits of my body that I don’t like and bits of my attitude. With yourself as the ‘fall guy’ you can make the points quite sharply. There is a sort of energy that comes from a slightly contemptuous discourse with one’s own image and I do enjoy that.” Mason’s art is characterised by the diverse iconography that she appropriates. Although as an art student she was disparaging of symbolists, she is fixated by symbolism. In the manner that writers devour the pages of dictionaries, Mason pores over encyclopaedias of symbols. Her interest in iconography is rooted her past, she observes. “I was brought up in a very austerely atheist environment and low middle class family, which was very limited in terms of aesthetics and aesthetic things so I have always had a very strong visual hunger.” Impressed with the “grace, beauty and luminosity” of Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance art, Mason’s aesthetic has always aspired to high drama and drawn inspiration from religious iconography. While she admires and reveres religious faith she describes herself as an atheist. But her
emotional or intellectual disconnection from religion means that she is able to reinvest and project new meanings into the religious symbols she employs. This can create conflict, especially when the symbols she appropriates are weighed down by predetermined connotations. “If I do a figure on a cross, I am thinking of it as a non-religious crucifix. Christ was one of thousands of people who were crucified, it was a common degradation and it is the act of degradation that I want to explore. People don’t’ look long enough at symbolic work to deconstruct the meaning. One has this fight as a symbolic painter against the (received) text about symbols.” Mason views painting as the act of creating “encoded worlds.” In this way the medium has served her well and with such a high capacity for engendering illusion, painting has also facilitated Mason’s predilection for creating fantastical or other worldly locales. “I do inhabit alternate realities when I am working. I live in a picture when I am doing it. When I am living within that space it is completely real to me. It (painting) is a majestic way to make sense of your life.” Ultimately, with each of her paintings Mason strives to conjure up a transcendental experience for viewers or engender that elusive energy that only art is cable of summoning. “A work is successful when it radi
The Man who Sang and the Woman who kept Silent (painting from triptych), 1998. Oil on canvas. Collection: Constitutional Court. Photo credit: Bob Cnoops
ates energy off the wall. It is like Pippa Skotnes said during one of her professorial speeches; ‘art is sacramental it is like taking bread and wine and creating the body of Christ.’ When you put things together (during the act of art making) you don’t’ make wallpaper, you make something that matters for a second, five seconds or half a lifetime.” Mason says the energetic or transcendental dimension of art defies description. “But that is the excitement of being an artist; it is in trying to hunt that energy down and pin it to a wall.” • Judith Mason’s retrospective exhibition at Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg will run until December 6
Wild Dog, 1962. Oil on board. Collection: The Pretoria Art Museum. Photo credit: Brian Farrell
Not being able to Paint, 1992. Oil on canvas. Collection: Johan and Gardiol Bergenthuin. Photo credit: Brian Farrell
Judith Mason 2008 Photo: Tamar Mason
South African Art Times.
