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eye d e k e a p the n bopa o t e e e l h b ses e visi b t dineo o will n e s p i l c the e

eye d e k e a p the n bopa o e t e e h l s se e visib b t dineo o n e will s p i l c the e 29 JULY – 4 SEPTEMBER 2010 MICHAEL STEVENSON

feelin cosmic grass green/sky blue god dear (part 1) f for flowers flowers for modjadji immaterial flower blur eartha kitt they went that way yoh what’s this now and sparkle tree flowers for tv green treeeee flowr light beautiful build a house. garden flowers2 crystal night tree sky blue HOW deep is your love chickens DSCN3664 flower1 wine glass flowers flowers22 garden WINDO GARDEN xiluva a ke itsi kits tree string bright light cuts eclipsed elephant ears flower garden flower shop tree night leaves green tree green treeeee ground killer night leavezz my my

pine tree w sky savannah park sky sea sky tress string tree light at bottom SV400026 tent in grass tree in blu treees sky queen of necklace sketch II in 3 parts ge ba ba nea something special winnie’s lace alter ke tsa diphoofolo tsa go hlasela pelo



sparkle tree, flower garden, wine glass flowers, flowers for tv, queen of necklace sketch II part 3, tree sky



f for flowers, immaterial, flowers for modjadji



god dear (part 1), queen of necklace sketch II part 2 and 3




queen of necklace sketch II part 1, night tree, garden flowers2, eartha kitt, immaterial


grass green/sky blue, flower, blue, flowers for modjadji, eartha kitt




green treeeee flowr, alter, garden flowers2, eartha kitt, flower blur, tent in grass, blue, flower garden, sky sea


bright light, killer night, pine tree w sky





queen of necklace sketch II part 2, crystal night




a ke itsi kits, green treeeee, queen of necklace sketch II part 1


something special, ge ba ba nea, queen of necklace sketch II part 3



feelin cosmic, winnie’s lace



the eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye



savannah park, light beautiful, they went that way, queen of necklace sketch II part 3, ge ba ba nea, grass green/sky blue, tree in blu


the personal effects of dineo bopape and other references Gabi Ngcobo

My work is a negotiation of love, hate, mistakes, intentions, tensions, passion, intensity, boredom and frustrations. I converse with today and yesterday, forever, as they negotiate spaces in consciousness. The result of this is almost always fragmentary/fragmented. – Dineo Seshee Bopape, ‘About my work…’, 2004 We have unexpectedly arrived at quite an interesting idea of the object and objectivity. Activating the thing means perhaps to create an objective – not as a fact, but as the task of unfreezing the forces congealed within the trash of history. – Hito Steyerl, ‘A Thing Like You and Me’, e-flux journal # 15, 04/2010 Dineo Seshee Bopape likes things – o rata dilo – uthanda izinto. This liking of things or ‘thingness’ is not the same as being easily excited by fads of the moment. If the infamous adjective ‘tjatjarag’ were without the negative connotation, referring to one who is excitable, hyperactive and over-zealous in an annoying way, I would use it to describe Bopape’s approach to her visual collages. Bopape’s practice defies categorisation. It is in place all over the place, obsessively, passionately, intensely… Her installations are loaded with what she refers to as ‘effects’ – something similar to perfumes (like Chanel No 5) worn to match a certain mood, day or season. Her obsessions are seldom located within one recognisable space, time or zone. They are temporal and are not to be distanced from life itself, the general ways of doing things – cooking, loving, dressing, etc. As she has remarked, ‘real life requires one to perform many adjectives… I am interested in objects performing passively… alluding in a very scattered way to disparate things somehow dancing their colours, textures, thingness with other things… and their thingnesses too.’ 1 Bopape collides things, making them perform a multitude of (temporal) possibilities out in the

1 Bopape in an interview with Natalie

open. Her installations are like infinite life and spatial choices, a gathering of objects that play


against each other and thus continuously construct and dismantle each other’s narratives.



