Peter Clarke: Just Paper and Glue

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5 SEPTEMBER – 12 OCTOBER 2013

PETER CLARKE

Just Paper and Glue


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PETER CLARKE INTERVIEWED BY HANS ULRICH OBRIST

HUO: To begin at the beginning: you were telling me about your early drawings, and that you always drew. Was there an epiphany or how did you come to art?

on the occasion of his retrospective, ‘Peter Clarke: Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats’, at Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London, 16 January 2013

Or did art come to you?

PC: I think art came to me. There was a directive from upstairs and the voice said: ‘You will become an artist.’ I think of that Michelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel of God reaching down to Adam and saying, ‘Be.’ So I became an artist, I think quite early. When I was a child I started drawing, and I always enjoyed drawing. In fact, many years later when I had my third exhibition, my former primary school teacher came to see the show and she said: ‘Yes, I remember you; you were the one who was always drawing when I was teaching everybody else.’ So, you know, it started early and it never really stopped. It’s interesting that it’s led up to all of this, being here now. When we spoke before, I asked you where the catalogue raisonné would start. This is the question I am always very interested in: where does the student work end, and what’s the number one entry in a catalogue raisonné? You mentioned you rediscovered a watercolour you did around 14/15, which seems somehow the beginning for you. Could you tell us about this unknown work? Yes, I was scratching around and I discovered this drawing, this particular watercolour, amongst other things. It was of children on the beach, so I think it was done in high school. Peter Clarke, age 15 years, ‘today’s topic will be “a day at the beach”’. And so I did this little watercolour painting called A Day at the Beach, and what I like about it is the freedom expressed in it. The way the waves are doing funny things in the background, and these figures in the foreground, three

Opposite Fiddlesticks


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children, are having a great time, you know, they are being

Was it also through books that you discovered Mexican

boisterous and really enjoying a day at the seaside. And so

art and Japanese art? Because in many previous

I think the catalogue raisonné would start right there, with

interviews, and also earlier when we had coffee, you

that particular work.

mentioned the importance of Mexican art, and that Mexican muralists inspired you a lot in the beginning as

Who would you say were your influences at the time?

artists. Could you tell us about this because it sounds

I read an interview you gave a couple of years ago where

like a very important part of the culture as well?

you said that there really was not much information and your parents did not even allow you to read newspapers.

It was actually extremely important because it happened when I was at high school. I spent one year at high

Now, when it comes to the newspapers I could understand

school and then I decided that I had had enough of being

that. They didn’t want me to read all kinds of sleazy stories

educated, officially. My art teacher had a good collection

and so on. I was much too young to know about such –

of Studio magazines. Studio was an English magazine;

that is how they must have felt. In the meantime I had all

he subscribed to it and he allowed his pupils to read the

these friends who were always interested and they could

magazines. And in it I came across articles about Mexican

pick up information elsewhere. And so there were things

artists of the 1920s and 30s, and also about Japanese

that I found out quite early, of course. But the question

printmakers like Hiroshige, Hokusai and so forth. I found it

was asked: ‘Did your mother read to you when you were a

extremely interesting, very attractive, and it has had

child?’ and I said, ‘No, my mother never read to me when

a lasting influence on my work.

I was a child but she always checked up on whatever I was reading.’ So there was that kind of interest and guidance.

And what are the influences from South African

I was always interested in reading because my parents

art history? There’s obviously [Ernest] Mancoba’s

read, they enjoyed reading. I remember, for instance, my

generation, and I know that [Gerard] Sekoto played a big

father – he was a dockworker by the way, a labourer in the

role for you. It might help if you were to tell us who the

neighbouring docks in Simon’s Town – coming home every

South African artists of the previous generation were

evening with the Cape Times and Argus [newspapers] rolled

who inspired you, who gave you energy and courage.

up very neatly under his arm. He was a very neat person, you know. That kind of image sticks; it sticks. So, he always

Of the previous generation I would say the first artist I really

read the newspapers and he always had books around,

came across was Gerard Sekoto, you know, because I think

some of which of course I was not allowed to peek into, and

he left in 1947, left South Africa to pursue an art career

my mother read magazines and so on. So there was always

in Paris. At the time I was 18 years of age, a dockworker,

the presence of two adults reading and not discouraging

jollying all the time. But when I read an article about him

their children from reading as well. So I spent a lot of

in the paper, I felt that if he, who is black like me, could

time looking into books.

become an artist, then so could I as well. So he was really


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a role model. He indicated what was possible. Although

areas, from different sources, and I could keep going.