Talk of the Town What’s happening in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town
ART PIG Alex Dodd As much as I might enjoy a glass of good bubbly, some Saturday Night Fever action on the dance floor or a picnic in the park with a small clutch of fellow hedonists, when it comes to art and literature I’m a sucker for full blown tragedy, unmitigated honesty, slow feverish engagements with doom and gloom… I’d rather spend five hours reading Philip Roth on death and dying than tune into Oprah’s daily selfcongratulatory love fest celebrating the joys of public confession,
Victor and Mason are both draughtsman of the highest order, with that rare ability to use a pencil as if it were a wand. Neither is afraid of hours of painstaking labour to produce a work of aweinspiring subtlety and detail. In the presence of works by both of these artists, you become aware again of the idea of art as a kind of calling – not so much a matter of being chosen from on high, but of hours of relentless, self-sacrificial
Judith Mason: Resurrection at the taxidermy success and guilt-free donuts. The splendour of dark art lies in its uncompromising hyperbolic extremity. When you read the final chapters of JM Coetzee’s Disgrace, in which the doomed protagonist spends his free time voluntarily euthanasing dogs, your own dire soap opera starts to feel comfortingly mild by comparison. In his book Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy, Eric G Wilson, a professor of English literature, extols the creative power of gloom, arguing that in our relentless contemporary pop-cultural pursuit of happiness, we demonstrate a ‘craven disregard for the value of sadness’, which is the muse behind much art, poetry and music. For those who have embraced the fact that creativity stems from discontent, this promises to be a bumper week on the art circuit, with Diane Victor exhibiting solo as this year’s festival artist at Aardklop in Potchefstroom and Judith Mason’s retrospective, A Prospect of Icons, opening at the Standard Bank Gallery. Victor and Mason are two my favourite South African artists and they have more than few things in common. Firstly, there is courage. Both are artists who refuse outright to prettify or tone down their views of themselves or the frequently brutal world in which they find themselves. It’s a ‘dog eats dog’, ‘survival of the fittest’ kind of place, and both Mason and Victor have repeatedly explored the fine line between
dedication to a chosen path of action. The title of the Mason exhibition, A Prospect of Icons, is a reference to her use of religious imagery, a central concern in her work. Her paintings consist of recurrent and ambiguous symbols and anatomical allusions, such as the wing, the eye, the heart, the female breast, the plait of hair, wire mesh and under-vest. She harnesses these through a trajectory of religious iconography and mythological figures, such as Arachne and the Minotaur. Skulls, raw flesh, ghoulish phantasms and intimations of great bloodiness haunt her canvases, which would be in good company alongside the work of Francis Bacon or Edvard Munch. In many of Victor’s works, ‘the religious structures that are upheld in Gothic imagery are seen as part of the problem’, writes Karen von Veh. ‘Not only do we find corrupt clergy and evil personified in religious devotees, but the very core of biblical teaching is subjected to scrutiny and found wanting.’ Although both have, in their own ways, ruthlessly tackled the dogma and hypocrisy of Christianity, absorbing their work is a strange affirmation of faith in the rigours of expression. You can’t stand in a gallery of works by either of these two artists without being gobsmacked by a sense of their absolute dogged commitment to the disciplines of their chosen media.
THE ART COWBOY Peter Machen “If you build it they will come.” It’s a paraphrased line from one of my favourite Hollywood flicks that has made its way into popular culture. The actual film, Field of Dreams, is of all things, a baseball film, and the only sports film ever to garner any warm critical feeling from me. It is a film that teeters on the edge of ludicrous sentiment, but just manages to get away with it, in the process creating a genuine and moving exploration of nonreligious faith. It’s also a line that applies to the small but consistently expanding circle of gallerists in Durban, from such modest concerns as Gallery 415 in Umgeni Road to the largescale commercial space of Kizo Gallery in Gateway Theatre of Shopping (to the give monolithic shopping centre its full title) and particularly to Kizo’s hosting of the expansive Heritage Arts Festival in and around Gateway over the course of the last month. But perhaps it applies mostly cogently to the Heritage Auction, during which the work on display in the Heritage Exhibition (the central element of the festival) will be auctioned off, rather than sold during the exhibition as is usually the case. An undercurrent here is the perception that corporate investors and well-heeled individual art buyers are thin on the ground in Durban. It is this perception – which few gallerists or artists in Durban would deny – that the auction seeks to challenge. Whether the challenge proves to be quixotic or manages to illustrate an effective demand for art in KZN will have been determined by the time you read this. The breadth of the festival’s content and its engagement with figures such as ceramicist Clive Sithole and artist/curator Khwezi Gule also signals a sea-change in the way that Kizo operates in KZN. What was once derided by some as a commercial gallery is increasingly engaging with its local and national context and morphing into a more contemporary hybrid. Of course, this approach is standard practice in most parts of the world, but in Durban the words commercial and contemporary are still seen by many as mutually exclusive, no doubt one of the reasons why so many KZN artists leave the province. Which is an appropriate if somewhat belated point at which to congratulate Dineo Bopape for winning the MTN New Contemporaries Award for 2008, and also to mention that three of the four nominees hail from Durban.