2 H  ito Steyerl, ‘A Thing Like You and Me’ in e-flux journal #15, 04/2010

Her digitally manipulated images bear what Hito Steyerl calls ‘the bruises of [their] crashes with politics and violence’,2 bruises that are also located within the ‘imperfection’ of the image, bearing the ‘traces of… rips and transfers’. They are her recollections of history, but we should not forget that Bopape likes to remember things in her own way. Through ‘her’ images, still and moving, she invites us to reconsider our yearning for a value based on authenticity. Drawn from the artist’s statements over six years, the following critical points – accompanied by passages from recent and historical texts – illuminate the location of Bopape’s ‘effects’. Effect # 1 (organs without bodies) in the ‘beginning’ of my practice i was thinking a lot about baggage, historical, social, personal... the weight of it all became too much but the shape of it i was still interested in... plastic bags/ bubbles, balloons... that balloons are filled with nothing that they fill a shape and some space... perhaps it is the trace of the baggage that left its imprint on me the trace of the trauma – turning an invisible yet present thing into nothing trying to wipe it off, to dismantle it – yet there lies its trace uncontainable in any shape: it is nothing

‘However, an object which isn’t an object is not nothing. One becomes obsessed by its immanence, its void, to trace the mark of this void, and within the limits of indifference to play the game according to the mysterious rules of indifference.’ – Jean Baudrillard, ‘Objects, Images, and the Possibilities of Aesthetic Illusion’, 1997 Effect #2 (the thing in itself) i am interested in the idea of nothing, ‘it’s nothing’ thingness, and no thingness, situations saturated with distortions, perhaps trauma: memory/time/distortion/holes that one jumps through to go to the other side. the thing is the central character of this narrative… there is a collision that happens, some type of disco of effects, a disco within/of the affected object saturated


Perhaps the thing is how to make a story, one coherent story, How to narrativise an event Events that are somehow free of the historic That have not yet been through the historicization process, or are in the midst of being historicized – made to a particular logic Effect # 3 (no event, no document, no history) If the work is the event, How does one document it after? How is it historicized? And which version is the true depiction of the event Is it valid now to document installations in black and white? Or to manipulate the pics? But what if the pics are bad? I am a bad photographer ie I cannot photograph things ‘as they are’ but I am more able to edit them how I remember them and how I would like to memorise them ‘The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.’ – Hito Steyerl, ‘In Defense of the Poor Image’, e-flux journal # 10, 11/2009) Effect # 4 (the dematerialisation of an event [object/time]) i am interested in a dematerialisation of an event, the politic of making an event, of framing time, organising things to form a particular sense there is some sort of a decay of a linearity go swele dikota, go shetje melora (the firewood has burned, all that’s left are the ashes) to displace history. memory. a fantasy. the story...


to wobble the frame and to elasticate an event. ‘For years people have been concerned with what goes on inside the frame. Maybe there’s something going on outside the frame that could be considered an artistic idea.’ – Robert Barry, 1968 Effect # 5 (feelin cosmic is…) …space. which is one of my primary concerns especially in the videos and some of the more recent studio investigations... visual space and the space beyond the visual, digital space, political space, fantasy space/the space of the intangible, the space of beauty (utopia and politics of beauty), the metaphysical... the space of memory, space occupied by images... i am interested in the space within video, if there is space within the virtual – how deep does it go? how far can a sound recede or an image, how much further can the real be? perhaps it is also a question of metaphysics... and trying to draw a type of timeline Effect # 6 (the door to the other side) the portal, zoom lens, pipe, tunnel, the peephole, the lens, unconditional saturation, a disco of effects… there is nothing, only effect and affectation, the flower could be anything – but it is also particular, a character (substance of the things not seen), there is the romance of the story and its origins, its co-ordinates seem to not coincide, lacking THE romance to make it real. perhaps what makes it real is its effects, its trace, its mirror. it’s about space, the depth of field, the distance between here and there, this and that time, the space within a mirror once upon a time the first people beginning a tale, a narrative/story – implying that there is a middle and an end but what do they call each other? an echo immersed in the sieve Effect # 7 (the space of memory) the space of memory, space occupied by images... and how do objects function within a space – the materiality of space: the space of memory and of the haptic digital?