I must say that when I decided to become an artist lots of

But I was essentially a visual artist.

people thought, ‘God, what are you putting yourself into? This is crazy!’ But anyway, it starts there.

It is interesting that you made this decision to become an artist full time in 1956, a very courageous move, which led

Can you tell us about the day you decided to be an

soon after, in 1957, to your first solo exhibition. You told me

artist? Because obviously at the beginning you had

earlier in very wonderful pictures about this house where

these parallel realities – you worked as a painter in the

the first solo exhibition happened, so I thought it would be

dockyard in Simon’s Town, and yet you drew at the same

great for everybody to hear about that first show. If you

time, and then arrived that moment when you made this

could tell us what you exhibited and how it came about.

decision. Can you tell us a bit about that day? I had wanted to have a one-man show for a long time. I think I don’t think it was a particular day. The idea was simmering

I first started going to the galleries in 1951 and asking them,

because I was extremely frustrated in the job that I was

‘Can I have an exhibition?’ and they were reluctant. And then

doing. I was a store assistant – I had to keep track of tools

in 1956 I tried again and was told, ‘Your work is not of the

that were going out to the workmen, and tins of paint

required standard’; it was all very polite, very disheartening

that had to go to the painters, and so on, and I thought:

actually. And I happened to speak with a friend of mine,

‘What am I doing here? I should be doing something else,

whose name is James Matthews, who was working for a

elsewhere. Any fart could do a job like this.’ So I thought

newspaper called the [Golden] City Post, and I told him this,

seriously about what I would like to do, and that was to

the fact that they had turned me down for a one-man show,

concentrate on art full-time for at least three months and

and he said: ‘Well, why don’t you have the exhibition in our

then find myself a job again. So I decided to stop being a

newspaper office?’ And I thought that was rather unusual

dock labourer and spend time working as an artist. But

but we organised it, had the show, and people came. There

at the end of the three months I continued a bit longer

were reports in the newspaper, people came again and again

because I had sold something, and at the end of that

after that, and it was a wonderful experience – in fact it was

particular period I continued a bit longer, and so it went on.

the start of my career as an artist. Subsequently District

But I’ve done odd jobs in the meantime, you know. There

Six, where I had my exhibition, was destroyed. But what is

was a time when I worked briefly at a bird sanctuary as a

amazing about it, I find today, is that the building in which

display artist. I also worked as a book illustrator, and I’ve

I had my first exhibition is still standing. I don’t know what

done illustrations for a number of books. There was a time

caused it to still be standing. I know that the mosques in the

when I was desperate and I saw an advert for a life model,

area were not touched. This particular building in which my

a model for life-drawing classes, and I did that for a while.

exhibition took place is still untouched, and I hope that they

I was also writing at the same time, so occasionally a little

will eventually put a plaque on this building saying: ‘This is

piece got published and money came in from different

where Peter Clarke’s action started.’


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Can you tell us about the works that were in this

years but I have been told by people who live there that it

exhibition in 1957?

has become a very arty place. And it’s interesting because the people who have told me about it say: ‘You put the

The works were not of the quality of the works on this

village on the map.’ People have now discovered where

[retrospective] show, of course, but when I left Simon’s

Peter Clarke’s career started! The Friends of the National

Town docks in 1956, I went to a village in the rural area of

Gallery in Cape Town once invited me to take them on a

the Cape Province, the area known as Caledon. I went to

trip to this village where my career had started. So it was

a little village called Tesselaarsdal which actually now is

marvellous to be able to drink champagne on this particular

mentioned in the books. I went out there to spend three

visit with the Friends of the National Gallery.

months, just getting rid of the past in order to concentrate on my artwork. So it was a very simple life and I spent

Another thing that starts early is the printmaking,

a lot of time walking around with my sketchbook, my

which comes out in a beautiful way in the exhibition

watercolours, my pencils, my arty, arty attitude. And I got

here, with the many amazing prints. Your early

stuck into drawing. I drew a lot; I painted watercolours for

experiments with printmaking start more or less

dear life. I sketched as if I was possessed – and some of

at the same time, in the 1950s. I read somewhere

those sketches were actually the source of the inspiration

that German Expressionism influenced you also, and

for paintings, including certain works that are on view in this

that printmaking played a big role for the German

exhibition. So a lot of good came out of Tesselaarsdal – a

Expressionists. So I was wondering if you could

simple village in the grain-growing, sheep-producing part

talk a little bit about that: the influence of German

of the country. It just goes to show what you can do once

Expressionism and your beginnings in printmaking and

you are free. I used to go to this village every year in the

what kind of role that played in your early work.

