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Archive: Issue No. 40, December 2000

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Peet Pienaar

The artist, with the Craig Jonsson Forever tattoo, September 2000

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
James Dalton
Sewn quilt
300 x 300cm

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
Trophy Table

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
Rugby Souveniers

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
Rugby Souveniers

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
In a Duchampian gesture, Barend de Wet and Peet Pienaar play an extended game of Monopoly enclosed in a plastic tent at
Joao Ferreira Fine Art in 1998

Peet Pienaar

Peet Pienaar
Untitled 2000
Video Still

Peet Pienaar

An installation view of work made from cut out sections of found posters
Brendon Bell Roberts Fine Art, Cape Town
September 2000

A feature on an artist in the public eye.

Peet Pienaar
by Sue Williamson

Modus operandi:

Once a provincial rugby player, the son of Afrikaans speaking farmers, Peet Pienaar first came to public notice with a performance in 1996 in which, dressed as a Springbok rugby player, he stood motionless for hours in venues ranging from the South African National Gallery to shopping malls. Rugby is the national obsession, and in an ongoing series of performances and art objects, Pienaar went on to explore the homo-erotic aspect of the myths and hero-worship with which players are treated, and the constructs which define masculinity in a patriarchal society. In his first solo show at the Hanel in Cape Town in 1997, Pienaar presented a series of delicate rugby 'souvenirs', and for an exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in 1999, made pixelated portraits of rugby players into outsize patchwork quilts, 'sort of like Chuck Close' said Pienaar. One could snuggle down under a rugby player if one chose. An all purpose flower arrangement bore the legend "I love you, goodbye, hello and sorry." There was another performance in which Pienaar, dressed in a glittering green lame dinner suit with the Springbok emblem on the pocket stood alone on the rugby field before a big game waiting for the players to run on.

Pienaar has also worked closely with other artists in collaborative performances - these have included Andrew Putter, Barend de Wet and most recently, Craig Jonsson, a straight artist, whose name Pienaar has had tattooed onto his upper arm. One extended perfomance with De Wet involved the two hiring a personal trainer and following a rigorous programme to resculpt their bodies.

Artist's statement:

"I'm using art as an excuse to live a very interesting life - it allows you to be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, go where ever you want to go. It's like a free ticket. Take the gym thing - just to exercise all the time would have been so boring, but when it was done as an art project, it was quite different."


In the second weekend of December, Pienaar, who holds the title of creative stimulator at the Jupiter Drawing Room, the advertising agency where he works, will take three of his colleagues with him on to the streets of Cape Town for three days and nights with no money or resources to work out creative survival strategies. Talking about this beforehand, Pienaar is sufficiently self confident to mention the possibility of hustling enough to pay for accommodation at the plush Mount Nelson Hotel.

Before that:

Working with Johannesburg final year art student, Craig Jonsson, Pienaar has been exploring the dimensions of an art relationship, in which he, as a gay artist has professed his strong feelings for Jonsson, who is straight, and the two have attempted to work through this relationship in a series of dialogues and performances. In the most recent incident, part of Jonsson's end of year exams, the two divided a room into half with tape. A ghettoblaster on either side played John Lennon's I Love You. Video monitors played tapes of each talking about the other. "He's just doing it as an artwork", says Pienaar. "He says he doesn't feel anything for me. I feel very strongly about him. It's a new kind of relationship." In the space, the two played a version of a schoolyard game where each stands with arms stretched out in front of them, fingers curled into a fist, and attempts to hit the other on the top of their fists before the other can pull away. "Our fist were purple and bruised at the end," says Pienaar. The two considered the performance a parody on dysfunctional relationships. The intense collaboration has not been easy for Jonsson, who has had to face questioning from his peers as to whether he might after all be gay, and who has said, "It's very nice to do an artwork when you can leave it - but there's no way to escape this artwork."

And before that:

In possibly his most controversial piece to date, Pienaar had himself videotaped while undergoing circumcision. The discarded foreskin, displayed in a small perspex case, was part of an installation with a three-monitor video showing the circumcision operation in excrutiating close-up. The work had originally been intended for a show called 'Men and Masculinity" at Cape Town's AVA Gallery, but for a number of reasons Pienaar left the show and exhibited in a one-man show at Bell Roberts Contemporary Art which ran at the same time.

Next up:

On December 15, 16 and 17, Pienaar will set up an installation at the Camouflage Gallery in Johannesburg based on his Cape Town street experiences earlier in the month. This is to be coordinated by artist/curator Stephen Hobbs.

And after that:

In February, Pienaar will undertake a performance, not yet decided upon, for 'Super Blue', a monthly art event in Durban. In April, he is scheduled to be part of 'Public Disturbance', an event of performance and art in South Africa to take place in Canada. Also taking part will be fellow performance artists Steven Cohen, Barend de Wet and Tracey Rose.

Selected Curriculum vitae:

Peet Pienaar was born on the 29th August 1971 on a farm called Tierfontein , 30 kms south of Potchefstroom, where his parents are still farming mieliesand beeste.

1989: Matric: Hoer Volkskool, Potchefstroom
1992: Left Potchefstroom University to continue BA (fine art) at University of Stellenbosch.
1993: Nominated as top student achiever: University of Stellenbosch
1996: Performed Springbok Rugby Player at S. A. National Gallery
Started The Planet Contemporary Art Site (Cape Town)
Full Time Art Director of The Twinkly Sea Project ( Mother City Queer Projects")
1997: Solo Exhibition: Hanel Gallery, Cape Town
Finalist : FNB Vita Awards
Performed Nike at opening of 2nd Johannesburg Biennale
Performed Rugby Sequin Suit at JHB art gallery
Guest Artist : Main Festival - Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees
1998: Lost 30kg as an ongoing collaborative artwork with Barend de Wet, sculpting our bodies as body builders
Director: Club/Pick-ups: One night at the perfect night club (Cape Town)
Performed Amplified Sewing Machines with Barend de Wet at the Red Eye Event (Durban Art Gallery)
Interviewed rugby player Mark Andrews for Options (SABC3)
Interviewed Robby Kempson for Flux (SABC3)
1999: Performed Sunbed and Pschologist at The Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
Acted in Vuilspel - a rugby comedy
Short film Boer in collaboration with Elias Tieleman at the Stedelike Museum , Amsterdam
2000: Short film Boer at the National Korean Film Festival
Performed Fashion with Barend de Wet at the SA Fashion Week, Johannesburg
Editor and founder of The Key Line ( a magazine of design and new culture)
Producer of LSM 7 a physical theatre play about labels and products in love relationships
Performed Craig Jonsson Forever University of Witwatersrand
Performed Indaba for Indaba magazine, Cape Town City centre
Solo exhibition with circumcision at the Brendon Bell Roberts Gallery, Cape Town
Currently working for The Jupiter Drawingroom Cape Town as their creative stimulator