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DIALOGUING DIALECT

NOELEEN KLEVE


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Fig. 1 (previous page) Suspended Translation: Skut (detail) Fig. 2 Relate/Translate (detail) 2


NOELEEN KLEVE

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Contents List of Illustrations....................................6 Introductory essay..................................10 Endnotes...............................................36 Bibliography..........................................37 Acknowledgements................................38 Curriculum Vitae....................................39

Fig. 3 Suspended Translation: Misconstruction (detail) 5


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS All photographs by Noeleen kleve except when stated otherwise. Fig 1. Noeleen Kleve, Suspended Translation: Skut (2012) (detail). Woodcut print on recycled newsprint with laser-cut detail, 41cm x104,6cm. Fig 2. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail). Wooden blocks, laser-engraving, spraypaint, size: various. Fig 3. Noeleen Kleve, Suspended Translation: Misconstruction (2012) (detail). Laser-cut fragments of woodcut print on recycled newsprint, size: various. Fig 4. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail, Block 2). Wooden block, hand engraved, spraypaint, object: 50cm3. Fig 5. Ricardo Monk handcutting the letter “A” in “graffiti” font (2012). Kommetjie, Cape Town. Fig 6. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail). Wooden block, hand engraved, spraypaint, object: 50cm3. Fig 7. Noeleen Kleve, Alphabet blocks (found) (2012). Pine wood, each object: 3cm3. Fig 8. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image (2012). Woodcut prints on newspaper, each 50 x 50cm. Fig 9. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image (2012). Found alphabet blocks with woodcut print (detail), size: various. Fig 10. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: excavating woodcuts with Dremel tool (2012). Superwood, 50 x 50cm. Fig 11. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: excavating woodcuts with Dremel tool (2012). Superwood, 50 x 50cm. Fig 12. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: excavating woodcuts with handheld woodcutting tool (2012). Superwood, 50 x 50cm. Fig 13. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: excavating woodcuts with handheld woodcutting tool (2012). Superwood, 50 x 50cm. Fig 14. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: Designing “graffiti” font (2012) (detail). Pencil, ink on tracing paper, 29,7 x 42cm.

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Fig 15. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: Inking up “A” woodcut (2012) (detail). Superwood, printing ink, roller, size: various. Fig 16. Noeleen Kleve, Laser engraved “A” on woodblock (2012) (detail). Laser engraved Superwood, acrylic paint, printing ink, 5,5 x 5,5cm. Fig 17. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: Digitising the “graffiti” font (2012) (detail). Photograph of working process on Apple Mac computer. Fig 18. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: spraypainting Relate/Translate (2012) (detail of process). Wooden blocks, laser-engraving, spraypaint, size: various. Fig 19. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: brain and language sites (2012). Superwood, handcut detail with Dremel tool, 25 x 30cm. Fig 20. Noeleen Kleve, “Die Blokke” (2012) (detail). Photograph, size 5,7 x 5,7cm. Fig 21. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail). Superwood, laser-engraving, spraypaint, size: various. Fig 22. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (installation view). Wooden blocks, laserengraving, collaged woodcut prints, spraypaint, vinyl, size: various. (Photograph taken by Dave Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of Dave Roussouw). Fig 23. Noeleen Kleve, Converse (2012) (detail). Digital photograph of sound recording process, size: various. Fig 24. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail, installation). Wooden blocks, laserengraving, collaged woodcut prints, spraypaint, size: various. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 25. Noeleen Kleve, Relate/Translate (2012) (detail, installation). Wooden blocks, laserengraving, collaged woodcut prints, spraypaint, vinyl, size: various. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 26. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: Relate/Translate(2012) Sketch on layout paper, size: 29,7 x 42cm. Fig 27. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image: Relate/Translate(2012) (detail). Collage newsprint on wooden blocks, size: various.