1950s for three months at a time, spring into early summer, and then I would come home to Simon’s Town and I’d feel

You know, this thing about wanting to read books and

refreshed. I am tempted to say beautiful.

gather information and so on took me all over. I used to go into Cape Town on Saturday mornings and visit this little

That’s wonderful because a few days ago I spoke to Etel

German bookshop called ID Book Sellers. They had these

Adnan, a poet, writer and artist from Beirut who is in

absolutely fantastic, luxurious books I could not afford to

her late 80s, and she was saying that she has a place in

buy, and so I would read a book chapter by chapter, week

the mountains, Mount Tamalpais in San Francisco – she

after week, and occasionally when I went back the book

always used to go to this place to get inspired and it was

would be sold and so I never got to the end of the book. But

almost like her best friend. I didn’t know that you had

in the process I found out about the German Expressionists

such a place as well.

and a whole lot of other artists of course, whose work I would eventually see once I got to Europe. But it was just

Yes, it was very special to me. I haven’t been there for many

amazing to be able to open books and discover artists,


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other artists and various cultures, in the ID Book Sellers

Hallett to take up photography. So can you tell us about

shop. What else can I say?

the role of photography in your work, because that is a little known dimension?

Maybe how you relate the printmaking to the books? Because we are talking a bit about printmaking, it would

I haven’t really exhibited photography, except in a few

be great to hear about what role that plays.

instances, because I’ve felt that they need to be of a much higher standard than they are. And so when I get this new

To go back to the ID Book Sellers, there were books about

camera, I will be able to do what I really want to do, which is

the Blaue Reiter and various other groups … There were

to take really good shots of a certain standard which I can

all these illustrations, you know, articles accompanied by

actually show to the public.

illustrations and some of them in colour. I still have a few of these books at home, by the way, dated 1951, so the

But that’s so exciting! That announces the next chapter

printmaking activities started round about that time. Quite

in your work.

simply, one day in Simon’s Town I walked past a shop and saw what looked like a linocut printmaking set of tools and

There’s no end to it.

so I went in and purchased it. And in the set there was a leaflet giving instructions and I tried it out at home and

Now another parallel part to your work is your writing,

so the printmaker started working.

which like your drawing also started very early. We’ve talked a lot now about the beginnings of your visual art

And has continued ever since?

practice but I would be curious to know more about the beginnings of your writings. What inspired you in terms

It never stopped!

of your writing? Who were your inspirations then?

It’s also so fascinating that there are all these parallel

I think my writing was inspired by the fact that my school

realities in your work that never stopped: there’s the

principal said to me one day, ‘You know, you write so well,

drawing, there’s the painting, there’s the printmaking,

when you leave school you must become either an artist or a

and there is also photography. You are [sitting] facing

writer.’ And so I decided I would try and do both. Here we are.

some photographs by George Hallett, not by you, [but] there is also your own photography. You told me a

Your writing obviously played such a big role in Fanfare,

great story that now, on your way back to South Africa,

about which you’re going to speak a bit later, but you

you are expecting to get a good camera and make

wrote text much earlier on. We talked about your first

[some] photographs – but for a long time you made

drawings, about the beginning of your catalogue raisonné,

photographs and that is another parallel reality. And

and I’m very curious to hear about your first writings. You

it seems that actually in the 1960s you encouraged

said some of them were published in magazines?


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Yes, various bits and pieces were published here and there.

That’s another parallel reality, your artist’s books,

I think the first piece to be published appeared in Drum

which I’m curious about because it’s something that is

magazine, about 1951. The magazine had just started out

not emphasised enough. The artist’s book is such an

and they were encouraging people to write for them, and so

important part of art history; many artists throughout

I sent them something and it was published … [A bit later]

the 20th and 21st centuries have focused a lot on the

Contrast, which was a literary magazine, used work of mine

artist’s book as a medium, but it’s a little known aspect

– writing and drawings and prints and so on. But in between

of art history. And so I’m very curious to flesh that out a

painting I would write and so there was this kind of outlet

little bit and hear more about your artist’s books. On the

for my seemingly inexhaustible energies. I couldn’t help

other hand you said you illustrated books, and it would

working. I was possessed. I still am.

be great to hear about those.