‘William James thought that a necessary ingredient of memory is “the revival in the mind of an image or copy of the original event” (Principles of Psychology, I, 649). And Russell says: “Memory demands an image” (The Analysis of Mind, p186). Beyond the general agreement of memory theorists on the necessity for an image, some of them have held that “the present mental occurrence in remembering” must contain additional components. Certain feelings must accompany or characterize the image. One can deduce the nature of the feeling from the problems that have to be solved. For example, if I have an image is it an image of something I remember? Should I refer the image to the past or the future? Why should I give it one reference rather than another? Now if there were such “a feeling of pastness” it would, apparently, solve the problem. For if that feeling should accompany an image then I shall refer the image to the past; if not, not.’ – Norman Malcolm, ‘Memory and Representation’ in Noûs, Vol 4, Feb 1970 i set up situations within which the objects are ‘made’ to perform – poetically in sight of each other – and also in which an event in memory is re-performed in the present, devoid from original context. together with the videos, they collectively produce a site for a disrupted narrative, an orchestral discordant mess/harmony of small stories or fragments of a language that would thereafter be dismantled. ……………………………………… i keep thinking a lot about the shembe people’s aesthetics... the white painted rocks used in both urban and rural areas... but most especially in the urban areas, to temporarily demarcate a space that would function as a spiritual zone... a temporary church... an ephemeral space, bubble... arena – within which that spiritual event/activity is to take place... ‘Finally I can tell generations and generations ‘That SHEMBE is the way’ – Lucky Dube, Shembe is the Way i guess it is like constructing a tent. Gabi Ngcobo is an independent curator, writer and artist


Dineo Seshee Bopape was born in 1981 in Polokwane, South Africa. She is a graduate of the Durban Institute of Technology (2004) and De Ateliers in Amsterdam (2007), and completed an MFA with Columbia University, New York, in May 2010. She was the winner of the 2008 MTN New Contemporaries Award. She was one of two African artists included on The Generational: Younger than Jesus, the first triennial exhibition of the New Museum in New York (2009). She has held solo exhibitions at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban (2005 and 2008); Mart House Gallery in Amsterdam (2007 and 2009); and the Thami Mnyele Studio, Amsterdam (2008). Recent group shows include Siren at Anna Kustera Gallery, New York (2010); PASS-AGES: references & footnotes at the old Pass Office in Johannesburg (2010); Ampersand at Daimler Contemporary, Berlin (2010); Act IX: Let Us Compare Mythologies at Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010); Life Less Ordinary: Performance and display in South African art at the Fotogallery in Cardiff, Wales, and Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2009 and 2010); Dada South? at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2009); Rebelle: Art and Feminism 1969-2009 at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem, The Netherlands (2009); Beauty and Pleasure in South African Contemporary Art at The Stenersen Museum, Oslo (2009); and Black Womanhood: Images, icons, and ideologies of the African body, Davis Museum, Wellesley College, MA, USA (2008). She has previously exhibited at Michael Stevenson on the group shows In the Making: Materials and process (2005); Disguise: The art of attracting and deflecting attention (2008); and Summer 2009/10: Projects. Artist’s acknowledgments: mama le papa Catalogue no 53 August 2010

daniel bozhkov, fia, jon k.+ kara for insights*

Front cover feelin cosmic

+the dreammakers/ joan legalamitlwa, joost bosland, andrew da conceicao, petros sethoa and all at

MICHAEL STEVENSON Buchanan Building 160 Sir Lowry Road

michael stevenson

Woodstock 7925


Cape Town, South Africa

the eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye, 2010, installation including digital videos (feelin

Tel +27 (0)21 462 1500

cosmic, 2008, 1 min 34 sec, sound; f for flowers, 2010, 1 min, sound; grass green/sky blue, 2008, 6

min 52 sec, sound; god dear [part 1], 2009, 4 min 15 sec, sound); digital drawings (lightjet prints on Editor Sophie Perryer Design Gabrielle Guy

metallic paper, various dimensions); sculptures (queen of necklace sketch II in 3 parts, something special, 2010, mixed media, various dimensions); wall collage (alter, 2010, mixed media, 240 x 428 x

Photography Mario Todeschini

26 cm); and painting (ke tsa diphoofolo tsa go hlasela pelo, 2010, acrylic on board, 90 x 180cm)

Printing Hansa Print, Cape Town

the eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye, 2009, SD digital video, 11 min 38 sec, sound



Dineo Bopape: The eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye  

Stevenson catalogue 53, 2010

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