Two of them, Michael MacGarry and Bopape have left our shores while Themba Shibase remains in the city, lecturing fine art at the Durban University of Technology. Shibase has just had a show at the KZNSA gallery (the gallery has also shown both other Durban nominees in recent months) which reconfigures history, politics and masculinity with a sceptical eye. Shibase’s painted political figures – unlistening for the most part as politicians tends to be – worked beautifully in relation to the exhibition that occupied the rest of the gallery. The work of radical art collective Ultra-Red, Silent|Listen is a sound and installation based
classical.” Well, that’s a pretty fair and nicely-wide motivation for the truly spectacular art festival that we are experiencing right now.
humans and and the fierce animal selves lurking just beneath the mannered surfaces of our civilized personae. Mason’s canvases growl and yelp with animal life – dog, fish, hyena, snake, bird, ram… Similarly, Victor’s work teems with dogs, sharks, bears and horses, all interacting with humans in a manner that recalls the relationship between the castaway Indian boy and the tiger in Yann Martel’s Booker Prize winning novel The Life of Pi. Radically uncompromising, the work of these two artists is often difficult to stomach. And yet an inexplicable, almost alchemical, kind of relief comes from with sitting with their images, breathing through the painful truths they offer up. It’s in this strange aftermath that the humour often becomes apparent…
THE ARTFUL VIEWER Melvyn Minnaar A Month of Photo Indulgence
Themba Shibase: Whose Heritage ll research exhibition that engages directly with the personal and political struggles around HIV and Aids. The haunting exhibition includes recordings of multiples voices discussing aspects of the epidemic as well as an investigation into the aesthetics of performance of organisation. It is one of several research based exhibitions to have show
A friend, who normally contemplates carefully matters of culture and cash, recently bought a photograph. A real image, taken by that great man from Soweto, Santu Mofokeng, of an enigmatic township scene, had been printed on paper in black and white, and my friend paid a fair amount of money for it. He had previously bought some rather nice prints and even a small painting or two, but this was his first photograph. ‘Photography as art’. Doesn’t just saying it, bring on a frisson of sorts? Yes, there is hardly an argument here anymore, but there we were, two friends, after the deed had been done and the cheque written, we brought out photo albums of family and friend snaps (perhaps consolidating our status as picture collectors, although my friend’s had now taken a more serious vein) in a ritual to talk though the old questions of art again. To say we are mid-season in plenty of photo talk is an understatement. This is, after all, the glorious month of October when the fourth Cape Town Month of Photography has the city buzzing with camera and print fever.
Themba Shibase: Economic Ascendence - A New Battle Ground at the gallery recently, and at the KZNSA’s AGM this year, one of the Society’s members wanting to know how such research could constitute art. A brief discussion of the hoary banality of is-it-art started to ensue but was cut short by a majority who simply didn’t want to go there. But it is telling that these research-based exhibitions have not engaged the public as much as other shows, although that’s an unfair phrasing; it’s really the public who not engaged the works. Now there’s a can of worms and a lack of space... Finally, I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon exploring the work on show in Construct currently on show at the Durban Art Gallery. Curated by Erdmann and Jacob Lebeko, the exhibition explores the increasingly blurry edges of the documentary photograph, ultimately positing the unworded question: is all photography documentary photography? It’s a fascinating show, and one which bears repeated visits. Thankfully, its up until the end of January so there’s plenty of time. If you’re in Durban over the next few months, don’t miss it.