Finally they all come together but in the beginning you

Let me speak about the artist’s books first. I’m interested

didn’t combine the images and the text. When did that

in recycling of materials, trash, leftovers, etcetera. I like to

start to happen? I’ve read Fanfare again and again, and

think in terms of the world being cleaned up and so I am

it’s so amazing to read because the images and the

doing my little bit for the process by making use of stuff

text relate, it’s all very connected. But before coming

that should be dumped, or is dumped and then retrieved,

to Fanfare I want to know when in your work it began

and so on. So I’ve made lots of use of collage. And there are

to come together, the text and the images?

examples in this exhibition of what I’m talking about. What I’ve created are long strips of paper – there is a term for

I can’t recall an exact date but I had a desire to do a book

it, ‘leporello’ – long strips of paper, folded. And then there

of combined drawings and text. And so I did a number of

are these arrangements of coloured paper, labels, tickets,

drawings, black and white, with text, and I tried to get it

etcetera, the length of the work. So it’s making use of

published and the publisher said, ‘This is the wrong time

waste materials in other words … What else?

for a book of this kind’, or ‘Try it at some other time’, or ‘Try elsewhere’, and I became discouraged and I just did nothing

The illustrations.

about it. But I think what encouraged me was that some drawings were appearing in magazines, and occasionally

Oh yes, from time to time I have been commissioned to

some text. And then I got the idea for a book called Plain

illustrate short stories and a novel. There are examples on

Furniture. I spoke to a friend of mine named Gus Ferguson, a

view here as well. Once this friend of mine, who organised

poet, often known as a ‘snail poet’ because he’s written a lot

the exhibition in the building in District Six, saw a painting of

of poems inspired by snails, and he said to me: ‘Why don’t you

mine and wrote a story to go with it, and it was published in

have this published as a book?’ And I said that would be fine,

Drum magazine, also in the 1950s. Also a number of people

and so we had it published as a book; in fact he published it.

approached me to do illustrations for their writings and I’ve

And we have a copy on this exhibition. It’s a paperback.

done that and I think I enjoyed it but after a while I stopped


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because I felt I wanted to get on with my own things.

But I like the idea of artwork that is portable, that you

Because there were all these other things that I felt I had to

should be able to carry it around under your arm, in your

give my attention to. And it has been great fun and so on,

handbag or in your pocket, and share with people. And so

great experience, I’ve enjoyed it.

one of my ideas, what I’d like to do still but don’t have the guts to do yet, is to take one of those books – they fold up

Now obviously these book projects are kind of portable

quite small – onto a plane and say, ‘I’ve got something to

artworks, they are not big, and one of the things I was

show you … Pass it on.’

thinking about was this whole idea of the confines of the home. One thing that comes across is that your work

That’s beautiful; so that’s an unrealised exhibition. That

is not very monumental, you always work at home, and

obviously leads to my favourite question, the question of

also at this retrospective here, there are no monumental,

your unrealised projects. Looking at this retrospective

huge works, it’s all the size of a home. Could you talk a

and all the amazing works you’ve created, it raised the

little bit about this – what prompted this whole idea of

question of what are your unrealised projects? You’ve just

working from home, was it a constraint maybe ...?

mentioned one very beautiful one, but I was wondering if you can tell us about other unrealised projects. Not

It was just unfortunate that the home I lived in was not a

necessarily only big ones. Cildo Meireles told me he

large place and I was not living alone – I was living with my

always wanted to show a little one centimeter cube in

parents, my brothers and sisters. And so I tended to work

a big museum, and the whole museum would be empty,

on a small scale so that the work could be packed away at

there would just be this cube, and obviously no museum

a certain time. So that when they came home from their

would ever agree to do it. So that project was too

jobs to a home in which an artist was also living – that’s

small to be realised. Or there can be censorship. Doris

me – they wouldn’t have this clash of saying, ‘For heaven’s

Lessing told me a couple of years ago that we should not

sake, can’t you put this stuff somewhere else?’ On occasion

underestimate the notion of self-censorship. So there are

I have been to workshops where I have been able to print

many reasons why a project can be unrealised.