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Fig 28. Swoon, Guerrero 6 (2005) (detail). Linocut with hand-painting and cutting, object: life-size. Brooklyn Metropolitan Museum. (https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_ art_base/gallery/swoon.php). Fig 29. Noeleen Kleve, Workbook image:“E” Woodcut print on press (2012) (detail). Inked woodcut, newsprint, etching press, size: various. Fig 30. Noeleen Kleve, “O” Woodcut print (2012) (detail). Woodcut print on newsprint, size: various. Fig 31. Willem Boshoff, The Blind Alphabet (1991-2000). Wood, steel and aluminium, height of each box 73,5cm. Installation Johannesburg Art Gallery. (Illustration: Vladislavic 1995:55, photograph taken by Wayne Oosthuizen). Fig 32. Noeleen Kleve, Suspended Translation: Misconstructed (2012) (detail, installation). Laser-cut fragments of woodcut print on recycled newsprint, size: various. Fig 33. Noeleen Kleve, Suspended Translation: Mameza (2012) (detail, installation). Woodcut print on recycled newsprint with laser-cut detail, object: 41cm x104,6cm. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 34. Noeleen Kleve, Can Connect (2012) (installation view). Wooden plinth with vinyl text, metal can, spraypaint, nylon gut, size: various. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 35. Noeleen Kleve, Can Connect (2012) (detail). Wooden plinth with vinyl text, metal can,spraypaint, nylon gut, size: various. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 36. Noeleen Kleve, Can Connect (2012) (detail). Wooden plinth with vinyl text, size: various. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw). Fig 37. Noeleen Kleve, Dialoguing Dialect (2012) (Exhibition view). Medium: various. Installation Lovell Gallery, Cape Town. (Photograph taken by David Roussouw. Reproduced by permission of David Roussouw).

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Dialoguing Dialect investigates the notion of self and otheri within the context of language. The relevance of this theme in a contemporary multicultural South Africa relates to the frequent sense of connection yet disconnection, exacerbated by misunderstandings within the diversity of spoken languages and dialects. Language diversity causes disconnects in interpersonal communications. This work explores the potential for the “retransmission� or reconnection of communication disrupted through misinterpretation.

Fig. 4 Relate/Translate (detail, block 2) 10


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My informal role as an art educator in the community of Ocean Viewii has allowed for conversational interaction with young adults from the area. With their help I attempt to decode slang used in this community, often resulting in misunderstanding through translation.

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Theorist and art critic Nicolas Bourriaud’s claim that “artists are looking for a new modernity…based on translation” (Dreyer 2010) resonates with me in that his philosophy of Relational Aesthetics considers the aesthetic form of communicative acts.

Fig. 5 Ricardo Monk handcutting letter “A” Fig. 6 Relate/Translate (detail) 12


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My home language is English and as a child I played with lettered blocks to learn the alphabet. In my artwork, the alphabet blocks are hybridized with a graffiti font. This alludes to inherent difficulties experienced by mainstream language speakers (Jambor 2007) when attempting to connect with the dialect of another language. The labourintensive mark-makingiii required for cutting these wooden blocks indicates my own struggle to decode this vernacular language. Fig. 8

Fig. 7 Alphabet blocks (found) Fig. 8 Workbook image: Woodcut prints on newspaper Fig. 9 Workbook image: alphabet blocks with woodcut print Fig. 10 Workbook image: excavating woodcut with Dremel tool Fig. 11 Workbook image: excavating woodcut with Dremel tool Fig. 12 Workbook image: woodcutting with hand-held tool Fig. 13 Workbook image: woodcutting with hand-held tool Fig. 14 Workbook image: Designing “graffiti” font Fig. 15 Workbook image: Inking up “A” woodcut Fig. 16 Laser engraved “A” on woodblock (detail) Fig. 17 Workbook image: Digitising the “graffiti” font (detail) 14

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The idea of the ‘block’ has several metaphorical connotations.

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Building blocks of language are contained in words, and in the letters of the alphabet; a mental block refers to my inability to understand, translate or articulate thoughts and words in this unfamiliar vernacular, while a stumbling block implies an obstacle or impediment, like the difficulty of communicating through an unfamiliar dialect. Blok (in Afrikaans) translates as block, cram, or swot (learn) (Twee-talige Skool-woordeboek 2003). Coincidentally, the Ocean View young adults live in blocks of flats colloquially called Die Blokke.

