Archive: Issue No. 29, January 2000

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A monthly feature on an artist currently in the public eye

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

The Goodman Gallery

Work in progress in Kreutzveldt's studio

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Untitled detail from the '26 acts of balance' series, oil on canvas

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Untitled detail from the '26 acts of balance' series, oil on canvas

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Untitled detail from the '26 acts of balance' series, oil on canvas

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Untitled detail from the '26 acts of balance' series, oil on canvas

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Theme of Mary 1999
Acrylic on board
180 x 180 cm

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Untitled detail from the '26 acts of balance' series, oil on canvas

Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

By Sue Williamson (January, 2000)

Modus operandi:

For Dorothee Kreutzveldt, her chosen medium of painting is a lonely path, an act of artmaking which is frought with difficulty. The process has to be entered into repeatedly until a barrier is crossed, a level reached which renders meaning to the act. Until then, it can be 'almost like making wallpaper'. Plugging into a universal unconscious, the artist works with images that are already there, that exist on a page in a magazine or newspaper, that already have a history. Kreutzveldt does not attempt to 'express', but sees her function as one of extrication, or laying bare, of setting up a drama - a drama which questions land, space, relationships and the relevance of painting.
As an antidote to the loneliness of painting, Kreutzveldt is co-ordinator of pm inc., a group of ten young performance artists, engaged in staging public art events in places like shopping malls and empty cinemas around Cape Town which question the existing structures of the city (See News). Kreutzveldt finds the entirely different energies required for these collaborative efforts an essential element of her artistic process

Artist's statement on her recent work:

" I am intrigued with land (and what it stands for). There is no connection between desire and land. Desire is you. I do not want to eroticise land(scape). Desire is a silent actress, but the land is impersonal. It does not give a fuck. Land becomes your trace, your reflection. Land is specific: places you recall, regret, want, forget or flee. Then, you own it; dissect and locate it; name it; make it your cause and site of sentiment"


Kreutzveldt's solo show '26 acts of balance' opens in the Long Gallery of the Cape Town Castle on January 12. The 'acts of balance' are located between 'survival, longing and loss, need and collision, impatience and desire, dispute and silence'. The artist sees the series as cinematic paintings which also function like billboards, and describes the paintings as 'miscellaneous vistas, not metaphors'. "The series is about the impossibility of making sense in painting in land of crisis" The body of work consists of long, billboard formatted paintings and smaller ones which will be hung between the others, acting as a commentary on the large ones. Viewers will walk their way down the extreme length of the gallery past the shifting landscapes and incidents.

Before that:

In September 1998, Kreutzveldt was part of the Emma Bedord-curated show, 'Staking Claims', staged at the historic Granary in central Cape Town. The building had once served as a woman's 'House of Correction', and Kreutzveldt's painting, Theme of Mary, considers the history of one of these women, Mary Cowie, who had the courage to consistently speak out against the inhumane treatment accorded the women. Kreutzveldt covered the surface of her painting with a repeated silhouette of a woman silhouetted with arms raised in the act of striking a bell, a metaphor for the consistent fortitude shown by Cowie in her campaign to call attention to the unspeakable conditions under which the women were imprisoned.

And before that:

Kreutzveldt was part of the Sluice Group, an organisation of young artists whose collaborative installations attracted sufficient attention for the group to be invited to be part of the second Johannesburg Biennale in 1997, on the 'Graft' show curated by Colin Richards at the South African National Gallery. Working in the Annexe in the SANG, the group constructed an arcade with windows for viewers which alluded to aspects of city life seldom referred to in tourist brochures.

Next up

In 2000, Kreutzveldt will move to Johannesburg to take her Masters degree in a new interdisciplinary course set up by the University of Witwatersrand.

Curriculum vitae:

Born in Windhoek, Namibia, 1970
Graduated in 1996 BA(FA), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town

Selected exhibitions and other activities:

1994 Locker Room Project
The River Club, MCQP, Cape Town

1995 Secret Garden Project.
The River Club, MCQP, Cape Town

'Gay rights, Rewrites, Rites'
- touring group show

1996 'Cognizance: Ingqwalasela: Herkening'
Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town.

'SLUICE' - collaborative installation/performance event at
the Cape Town Castle

1997 'Contamination' (Solo show)
Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town

District Six Sculpture Festival (co-ordinator)
District Six, Cape Town

'Sluice' in 'Graft'
2nd Johannesburg Biennale, The South African National
Gallery, Cape Town.

1998 Brian Eno Workshop (assistant co-ordinator)

'Women Artists of the Western Cape'
Sasol Museum, Stellenbosch

1999 'Unplugged'
Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery, Johannesburg

Oudtshoorn Festival, Oudtshoorn

'Project Conflux'
Luxemborg, Dijon, Paris.

'Billeddialog Arhus-Cape Town'
(Two artists) Shuttle 99, Denmark, Cape Town.

'Staking Claims'
Cultural Heritage Festival, Granary, Cape Town.

'pm inc.'
Cultural Heritage Festival, Cape Town.

1993-96 Dean's Merit List
1993 Matthew Somers Memorial Prize
Maciver Scholarship
1994 Maciver Scholarship
Twamley Scholarship
German Embassy Book Prize
David Memorial Prize
1995 Judy Steinberg Prize
Maciver December Scholarship
1996 Simon Gerson Prize
Michaelis Prize



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