larger works, but I plan and that’s part of my project for this year, to find work space where I am able to work on a larger

One idea, one project I’d like to see take shape is: I’ve

scale. Because I have not worked in a large space I have

always been interested in space, you know, space, space,

not been able to produce big works, but I have been able to

space, and also in what happens in space, a space like this

produce long works and that is where the leporellos come

… I have a feeling that in a space like this, if there is an air

in because some of them are quite long. They could stretch

current coming in from that window or another source, and

twice across this floor. This should make up for them not

then another, and there is another current coming in from

being big enough. There is also the idea that art is always

somewhere else, like over there, what we can’t see is what

regarded as precious; ‘Don’t touch that, don’t scratch on

is happening with these particular streams of air. I have a

that, don’t flick paint on other people’s paintings’, etcetera.

feeling that if colour could be introduced into these streams,


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different colours, it would be visible, we would be able to see

of the house, this experiment you described which you

what happens in these streams, we would be able to see

test in your house. Now one thing which happened which

movement. One other thing I would like to see happening,

you often describe as a significant change in your life

quite simply, is things dangling, from the ceiling – I’ve tried

was this move in the 1970s, this involuntary move from

it out in my bedroom, by the way, and it worked, on a very

Simon’s Town to Ocean View, and that created a lot of

tiny scale. What I’ve got are small sheets of aluminium about

change in the work. The work in the 1970s became more

that high, that wide, dangling from the ceiling and because

political. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened

there’s a window on one side and a door on the other side

and about this move from Simon’s Town to Ocean View

and because it is upstairs where this project is performing,

and what kind of impact it had on your work in terms

when somebody opens the door downstairs air moves,

of the change of space?

air comes in from the window and these dangling sheets turn differently. They don’t all do exactly the same thing.

Yes, among the various laws that were put into place by the

What makes it even more interesting is that some of the

apartheid government was this one known as the Group

sheets are thinner, and while one of the sheets is moving in

Areas Act, whereby they would remove black people out

one direction the other one could be moving in a different

of town in order to create separation between one group

direction. I’m interested in this idea because occasionally

and another. So that people in Simon’s Town, people who

when I go to the day hospital, I look at the people who are

had been there for a very, very long time, people whose

waiting and they are all bored. They all have these peculiar

parents had been born there, grandparents and so on and

expressions on their faces and I feel that if there could be

so on, they were given this order that they would have to

this visual distraction, if there was this thing that would

move out, and they were in fact moved out of town. So the

invite them to consider the shape that is dangling there,

place that I was moved to, that my family was moved to,

something would happen in their minds. They would relax

that my community was moved to, was known as Ocean

while waiting for the doctor, they wouldn’t be possessed by

View. There was actually a view of the ocean if one went

the agony of ‘What is the doctor going to tell me today?’

high up enough against the mountainside, you could

They would take it easy and when the doctor says, ‘Come in,

actually see the view out there. But the homes that we

let me tell you the worst’, they would say to the doctor, ‘Fine,

were moved into were in many cases not big enough for

I’m all ears’, you know, and they would be absolutely relaxed.

the families that had to occupy them. In my own case there

Anyway this is one project I would like to see taking shape;

was my father, mother, my older sister and myself, but in

there are other things I am thinking about …

the house next door there were 14 people altogether, three generations and 14 people. I don’t know how they managed

It’s such a beautiful idea, it’s urgent that this gets built.

to do it. And so I became interested in this thing about

But it’s interesting when you talk about space because

graffiti, protest, space … Some of the works here had their

you mentioned in a previous conversation the notion

origins at that time although the works were actually

of physical and mental space, and obviously the space

done in many cases later.


