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Archive: Issue No. 42, February 2001

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.


20.02.01 'The Short Century' opens in Munich
30.01.01 Boogie Lights in Holland
United States
23.01.01 'Apartheid and Today: Contemporary South African Art'
16.01.01 Recent South African acquisitions at the Smithsonian

The Villa Stuck in Munich.

Front cover of the catalogue.


'The Short Century' opens in Munich

' The Short Century of Africa: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa 1945 �1994', which opened this month at the Villa Stuck in Munich, is an attempt by curator Okwui Enwezor to construct a contemporary "critical biography" of the continent through a multi-disciplinary presentation of art, documentation, photography and film. The exhibitiion will continue to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, and from there to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the MOMA institution PS1 in New York.

In a catalogue essay, Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, director of the Museum Villa Stuck, says 'The Short Century' "documents for the first time a fascinating, multi-faceted Modernism and Counter-Modernism that emerged in Africa out of the ruins of colonialism. It describes the impact of independence and liberation movements on the African continent between 1945 and 1994 on the visual arts, literature, film, photography, music, and architecture. Its interdisciplinary strategy aims to provide as comprehensive a view as possible. The guiding principle behind the exhibition (and the publication accompanying it) is the "archive" and, in the words of Okwui Enwezor, its "insistent and forensic will to recollect and interpret history." Histories of Africa have all too often been colonial constructs that exclude the antithetical voices and oppositional stances described by V.Y. Mudimbe in the book The Short Century. At the dawn of the twenty-first century Okwui Enwezor brings these voices and stances out of their imposed exile in the margins of Western discourses and places them squarely at the center of twentieth-century Modernism".

The Short Century has been three years in the making, during which time the curatorial team traveled the world locating documents and gathering information not only in cities and remote locations throughout the African continent but also in Paris and London, New York, and even Australia. The colonial history of Africa meant that documents had been dispersed throughout the world, artists had been compelled into exile. The list of more than 90 artists includes world figures like Yinka Shonibare, and Outtarra, and from South Africa, Jane Alexander, Willem Boshoff, Dumile Feni, Kendell Geers, Kay Hassan, Gavin Jantjes, William Kentridge, Sydney Kumalo, Moshekwa Langa, Ernest Mancoba, Santu Mofokeng, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Lucas Sihole, Cecil Skotnes and Sue Williamson.

"Okwui Enwezor" concludes Danziger, "has noted that the crucial question which The Short Century poses and which needs careful consideration today is: what indeed is the place of Africa in the writing of new narratives and conclusions particular to the proper understanding of the twentieth century? In The Short Century we are able to accompany Okwui Enwezor in his very personal search for an answer to this question."

February 14 to April 22

Villa Stuck

Boogie Lights

Installation view of Boogie Lights by Conrad Botes and Brett Murray
In Sterkwerk, Tilburg.

Boogie Lights in Holland

In the southern Holland town of Tilburg, Conrad Botes and Brett Murray are showing their Boogie Lights as the opening show of a new gallery entitled Sterkwerk. Located in an old house between the station and the city centre, the gallery's owner is Dutch artist Jack Mensink, initiator of the Joubert Park project and other art projects involving South African artists. Here is Mensink's report on the Boogie Lights show, so far: "The response is FAB!! On the lights but also on the fact that we started this gallery on this specific spot. Including the opening weekend, we have had about 750 visitors, which is a lot for a town like this. There were also some very nice and positive articles about the show. Till now we sold about 40 lights and orders are coming in from organisations who sell art to businesses. There is a fair chance that the whole show will go to Brussels".

Closing: March 15

Sterkwerk Gallery, Noordstraat 34, NL 5038 EJ Tilburg, the Netherlands
Tel: +31(0)13-5430911 Email:
Website: (under editorial construction)

William Kentridge

William Kentridge


'Apartheid and Today: Contemporary South African Art'

A show considering the social history of the country as seen through the eyes of artists has opened in the spacious galleries of the Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia. Curated by Suzanne Talbott with input from Gary van Wyk of the Axis Gallery of New York, the participating artists are Kim Berman, Willie Bester, Willem Boshoff, Jean Brundrit, Sandile Goje, William Kentridge, David Koloane, Percy Konqobe, Sydney Kumalo, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Gladys Mgudlandlu, Peter Mthombeni, Sam Nhlengethwa, Georgie Papageaorge, Mmakgabo Mmapula Helen Sebidi, Durant Sihlali, Lucas Sithole, Sue Williamson, Susan Woolf and Vuminkosi Zulu.

Opening: JJanuary 18
Closing: February 24

Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Bernie Searle

Bernie Searle
Lifeline (detail), 1999
Click through for installation view
Discoloured series
Digital prints on tracing paper
Each panel, 240 x 60 cm

Photo credit: Jean Brundrit

Recent South African acquisitions at the Smithsonian

In an extended show which was covered on SABC3 TV News recently, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, part of the Smithsonian, is exhibiting recent acquisitions by South African artists. The show includes work by Dakar Biennale prizewinner Bernie Searle, William Kentridge, Willie Bester, and expat artist Gavin Jantjies. In recent years, the NMAA has made a concerted effort to build up its holdings in contemporary art from South Africa. The show is expected to remain in place for many months.