Archive: Issue No. 67, March 2003

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

15.03.03 David Goldblatt at Modern Art Oxford
15.03.03 Candice Breitz at London's Asprey Jacques
15.03.03 Nelson Mandela's Robben Island in Germany
01.03.03 Rogue States: Kendell Geers at Stephen Friedman
01.10.02 South African Family Stories in Amsterdam

15.02.03 Intersections: South African Art from the Billiton Collection at the RMIT Gallery

01.02.03 Berni Searle's 'A Matter of Time' at Berkeley, California
01.02.03 'How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age' opens in the US
01.02.03 Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa
01.02.03 Zwelethu Mthethwa's Photographic Portraits in Ohio
01.02.03 The World Moves - We Follow: Celebrating African Art in Tennessee
01.02.03 Human Rights Prints in Tennessee
01.02.03 Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950
01.02.03 The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions

15.03.03 Tracey Derrick selected for Brazil leg of African Photography Biennale

David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt
Chairman of the Boksburg Town Council Management Committee, Councillor Chris Smith and Mrs. Smith at home, 23 June 1980

David Goldblatt at Modern Art Oxford

'Fifty-One Years', an exhibition of photographs by photographer David Goldblatt gets its only UK showing at Modern Art Oxford. Curated by Corinne Diserens and Okwui Enwezor, the exhibition and international tour have been organised by Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain.

Traced here are Goldblatt's major themes, including work on the gold mines among which he grew up, the transport of black workers under apartheid, life in a middle-class white community, the portrayal of Afrikaner people, and aspects of Johannesburg, the city in which he has lived throughout his working life. The exhibition presents more than two hundred black and white photographs and a new colour series on contemporary Johannesburg commissioned for the recent Documenta 11, and briefly showcased in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Goldblatt's images are compelling not only for their subject matter, but for the clarity with which they reveal the complex relationships that bind the personal and the political. As the photographer himself has said: "My photography became a political enquiry, an interest in real things. My concern was not to make 'interesting photographs' but to probe the immediate world I lived in."

Closes: March 30

Modern Art Oxford
30 Pembroke Street, Oxford OX1 1BP, England
Tel: 01865 722733

Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz at London's Asprey Jacques

'Diorama' is Candice Breitz's first solo show in London. Produced while in residency at ArtPace (San Antonio, USA), 'Diorama' is the latest in a series of multichannel video installations for which the artist has gained international recognition.

For her London show, Breitz has transformed the gallery into a domestic space complete with avocado green walls, fitted carpet and furnishings. Nine monitors have been scattered around the room, each screen showing a different character from the American soap opera Dallas. Played simultaneously, the nine monitors recite an exhausting catalogue of daily dilemmas typical of family life in the late twentieth century: birth, death, marriage, divorce, suicide and betrayal.

Through her editing, Breitz has created a series of jarring moments submerging viewers in a litany of intimate dramas. Figures like J.R. Ewing and Cliff Barnes are reincarnated in thought-provoking and surprisingly moving guises. Also making belated celebrity appearances are Bobby, Pam, Lucy, Sue Ellen and little Christopher. "But what about love, but what about love?" asks Pam.

Born in Johannesburg, in 1972, Breitz currently lives and works in Berlin. Previous solo shows have included the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2000); De Appel Foundation, Amsterdam (2001) and K�nstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2002). Breitz was also recently included in 'Remix' at the Tate Liverpool. Forthcoming museum solo shows include Castello di Rivoli, Turin and Modern Art, Oxford (13 September - 9 November 2003).

Closes: April 5

Asprey Jacques
4 Clifford Street London W1X 1RB, England
Green Park or Piccadilly tube
Tel: 020 7287 7675
Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10a.m - 6p.m, and Saturday, 10a.m - 1p.m

Nelson Mandela's Robben Island in Germany

'My Robben Island' is the title of artwork by ex-president and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela. Sketched and completed by Nelson Mandela between March and June 2002, the series is made up of charcoal sketches of subjects from Robben Island.

The chosen images are said to have resonated with Mr Mandela during the period of his incarceration on the island, and are meaningful both symbolically and emotionally. The sketches have been executed in simple black charcoal lines with selected elements highlighted in pure pastel colours.