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Workbook image: Relate/Translate (detail of process) Workbook image: brain and language sites Workbook image: “Die Blokke” (detail) Relate/Translate (detail) 16

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The centre/periphery or self/other relationship is understood in both a psychological and philosophical sense and defines exclusion of “Others� within societies. In the language context of the Ocean View community, my position translates as peripheral - that of the other - as can be heard on the sound installation Converse that connects the viewer to a conversationiv about selected slang.

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My installation Relate/Translate references dialogue and language. In its dominant position on the wall, a speech bubble signifies the primary language (the self) as slang. A second speech bubble in a subordinate position on the floor consists of questions I frequently ask in my attempt to understand the slang. This bubble represents English, here the secondary language, the language of the other. Between these speech bubbles, blocks descend in an arc in decreasing sizes, as if tumbling.

Fig. 22 Relate/Translate (detail, installation) Fig. 23 Converse (detail of sound recording process) Fig. 24 Relate/Translate (detail, installation, overleaf) 19


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The imagery on these language blocks invokes further interpretation. From the excavation of hand-cut wood, to collaged prints, and finally to the digitally rendered laser-engraved and vinyl cut letters, this ‘visual translation’ describes the act of language translation, in the changing of words in form, shape or appearance. Graffiti-style letters with traces of luminous spray-paint on alphabet blocks allude to youth culture and the territory or site of this slang.

Fig. 25 Relate/Translate (detail, installation) Fig. 26 Workbook image: Relate/Translate (sketch) Fig. 27 Workbook image: Relate/Translate (detail)

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New York street artist Swoon works with a combination of print, drawing, spraypaint and collage (www.the-artists. org/artist/swoon/). Her relief prints inspired my woodcuts of graffiti-style text; while her images on recycled newsprint informed my printing onto local community newspaperv , indicating the way people connect through language and communication.

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Fig. 28 Swoon. Guerrero 6 (detail) Fig. 29 Workbook image: “E” woodcut print on press (detail) Fig. 30 Workbook image: “O” woodcut print Fig. 31 Willem Boshoff: The Blind Alphabet (1991-2000) Fig. 32 Suspended Translation: Miscontructed (detail, installation, overleaf)

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South African artist Willem Boshoff (b. 1951) works primarily with language and text. His Blind Alphabetvi (1993) is an installation of boxes concealing carved objects taken from “a subset of English terms” (Vladislavić 2005:54). The box tops have braille explanations intended for interpretation for the sighted by a blind person. Boshoff subverts the notion of the blind as marginalized/peripheral or other and the sighted as central self.

My work evolved from a similar principle where my position becomes that of the disenfranchised English-speaking other, thereby raising questions around the autonomy of the English language due to its universality (Jambor 2007).

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Like Boshoff’s Blind Alphabet, my Suspended Translation involves cooperative interpretation: this wall work depicts prints of graffiti-style words encrypted with laser text transcribed from the sound installation and tasks the viewer with deciphering the text, linking to a form of language block.


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Explorations into “creative interplay” between centre and periphery inspire “constant activity of contact and transformation” (Boisvert 2005:124) as is suggested in the Can Connect installation. Fig. 35

Fig. 33 Suspended Translation: Mameza (detail, installation) Fig. 34 Can Connect (installation view) Fig. 35 Can Connect (detail, installation) Fig. 36 Can Connect (detail, installation) Fig. 37 Dialoguing Dialect (exhibition view) Fig. 36 31


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My intention is to inspire a visual dialogue between viewer and artwork in an endeavour to make the unfamiliar accessible. Through engagement with perhaps unintelligible language and resultant barriers, this exhibition proposes the translation of position by alluding to a playful subversion of the self and other.

Fig. 38 Suspended Translation: Misconstruction (detail) 34


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Endnotes i The notion of “Othering” was conceived by Emmanuel Levinas and later popularised by philospher Edward Said’s Orientalism (1979), and can be defined as the process of creating and maintaining a dichotomy between ones-self, as marked by a particular (Western identity, and the Other(s). The self/other relationship is understood in both a psychological and philosophical sense. and defines exclusion of “Others” within societies. ii The community of Ocean View is situated between Kommetjie and Fish Hoek on the Cape Peninsula and was established largely as a result of apartheid policy in the 1960’s – 70’s. iii While learning this vernacular language from Ricardo Monk and Justin Boois, I taught them the visual language of woodcutting. iv My voice haltingly pronounces the words and translates meaning of selected slang while Ricardo Monk and Justin Boois impart interpretation and clarify meaning for me. v Berman & Coppes (2012:54) maintain that appropriate use of paper creates “a medium able to transcend differences across disciplines and between individuals”. vi Willem Boshoff, The Blind Alphabet (1991-2000). Wood, steel and aluminium. Height of each box 735mm. Installation: Johannesburg Art Gallery (Vladislavić 2005:55).