Particularly exciting about the Cape Town Month of Photography - this time orchestrated by Jenny Altschuler and the group who keeps the South African Centre for Photography alive - is not that it brings into the spotlight the multitude of talent around us and beyond, but makes a vigorous effort to bring the art of photography to the public in the broadest manner possible. The formal galleries and museums are hosting particularly fine shows, but there are also photographs in unusual spaces, broadening the experience of both artists and viewers. Many famous names pop up, but also unknowns and fun stuff made by kids abound. As Jenny Altschuler - not an unaccomplished photographer herself, and a curator who has worked very hard to pull this whole CTMoP together - wrote: “There is not one kind of photograph or one way of using photography. Photography has many purposes, from telling the social story to selling a commercial product, or giving visual pleasure with colour, composition and design. Photographers use the medium in the same way as musicians create music, choosing genres ranging from rap to jazz or
Altogether some 115 photographers from all over South Africa, as well as international guests, have shown up for the party. With an overarching theme of Emergence and Emergency - which leaves plenty of thematic space to explore visually - Altschuler and colleagues have issued a generous, but also challenging invitation to Capetonians to come to terms with contemporary photography. Let’s hope more and more make use of the opportunity to go and have a look. The Mother City is a good home for the art of photography. Cape Town has always been blessed with top photographic artists. Of course, the setting and people may have to do with the fact that, on the high-commercial side, like fashion and advertising, some top lense operators have been based here. But it is also home to some of the most formidable original talent. Younger artists such as Pieter Hugo and Michael Subotzky are already international stars. (Both are, as we speak, for example, taking part in international exhibitions; with Subotzky featuring in, no less, a show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.) The brothers Husain and Hasan Essop, recent Michaelis boykies, make eye-catching stuff and are winning wider audiences by the day. And Araminta de Clermont’s astounding Life After visual essay, which Joao Ferreira has just introduced, is destined for global acclaim. Not that we take the likes of Guy Tillim (his recent show at Michael Stevenson was brilliant), David Lurie (Fragments from the Edge is a wow), George Hallett (Made in France series is at the Iziko SA Museum) or even maestro David Goldblatt for granted. And while the brilliance of American Stephen Shore (a must-see at the Iziko SANG, and don’t miss his talks later in the month) is a cherry on top of the CTMoP, there is the exciting start-out work by Mandla Mnyakama and Lindeka Qampi of the Iliso Labantu group. They are showing work at their studio in Commercial street.
It is most fitting too that the organisers are paying tribute to Neville Dubow. Part of the Talking Images Digital show-and-tell projections at The Biocafe at the CityVarsity School of Media and Creative Arts, is an event scheduled for October 6. The ever-well-spoken and informed Neille Dubow did a great deal to promote photography, and the quiet elegant works he himself made from behind the lens (those Parisian street scenes, for example), are safely in the permanent collection of the Iziko SA National Gallery.
Like my pal who acquired his first serious photographic art work, Dubow will be much cheered by the activities of one whole (and more!) Cape Town Month of Photography. Enjoy!
South African Art Times.
Irma Stern “Still life of Blossoms in Vase” Oil on Canvas, signed and dated 1944 (60 x 55 cm)
Bticfz’t!Hbmmfsjft Images included from MoP4 are Paul Weinberg, David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim, George Hallett, Graeme Williams, Cedric Nunn, Eric Miller and Giselle Wulfsohn at The Castle, Cape Town 2-31 October
The 4th Cape Town Month of Photography 2008 2 - 31 October, various venues, Cape Town
Decorative & Fine Arts Auction Thursday 16 October @ 10:00 Established 1891 Antique and Fine Art Auctioneers 43 to 51 Church Street, Cape Town Telephone : 021 423-8060 Web : www.ashbeysgalleries.co.za Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org - We exhibit the very best in good gavel manners -”
Festivities have already begun in leading up to the South African Centre for Photography’s 4th Cape Town Month of Photography 2008, or MoP4, as the Photographic world knows it. Officially set to open at the Iziko Castle of Good Hope on Thursday evening 2nd October at 6pm, this triennial festival will showcase a huge range of our South African photographers, from conceptualist fine artists to photojournalists and studio photographers. Curated by photographer and educationalist, Jenny Altschuler, this year’s festival promises to be an exciting balance of exhibitions, workshops, walkabouts, show - tell evenings and other events, celebrating the versatile range of visual expression and talent of a large selection of our country’s photographers. The education component offers long standing photographers as well new learners and the lay public opportunities to participate in photography related experiences that could extend their own capacities. Cape Town city’s most prominent art and photo galleries will host the core exhibitions and workshops with large components in the National museum and National gallery sites. Joao Ferreira Gallery will present acclaimed award winner, David Lurie’s new body of work, Fragments from the edge, and Araminta de Clermont’s Life After. The Prestigious Michael Stevenson Gallery is already