Each of the lithographs consists of an edition of 500 signed and numbered, six colour lithographs and 50 artists proofs, made from hand-drawn colour separations by Nelson Mandela. The lithographs have been printed on Velin BFK Rives paper. The processing, proofing and printing of the series was done under the supervision of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. All the printing materials and plates were destroyed on completion of the printing of the lithographs. Proceeds from the sale of the lithographs will be awarded to the Nelson Mandela Trust, an organisation that has been specifically created to distribute funds to programmes and projects that Nelson Mandela personally supports.

Opening: Sunday, March 9 2003 at 4p.m

Inaugural speeches by Dr. Uschi Eid, Secretary of State at Ministry for Development and Cooperation, and Mr. Sibusiso Bengu, Ambassador of South Africa in Berlin, commence at 7 p.m.

To view the sketches, follow this link:

Peter Herrmann Gallery
Torstr. 218, D-10115 Berlin, Germany
Tel: 0049-30-88 62 58 46
Mobile: 0049-172-720 83 13

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
Between Shit and Syphilis, 2003
Text, dimensions variable, edition 1 of 5

Rogue States: Kendell Geers at Stephen Friedman

From the press statement: Kendell Geers is known for creating installations, sculptures and situations which assault our senses by means of carefully selected and appropriated materials, sound, and manipulated film footage. On first impression work that appears tough and confrontational slowly reveals itself to be poignant, even poetic. Geers brings to the forefront the most extreme and intimate emotional states in the human psyche. Questioning the nature of desire, violence, horror or ecstasy, the artist disturbs commonly accepted moral codes and puts into doubt the principles by which good and bad are judged. The intensity of the works does not allow any escape from the resulting impact. This practice, multi-layered and rich in references, is sometimes made obvious by title or use of medium but is more often concealed for the viewer to discover. Geers tempts the audience to peer over the edge, to confront their own true selves, to accept responsibility for their own actions and to forfeit security for freedom.

For his exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Geers has installed a large text piece which covers the gallery windows. It is an extract of a succession of hundreds of words from the dictionary and can be viewed from both the outside and the inside of the gallery. A variety of objects are shown in the front space. On the floor, a clamp holds together several books, all featuring the word 'revolution' on their spines. A sphere made from surveillance mirrors sits on the ground. In a corner of the room, a cube is installed made of tape and alarm signs which are usually displayed outside of homes to discourage burglars. Also included is a sculpture of an antique religious figure wrapped in chevron tape, a material often used to cordon off areas of danger. In the back gallery a sculpture, made from different kinds of connected padlocks, creates a large square carpet that covers the floor.

Closes: March 15, 2003

Stephen Friedman Gallery
25-28 Old Burlington Street, London W1S 3AN
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7494 1434
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7494 1431
Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 11am-5pm

David Goldblatt

Popo Molefe, Tsholo Molefe, Boîtumelo 'Tumi' Plaatje

Foto: David Goldblatt, 2001

South African Family Stories in Amsterdam

The rich narrative history of nine South African families is revealed in a significant exhibition opening at the KIT Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

'South African Family Stories: A Group Portrait' describes the origins of South Africa through the experiences of nine individual families. Each family story unfolds across four or five generations, with one or two persons representing each generation. Some of the families selected for the exhibition include well known public figures, such as Sol Plaatje, Marthinus Steyn and Dolly Rathebe, but in general most of the families claim no special public significance. The exhibition is presented as a multimedia presentation, using artwork, photography, film, sound, original documents and objects. A different team of South African artists, photographers, writers and designers was employed to produce each of the nine family stories.

Penny Siopis and photographer Ruth Motau worked on the Plaatje family, while Sam Nhlengethwa and photographer Mothlalefi Mahlabe present the family story of the singer Dolly Rathebe. David Goldblatt paired-up with Claudette Schreuder to profile the Steyn family, Berni Searle interpreting the experiences of the Manuel family from Simonstown. Andrew Verster worked on the Juggernath family from India, while photographer Paul Weinberg and artist Langa Magwa focussed on the family of Zonkezizwe Mthethwa, a respected sangoma living near Ngudwini. The overall composition of the families selected aims to be representative of the social, cultural and geographical variety of people in South Africa.