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Bibliography Berman, K & Coppes, M. 2011. Creative collaborations at Phumani Archive Papermill. Art South Africa 10(2) Summer: 54-55. Boisvert, RD. 2005. Diversity as Fraternity Lite. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 19(2): 124. Boshoff, W. 1993. Willem Boshoff. Sv “Blind alphabet”. Available at www.willemboshoff.com (Accessed 12 May 2012). Dreyer, E. 2010. Postmodernism is dead. Collateral Sv “Altermodernism”. Available at http:// www.friedcontemporary.com/Collateral.htm (Accessed 14 April 2012). Hannerz, U. 1992. Cultural Complexity. New York and Chichester: Columbia University Press. Jambor, PZ. 2007. English language imperialism – points of view. The journal of English as an international language. Sv “English language “ (1):103-123. Available at https://sites.google. com/site/paulzjambor/jeil (Accessed 15 June 2012). Said, E. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Random House. Tweetalige Skool-woordeboek. 2003. 8th ed. Sv “blok”. Cape Town: Nasou Limited. Vladislavić, I. 2005. Willem Boshoff. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing. www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/swoon.php (Accessed 20 October 2012). www.the-artists.org/artist/swoon/ (Accessed 21 September 2012).

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I would like to thank Emma Willemse and Nathani Luneberg for their insight and dedication; Mandy Conidaris and Dave Roussouw for assisting me with editing and photography; Cobus Oosthuizen, Justin Boois, Ricardo Monk and LifeXchange for their participation with the sound and woodcuts and Lovell Gallery for their professionalism. Special thanks to my family, Brent and Aden Kleve, as well as Lynn Brown and my fellow artists for their generous support and encouragement.

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Noeleen Kleve Personal

Born 1962. East London, South Africa Lives and works in Kommetjie (Cape Town)

Education 1983 1995 2006 – 2013

Diploma in Graphic Design – Ruth Prowse School of Art Photoshop, Freehand – MacTrain Computer Graphics College BVA Studies at UNISA

Selected Group Exhibitions 2010 ‘[In]sight’ exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede (Cape Town) ‘Print’ exhibition, These Four Walls (Cape Town) ‘Les Artistes’ exhibition, Aardvark Gallery (Cape Town) 2011 ‘Berg’ exhibition, Athol Fugard Festival (Nieu Bethesda) ‘Print’ exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede (Cape Town) ‘Animals in law and society: perspectives from Africa and beyond’ exhi bition, Unisa (Pretoria) Unisa 3rd Year Group Exhibition, art.b (Bellville) 2012 ‘Fear & Loss - 2052 Karoo’, KKNK (Oudsthoorn) ‘2052 Karoo - Fear & Loss’, National Arts Festival (Grahamstown) ‘Walk this earth alone’, Grande Provence Gallery (Franschhoek) ‘Dolerite - 2052 Karoo’, Prince Albert Festival (Prince Albert) ‘Unisa Graduate Exhibition’, Lovell Gallery (Cape Town) ‘Print’ exhibition, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development (Cape Town) Internship 2012 Warren Editions Art Competitions Finalist 2011 Sasol New Signatures (Pretoria) Vuleka Awards (Cape Town) Thami Mnyele (Johannesburg) Contact details

email: kleve@global.co.za cell: 083 330 5577 39


Photography: Noeleen Kleve and David Roussouw Design and layout: Noeleen Kleve Printing: House of Colours Editor: Mandy Conidaris Catalogue : 2012


Profile for Noeleen Kleve

Catalogue dialoguing dialect  

Catalogue dialoguing dialect  

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