showcasing top photographic artist, Berni Searle as well as Egyptian-Parisian, Joussef Nabil. The AVA Gallery in Church street will open with Ian Engelbrecht’s Seed of Memory on the 6 October after an exhibition by 5 female photographers calling themselves The Leage of Anachronistic Ahistoric Photographers Specialising in Archaic Processes showcasing from 13 September to 3 October. The Photographers Gallery ZA in Shortmarket Street has the already successful new masters graduate, Barbara Wildenboer with her dissertation series, Present Absence/ Absent presence. The Alliance Francaise in Loop Street will open on 9 October with Marie-Stella Von Saldern’s Miracles of Lourdes, France and Sean Wilson’s Memento Vevere series as well as Henk Mulder’s series on Beyond the body. It is not often that international exhibitions can be afforded by our local cultural institutions, but the triennial this year has been granted a bonus by the Roger Ballen foundation who is bringing the highly acclaimed American Master of Photography, Stephen Shore, to Cape Town with a retrospective exhibition of will run for 2 months from Heritage day 24 September, 6pm at the Iziko South African National Gallery. Shore will also hold Masterclasses while he is here during October. My Life, an exhibition of colourful representations of their home environments,
by the youngest photographers on the festival, 5th Grader Greyton pupils, will run concurrently in the national gallery’s Annexe, as a reference point also for a large schools photography workshops programme, already running from 1st September. This exhibition has just returned from the prestigious Heresford Photographic Festival in England. Producing mobiles in The Happy Mobile workshop, conceptualized by Shani Judes of Word of Art, and partnered by Cape Africa Platform and the Iziko Education team, will encourage children to see the most positive sides of life and think on others less fortunate than them. The mobiles will be donated to children’s homes around the peninsula. Down the pathway from the National Gallery, at the Iziko South African Museum, 13 Photographers will be showcased from National Heritage day opening at 2pm with marches and musical performances leading up to the opening. The public is invited to partake of the images, snacks and celebration of photography. Showing in this space from 24 September to 24 November are George Hallett and Santu Mofokeng, 2 of South Africa’s most prominent photographers, as well as acclaimed West African photographer, Sergio Santimano, American South Africans Ian van Coller and Tessa Gordon, Tracey Derrick, Jenny Altschuler, Raquel de Castro Maia, Colin Stephenson, Garth Stead, Pieter Bauermeister,
Barry White, Nic Bothma and Madge Gibson. Then and Now, probably the most prestigious exhibition on the festival, compares images shot both before and after South Africa’s transition to democracy by South Africa’s most well known photographers, most of whom were active in the Afrapix agency during the struggle, Paul Weinberg, David Goldblett, Guy Tillim, Cedric Nunn, Eric Miller, Giselle Wulfsohn, Graeme Williams, George Hallett. Also at the Castle is an exhibition balancing an extending past the documentary genre style of Then and Now exhibiton, called Construct. The Photographers Gallery ZA will present work for this exhibiton by Dale Yudelman, Abrie Fourie, Nomusa Makhubu, Roger Ballen and Lien Botha, with more conceptualist themes. A third exhibition at the castle, under the theme of Emergence and Emergency, curated which is also the overall theme of the 2008 Cape Town Month of Photography, will showcase young upcoming photographers, not yet well known but with strong bodies of work. Among these are 7 Gauteng photographers, photographers, Buyaphi Precious Mdledle, Anneke Laurie, Christelle Duvenage, Malcolm Phafane Dhlamini Jabulani, Whitney M. Rasaka and Chris Kirchhoff as well as German Jess Meyer and English Richard Mark Dobson. Cape Town based brother team, Husain and Hasan Essop,
The American Master photographer Steven Shore is currently showing at Iziko National Gallery as well as Andrew McIlleron, Sean Wilson, Michael van Rooyen, Brett Rubin, Damien Schumann, Sharon Peers, Melinda Stuurman, Zandile Tisani and Candice Chaplin will also present new and exciting bodies of work in this show. A balanced series of exhibition shops, talks and master classes will run the length of the festival
with something for everyone, from newcomers to the medium to specialists working in photography for many years. Please call 0214624911, 0826815513 or 0829355522 for the full daily schedule. See www.photocentre.org.za for the full bonanza.