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It’s the Ghetto Fences, no? Can you tell us how

books and so on … One commission I received was from a

this series came about?

shirt company who said, ‘We would like you to do drawings for this particular brochure, which is going to advertise this

Yes, the Ghetto Fences … What I was trying to express was

particular brand of shirts. And this is what we are going

the separation between people, how people were being

to use as text, but these spaces are for drawings, so do

kept apart, how people were being encouraged to not mix,

something that would be appropriate.’ And so I did a drawing

how they were not supposed to mix in fact. So that fences

of Adam and Eve, minus shirts of course, and then I did

existed between people. There was also a lot of graffiti

another drawing with clothed figures. And this particular

being expressed in South Africa, people scribbling on walls,

drawing was banned. It appeared on the banned list, of

fences, buildings and so on. And with graffiti it was so often

literature that is banned. Simply because Eve, who had

their personal opinions, personal statements about the

been drawn in profile, had her breast showing. And so

situation in South Africa, or about feelings. And I then used

it was considered objectionable. But what else?

the idea of my fence because I am not the kind of person to go and scrawl on other people’s fences or walls in any case,

There was a time when your work was more political, and

and so I created a series of fences on which I could do all

it’s also a time when you did collaborative projects, in

kinds of things: create collage and statements, use bits of

the 1970s and 80s. You did a lot of community projects,

photographs, whatever. So, there we are.

worked with other people. Can you tell us about that? Because that is also another dimension to your work.

A very fascinating text [by Tessa Jackson], in the

It sounds like in superstring theory, there are so many

booklet that accompanies the exhibition here,

dimensions to your work!

emphasises that it’s actually these works in the 1970s, these Ghetto Fence works, which bring together images

There was a kind of social … a feeling that the artist can do

with text. Because obviously through graffiti you can

something, the artist should be doing something. For instance,

bring in text … So that maybe sparks what later happens

those writers who couldn’t be published, who couldn’t get

with Fanfare where we see the bringing together of text

their works published, could actually read their works. And so

and image. At that time when the work became more

there were various groups including a group called Vakalisa,

political, was there a moment of censorship, did you

which was made up loosely of people who were writing,

find any censorship of your work at that time …?

others who were drawing, painting, taking photographs and so on. And we would organise kind of short-term, quick-shot

No, not of my work, but many years ago there was a

exhibitions or art events. And we would organise it in, say,

drawing I did that was banned, you know. What appeared

a library or hall, a crèche or a church hall and it would last

sometimes, well, on a regular basis in the paper were items

perhaps a Friday and a Saturday and then finish. In that time

that were censored or banned, and what would be listed

what would happen is the musicians would perform numbers,

would be various publications, calendars, brochures, and

the poets would read their works, the writer of the odd short


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story, very short, would read his work, the photographers

We were thinking it would be great if you could read

would show their photographs, and we would create this kind

us one of these characters.

of short-term art experience. It happened in many different places, there were various other groups who did likewise.

Yes. There is a snail at Tate Modern and I looked at it and

I hope it was happening all over the country; I know that

I thought of Matisse. And the thing that impresses me

it also happened in other towns in the north.

about Matisse is this:

Obviously this was followed by a very different period,

Ceasing to be the old ailing artist that he

the period when [Nelson] Mandela was elected. I think

is, mentally he becomes transformed into

now is the moment to talk about the extraordinary

the personification of youthful energy and

Fanfare, which is really almost a coming together of all

enthusiasm, all lovely, colourful, joyous innocence

these different things you’ve been doing. It’s a coming

and ideas and expression.

together of your work with painting, your work with

Welling up in him like a fountain, creativity

literature, your work with poetry, in these collages. And

draws him on. His drawings, paintings, collages

I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about this

never cease to glow with its own very individual

epiphany of Fanfare, how these hundred collages which

and unforgettable illumination, even long after

are in this book started. Each single one is a kind of

his departure from this earth.

homage to a specific writer, to a specific character; it’s like a polyphony of these hundred characters.

Thank you so much. Thanks so much.

Fanfare started as a result of my mother at one stage asking me to repair a fan that she had, which had torn. It was this framework holding up these pieces of paper, in

Hans Ulrich Obrist is Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

fact and I tried to repair it for her but of course I couldn’t because I had no experience of repairing fans. And so I had a guilty conscience about it for years and years and years, and she in the meantime passed away. And then I thought … I’d seen fans designed by other artists – Monet, Degas and so on. They had designed fans for lovely, lovely people. So I then designed one fan but I used the idea of taking a character from literature, and so the people represented in Fanfare are characters from literature: the bible, children’s stories, politics, history and so on. I would take a character and then design a fan for that particular character.