The exhibition is complemented by a 240-page publication featuring the output of nine writers-researchers interpreting the major moments in the respective families' lives. Each contribution is illustrated with the individual artworks and photographs commissioned for the project. The book also features an introductory essay by Cape Town University's Njabulo Ndebele.

In an effort to offer audiences as comprehensive a portrait as possible of South Africa, the exhibition includes an independent exhibit known as 'the archive'. The installation, supervised by Penny Siopis, offers visitors a chance to browse through a variety of books, magazines and audio-visual material, the hope being that the archive will offer a contemplative space for visitors wishing to answer questions raised during the exhibition.

South African Family Stories: A Group Portrait appears at KIT Tropenmuseum from 4 October 2002. After is closure on 21 September 2003, the show will travel to South Africa where it will run at Johannesburg's Museum Africa from January 2004. For more information about the exhibition, visit

See Reviews

The KIT Tropenmuseum is open daily from 10.00 -17.00, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Berni Searle

Berni Searle
A Matter of Time, 2003
Video still

Berni Searle at Berkeley, California

'A Matter of Time', Berni Searle's first solo museum show in the United States opened at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum on February 2, Searle, who creates performative video works in which her own body is used as a site for exploring issues of race and gender through the filter of her personal experiences as a South African woman of mixed race, here uses olive oil as medium for an evocative inquiry into the connotations of skin tone and texture. In the past, Searle, who is this year's Standard Bank Young Artist, has used substances such as spices and flour and water in her investigations. This new work was especially commissioned for this show. 'A Matter of Time' was curated by Heidi Zuckerman, who will lead a walkthrough of the show, part of the Matrix series of art exhibitions, on Thursday, February 20, at 12.15 p.m.

Opening: February 2
Closing: March 23

UC Berkeley Art Museum
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, California
Tel: (510) 643-4547

Robin Rhode

Robin Rhode
Basketball, 2000
Performance photographs

Wang Jian Wei

Wang Jian Wei
Living Elsewhere, 1999-2000

Going global at the Walker Art Center

An exhibition with the engaging title of 'How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age' opens with an exhibition preview party at the prestigious Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, February 8.

Long in preparation, the exhibition is part of a major four-year initiative in which the institution is seeking to expand its horizons to a global perspective.
Issues at the heart include how art from other parts of the world is being conceived, made and displayed, and if the original intentions of the artist are met or mutated when the work moves away from the locale where it was made and into an international arena.

"Embracing a sense of civic responsibility that redefines activism, these artists seem to prefer 'making art politically' rather than 'making political art'," reads the publicity.
"Taken together, their works explore concepts of the local and the global, but avoid making a distinction between the two".

Of the 27 artists from countries such as US, Turkey, Japan, Brazil, India, and China on the exhibition, many of them are new names to an American audience, and three are from South Africa - Moshekwa Langa, Usha Seejarim and Robin Rhode.
Rhode is one of the artists invited to give a performance on opening night - known for making charcoal drawings on the gallery wall, then interacting with them, the street wise Rhode seldom fails to entertain his audience with his sharp, humorous approach.

Others who will perform on opening night include LA band the Melvins, who will provide a live soundtrack to Cameron Jamie's film, B.B. and Cabelo, of Brazil who will present a new piece accompanied by a band of Rio compatriots.

A full programme of events around the exhibition includes a panel discussion on Artists in Action: Performative Elements in Contemporary Art on February 6, and one on Global curating in the 21st Century on Sunday, February 9.

The exhibition runs until May 4.


Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa

One often underestimates the difficulty of presenting South Africa internationally, more particularly contemporary South African art. This is amply borne out by this cursory overview of the press release to a new show at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. 'Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa' is a show which presents contemporary art from South Africa, "where artists have played a significant role in redefining the social and political identity of the region. This show promises art that reflects both Third World history and First World influence on this area, challenging African and Western notions of art."

Quoting further: " 'Coexistence: Contemporary Cultural Production in South Africa' presents a wide range of creative activity in the young nation. South African policymakers have recognized the value of art and artists in the social, economic and educational development of their young nation. In the decade since the abolition of apartheid in 1990 art in South Africa has shifted from resistance art to art committed to the social transformation of the country.