South African Art Times.
Above and below, stills from Paul Emmanuel’s 3 SAI a Rite of Passage
Fine Artist shows flare for video Artist Paul Emmanuel’s 12 minute film is both a visual and intellectual triumph, writes Mary Corrigall It wasn’t the typical setting for a film preview. With an array of garden, lounge and dining chairs lined up in front of a white wall that would function as the screen, Paul Emmanuel had created a makeshift cinema in his loft apartment in Milpark for the screening of 3 SAI A Rite of Passage, which is part of his Transitions exhibition at the Apartheid Museum. Haunted by the Hansie movie preview, the small clutch of arts journalists gathered in Emmanuel’s loft apartment looked apprehensive. It also didn’t help knowing that the discipline of film is a completely new avenue for Emmanuel. He is a fine artist by trade, and though he has five solo exhibitions under his belt, he is not known as a video artist - the designation for those who employ film as their medium of expression. Video art has experienced a bit of a revival on the South African art scene. The Spier Contemporary Award exhibition earlier this year boasted quite an array of video artworks and the exhibition that Simon Njami curated for the Jo’burg Art Fair, called As You Like It, was dominated by video art. Almost every important exhibition of late has featured a video artwork. It’s an immediate form of expression that demands viewers attention in ways that static objects can’t. But it is mostly prized by artists for its capacity to represent altered states. Its dynamic nature allows artists to visibly map change. This is probably why it appealed to Emmanuel; his new
exhibition is focused on transformation, the shifts in male identity. Billed as a cinematic art film 3 SAI (the Third South African Infantry Battalion), A Rite of Passage promised to be something different from the outset. And it didn’t disappoint. Emmanuel is an obsessive art maker; not in the sense that he is simply fixated with his craft but the meticulous and detailed etchings for which he is known are clearly the result of a compulsive hand and thinker. How was this approach going to translate into film? And, more importantly, how did Emmanuel concede control of his art? After all, creating a film is not a solo project; ultimately, its success depends on the chemistry between all its co-creators. Perhaps this is why Emmanuel’s art film took so long to craft. It is mind-blowing to think that it took Emmanuel and his team more than four years to produce just 12 minutes of film. Drawing from art, photography and the documentary film genres, Emmanuel’s film probes the politics of male identity through a series of non-narrative vignettes that move between images of vast and barren landscapes to army recruits being inducted into the South African National Defence Force. In this way Emmanuel juxtaposes reality with abstraction or truth with lyricism. Most video art tends to draw on performance art; a set of artificially constructed or contrived actions
that are designed to induce meaning. Emmanuel’s film, however, captures slices of reality. The individuals in his film may be performers but they are presented as real-life folk undergoing change. The poetic or lyrical imagery depicting picturesque landscapes that are spliced in between creates these two parallel worlds: one of control and order and another of wild, sensual abandon. They could also signify the contrast between one’s empirical and emotional experiences of the world. Neither realm is static, however, even the seemingly untouched natural landscapes. Using time-lapse photography techniques, Emmanuel shows this outwardly unchanging topography to be in a constant state of flux. In contrast, young men are shown having their hair shaven as they enter the army in real time, presenting a different kind of shift. The two worlds aren’t necessarily separate and, as the film progresses, elements in the young men’s lives filter into or are echoed in, the empty landscapes, such as the physical connection between blond hair falling and the honey strands of grass blowing in the wind. Whatever compromises Emmanuel may or may not have made in assuming this new medium, the end result is impressive. The film’s intellectual or conceptual dimensions are challenging, stimulating and rich: probing white identity, maleness, race and, on a more transcendental level, the
link between our cognitive and emotional selves. Emmanuel has also achieved what no South African video artist has to date: he has created an artwork which fully utilises or exploits the qualities that only film can offer. So many artists today are wont to employ various mediums in their art making, including photography, digital art and film, but more often than not they have no technical mastery over their medium. How can they, when they flit from paint to photography and then to sculpture? And though the value of art is no longer measured by the artist’s proficiency with his or her medium, one can’t deny the impact that a well-crafted object can have on the overall communication. This is why big-wig artists such as Damien Hirst pay folk to make his art for him rather than fiddling with mediums that he is not completely au fait with. With 3 SAI A Rite of Passage, however, Emmanuel has created an artwork that has value as a cinematic initiative and not just as an art object. Most video artworks in this country have absolutely no visual appeal; they are completely concept driven. But 3 SAI A Rite of Passage is as aesthetically pleasing as it is intellectually exciting. 3 SAI A Rite of Passage is part of Transitions, an exhibition by Paul Emmanuel that is showing at the Apartheid Museum until December
South African Art Times.