Opposite Fiddlesticks


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Fiddlesticks ‘Compiled and bound in November 1997’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 26 x 36.5 x 1.5cm

Special: 2 for 1 ‘Completed in December 1999’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 26 x 36.5 x 1.5cm Red Cloud, Camel and Afro Comb ‘Compiled in April 1997’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 29 x 38 x 1.5cm

Opposite Fiddlesticks


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Theme: For Bra Kippie ‘Completed in Sept 1998’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 18.5 x 28 x 1.5cm

Twinings ‘Completed on Thursday 7 April 2005’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding, paper-covered box Box: 19 x 20 x 4.5cm Toss. Don’t Delay ‘Completed on Monday 21 April 2003’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, paper and leather binding 12 x 22 x 3cm


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Seconds: Not for Sale to General Trade ‘Completed on Wed 19 April 2006’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 20.5 x 28 x 2cm Direct Debit Subscription Offer ‘Completed Thurs 4 June 2009’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 15 x 19 x 3cm

Tribute ‘Completed in August 2007’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, cloth and leather binding 17 x 24 x 5cm


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Fiddlesticks


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Special: 2 for 1


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Red Cloud, Camel and Afro Comb


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Theme: For Bra Kippie


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Twinings


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28

Toss: Don’t Delay


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Seconds: Not for Sale to General Trade


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Direct Debit Subscription Offer


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Tribute


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What’s New? Collage ‘Completed on Friday 11 May 2001’; box ‘2001’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, leather-covered box Box: 9.5 x 23.5 x 7cm

Hide Collage ‘Completed on Thursday 22 Feb 2001’; box ‘2001’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, leather-covered box Box: 7 x 15.5 x 8cm Tiverton Parkway Collage ‘Completed on Friday 21.12.2001’; box ‘2002’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, paper-covered box Box: 8.5 x 17 x 7.5cm


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Expose Yourself, Assassin Collage ‘Completed on Friday 5 May 2000’; box ‘1999’ Artist’s book, mixed media on paper, leather-covered box Box: 7 x 24.5 x 10.5cm


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Expose Yourself, Assassin

What’s New?


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Tiverton Parkway

Hide


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Hot Scratch, Josie! ‘Made in December 2007’

Hoe Lyk ‘it? ‘Completed Fri 20.3.2010’

Food Routes ‘Completed on 17.3.2010’

A Gentle Word ‘Completed Saturday 24.4.2010’

Arrangement with Panels ‘Completed on Thursday 22.4.2010’

All artist’s books, mixed media on paper, paper binding, paper-covered boxes Books in boxes: 9.5 x 8 x 4cm each


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Hoe Lyk ‘it?

Hot Scratch, Josie!

Arrangement with Panels


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Sweet Orange Marmalade ‘Completed in April 2013’

The Saints of the Lagoon ‘Completed in April 2013’ Easy Does It ‘Completed in April 2013’

All artist’s books, mixed media on paper, paper-covered boxes Boxes: 6 x 10 x 6cm each


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AVOOVA ‘Completed in April 2013’

Transatlantic Exchange ‘Completed in May 2013’

Fallen Flowers ‘Completed in June 2013’ Sticks Like Crazy ‘Completed in May 2013’


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Sticks Like Crazy

AVOOVA


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PETER CLARKE was born in 1929 in Simon’s Town. The Group Areas Act moved him to Ocean View in 1973, and he has lived and worked there ever since. He is best known for his paintings and prints of the daily life of Cape communities, yet in the last three decades he has also quietly produced handcrafted concertina books. Just Paper and Glue presents this rarely exhibited aspect of Clarke’s lifelong practice. Clarke has only recently seen wide recognition of his work, with a South African retrospective, Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke, taking place at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town and the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg (2011-12), accompanied by a major publication; and Peter Clarke: Wind Blowing on the Cape Flats at the Institute of International Visual Art (Iniva) in London (2013).

CAPE TOWN Buchanan Building 160 Sir Lowry Road Woodstock 7925 PO Box 616 Green Point 8051 T +27 (0)21 462 1500 F +27 (0)21 462 1501 JOHANNESBURG 62 Juta Street Braamfontein 2001 Postnet Suite 281 Private Bag x9 Melville 2109 T +27 (0)11 403 1055/1908 F +27 (0)86 275 1918 info@stevenson.info www.stevenson.info Catalogue 74 September 2013 © 2013 for works by Peter Clarke: the artist © 2013 for text: the authors Front cover Seconds: Not For Sale to General Trade (detail) Editor Sophie Perryer Design Gabrielle Guy Photography Mario Todeschini Printing Hansa Print, Cape Town




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