Archive: Issue No. 63, November 2002

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NEWS

Peter Müller

Peter Müller
Mount X
Site specific shift


Mount X : site specific shift

Doormen outside posh hotels all over the world wear a variety of uniforms which owe as much to the past as the present, but nonetheless, now that South Africa is the world's favourite back-from-the-brink democracy, foreign visitors to Cape Town often express surprise at the ultra colonial appearance of the Mount Nelson gate guard. Apparently the immaculately clad and pith helmeted guard appears in numerous tourist brochures promoting the country, and is almost as familiar to visitors before arrival as the classic view of Table Mountain from Blouberg beach. For most Capetonians, of course, the Mount Nelson guard has always been there, simply part of the city landscape.

In fact, his uniform is not really even a part of the history of the city, but was much more common in countries like West Africa.

Visiting German exchange student Peter Müller wondered how the public would react to the guard in a new setting: the South African National Gallery. In a project entitled Mount X, sponsored by arts organisation Public Eye and the SANG, Müller invited guard Jean Moto Kalunga into the gallery for two days, November 12 and 13, where Kalunga stood impassively, answering a variety of questions from visitors. The imposing Kalunga is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and has worked as a Mount Nelson guard for the past two years. The Argus was sufficiently intrigued to run the artistic intervention as a front page story.

South African National Gallery, Government Avenue, Company Gardens, Cape Town
Tel: (021) 465 1628
Fax: (021) 461 0045
Email: cquerido@iziko.org.za
Website: www.museums.org.za/sang
Hours: Tues - Sun 10 a.m - 5 p.m

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