One of the more versatile characters on the local art scene is David Krut, a qualified accountant (BCom, CA, Wits) who went to London in 1972 to become a banker but changed course a couple of years later when the financial sector when through one of its regular upheavals.
David Krut reads from one of his many TAXI Artist series books
Art Community Profile: David Krut Michael Coulson chats with multi talented David Krut an art gallery at his Dion discount store (today Game) in Wynberg. Krut was also instrumental in bringing Dan Cornwall-Jones out to run Friedland’s gallery, and regards Cornwall-Jones as his mentor. “He taught me what it is to help collectors. You can only learn about the art market from talking to artists and the highest-level dealers like him, you can’t pick it up from books.” In 1980 Krut decided to become an art dealer himself. “Art was still affordable in those days,” he recalls. “I used to sell Hockney prints for 100 pounds or so.”
He was approached for advice by Fernand Haenggi, who wanted to set up an offshoot of his Gallery 21 – once well known in Johannesburg – in London. While he didn’t get directly involved, he learnt a lot about the art market after introducing Haenggi to Dion Friedland, an art collector who for a while had
The following year he published his first print, by Joe Tilson, a contemporary of Hockney and Richard Hamilton at the Royal College of Art. While he had no intention of opening a gallery, he saw potential in travelling exhibitions. Appropriately, he started with a Tilson show, which he brought to various venues in SA. That opened his eyes to the opportunities for contemporary art in SA. In association with Natalie Knight, he brought out a selection of Italian artists in 1983 and Berlin art in 1984. His last import was in 1989, to celebrate 150 years of
photography. Diplomatically, Krut won’t comment on how his relationship with Knight developed, but it’s generally thought that today they don’t exactly exchange birthday cards. In 1993 Krut came back to SA for what he thought might well be the last time, to attend his friend the writer and arts critic Robert Greig’s wedding. There he happened to meet actress Grethe Fox, his partner ever since, and though he’s still nominally based in London, his links with SA were reforged unbreakably.
in Johannesburg, Krut regards himself as a publisher, facilitator and educator rather than a gallerist. In 1999, he learnt that funding was available for books on contemporary SA artists. Krut insisted that this had to be a sustainable series, not just an occasional project, and in theory has been producing three Taxi books a year ever since.
Meanwhile, in the 1980s he’d also started to deal in contemporary art, for which there was no market in SA, so he extended his activities to North America and Australia. In 1985 he held a big Andy Warhol show in Sydney, selling works for $1 000 that now command $90 000. “I wish I’d kept a few for myself,” he says ruefully.
Reality is that artists, writers – who he sees as being as much the beneficiaries of the series as the artists –and designers don’t always meet their deadlines, so the Taxi series numbers 13 to date. He doesn’t see any necessary end. “Taxi books are intended to celebrate artists in mid-career, so by definition new people are becoming eligible subjects all the time.” It may be tough to maintain quality, but on the evidence to date the Taxi books are the most attractive and authoritative series SA has yet produced.
But although he has a space, essentially a print workshop, in Chelsea, the centre of the New York art world (“There are 400 galleries in Chelsea,” he says – he opened his the day before 9/11), as well as being the pioneer of what has developed into Parkwood’s art strip
And he’s about to launch a new series of books. Clumsily titled Skill Set: Knowledge Resource & Education Series, it aims to provide instruction in various design disciplines, including graphic, set, fashion and industrial design. The first volume, Graphic design, by
Michael MacGarry, is imminent. His initial space in Parkwood was rented to accommodate Egon Guenther’s old printing press to establish a print workshop. Colbert Mashile and Amos Letsoala – now curator of the Polokwane museum – were among the first to use the facility. But, like Topsy, it just grew and grew. First, surplus space was used to accommodate a bookshop. Then, another vacant space a couple of doors away was taken on as a dedicated gallery, after its previous tenants, who sold traditional West African art and artifacts, did a midnight flit. And, most recently, Krut also took over the bookshop at the Johannesburg Art Gallery which, he says, doesn’t make money, but is an essential service. With more or less permanent establishments in London and New York as well as Johannesburg, Krut is uniquely placed as a funnel both to take SA art to the world, and bring international art to SA. The only question is, where will this protean entrepreneur and art lover break out next.
South African Art Times.
A panoramic view at Beautiful Inside My Head Forever (BIMHF) Auction held at Sotheby’s London September 15 and 16 2008.
Photo’s from Sotheby’s London
Hirst sale delivers new chapter in art marketing Michael Coulson Opinions are sharply divided whether Damien Hirst is a great artist. Before his record-breaking sale at Sotheby’s in London in September, one eminent critic, Robert Hughes, called his work “simple-minded” and the artist a “pirate”, while another, The Observer’s Peter Conrad, was converted from considering him a “greedy, cynical, overpaid showoff” to an admirer of his “wit and ingenuity in wrestling with notions of mortality and death.” What’s undeniable, though, is his commercial genius. The sale, entitled Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, grossed £ 111m. With the auction house waiving its usual seller’s commission, deducting the 12% buyer’s premium left Hirst with a staggering £ 96m, just above the upper estimate of £ 98m.. Even had Sotheby’s charged its normal commission, probably 12%, it would still have been a lot less than the 40%-50% most commercial galleries now levy. So while the innovation may have been risky, the potential rewards were considerable – and it paid off. The previous record for an auction dedicated to a single artist was £ 11.3m, for 88 Picassos at Sotheby’s New York in 1993. Even allowing for inflation, the latest figure is staggering. Well under 10% of the 223 new works apparently failed to find buyers, while 24 lots went for £ 1m or more. Top price was £ 10.3m for The Golden Calf, a bull in formaldehyde adorned with hooves and an 18-carat gold disc above its head – not far short of the 1992 Picasso Damien Hirst infront of his work entitled: The Golden Calf
Photo: Johnnie Shand-Kidd
gross and 40% more than the total of Bonhams’ latest sale of SA art. The estimate for this was £ 8m-£ 12m. The theoretical losers on the show were Hirst’s regular galleries, the White Cube in London, which gritted its teeth and congratulated Hirst on being a “mould-breaker without equal”, and New York’s Gagosian. In fact, White Cube founder Jay Jopling bid on many lots, laying out several million pounds, whether to replenish the gallery stock or just to support the market one can only hypothesise. (Incidentally, recent news that Jopling and his wife of 11 years, photographer and video artist Sam Taylor-Wood, are to part breaks up one of the London art world’s top power couples.) The decision to sell through the auction is largely credited to Frank Dunphy, Hirst’s business manager and eminence grise for the past 13 years – whose own commission on all Hirst’s sales is thought to be about 10%, making him another major beneficiary of the two-day sale. Dunphy also master-minded Hirst’s expansion into productionline art, through 180 employees and five studios. Hirst has admitted he had financial problems when he and Dunphy got together, but before the sale Dunphy claimed that the artist is now worth £ 500m. His assets reportedly include a £ 200m art collection and no fewer than 40 properties, and he’ll be able to expand both portfolios after two days that boosted his wealth by 20%. Typically, Dunphy watched the sale from the back of the hall, but Hirst, who said he found the occasion too stressful, retreated to a snooker hall in north London and kept in touch by phone.
South African Art Times.
Fiona Ewan Rowett
Cape Townâ€™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
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: Bea Jaffray, Ceramic No.3 Green - Gold Border
Exclusive distributors of
Pieter van der Westhuizen etchings full selection on website