"The works in 'Coexistence' represent the various ways in which the categories of "European" and "indigenous" arts are coexisting and mutually influencing each other. Six major works from the South African National Gallery (SANG) collection, all from 1995, form the exhibition's core. As a group, they contrast the vastly different spaces of the suburb, the township, the rural village, and the central city, and the racial and economic divisions that they mark. With one foot firmly planted in the Third World and the other striding forth into the First World, the art of contemporary South Africa challenges both African and Western notions of art."

'Coexistence' will feature artist Sue Williamson, amongst others, and is co-organized by The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, and the South African National Gallery, Cape Town, and curated by Pamela Allara, Associate Professor, Fine Arts Department, Brandeis University, Marilyn Martin, Director, Art Division, Iziko Museums of Cape Town, and Zola Mtshiza, Assistant Curator, SANG. There will be an exhibition catalogue.

For those unfamiliar with the Rose, it houses Brandeis University's collection of modern and contemporary art. Widely recognized as the finest collection of twentieth century art in New England, the collection includes pieces by the leading artists throughout the century, focussing on post WWII American art including de Kooning, Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Mangold, and Taaffe. Portions of the collection are always on display at The Rose.

Opens: January 22
Closes: June 29, 2003

Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University
Lois Foster Wing and Mildred S. Lee Gallery
415 South Street in Waltham, MA 02454, USA
Tel: 781. 736 3434
Fax: 781. 736 3439
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12 p.m - 5 p.m

Zwelethu Mthethwa's Photographic Portraits in Ohio

It is certainly a busy season for Cape Town's Zwelethu Mthethwa. 'Zwelethu Mthethwa Photographs: Portraits' is a solo exhibition featuring 10 of his trademark large-scale images (38 x 51 inches), capturing in vivid colour the detailed surroundings of his impoverished subjects.

Opens: February 15, 2003
Closes: April 23, 2003

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Gallery 105
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA
Tel: 216-421-7340

The World Moves - We Follow: Celebrating African Art in Tennessee

The title of 'The World Moves - We Follow' is taken from a Yoruba proverb, speaks to the inevitability of change, in this instance regarding African art. "Many still see African art as primarily being comprised of exotic masks and figure carvings coming from a nebulous time-period," comment the organisers referring to the so-called "ethnographic present."

Seeking to introduce African art to a new audience (eastern Tennessee has never had a major, general exhibition of African Art), this exhibition intends to present a broad survey of African art forms. African Art survey exhibitions have been presented in a number of world venues. Many surveys are focused on particular collectors and their tastes for figures and masks, or permanent collections (for example, the Field Museum of Chicago and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's recent reinstallations, which reflect museums' own collection history and the story they currently want to tell about Africa).

Having neither local museum collections or many private collectors of African Art, the challenge was to come up with a way to celebrate the artistic richness of the African heritage as inclusively as possible. It was imperative to incorporate some of the newest research on previously neglected artforms and geographic areas and include these arts under the umbrella of what represents African Art. The neglected geographic areas of Madagascar, southern and eastern Africa and Ethiopia and the largely ignored art forms such as weapons, furniture, currency tokens, textiles, and contemporary art are therefore incorporated into this exhibition.

" We have chosen to completely integrate the widest possible range of art forms, and thus confirm their incorporation into the canon of African Art," state the organisers. "To do this successfully it was critical to select the very best examples of many categories of objects." The exhibition has thus been organised into a number of themes: Leadership and Status, Death and the Ancestors, Utility and the Art of Living, Transitions, and Connecting with the World. Objects to be included cover a variety of forms (masks, figures, textiles, paintings, weapons, furniture); time periods (ranging from a bronze head and plaque from the ancient kingdom of Benin up to contemporary times with factory-printed cloth and art about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa); and geographic areas (ranging from Madagascar to eastern and southern Africa, through central and western Africa, to northern and north-eastern Africa).

'The World Moves - We Follow' is complemented by a number of events (musical and dance performances by the Soweto Street Dance Company, lectures, a play, a conference, film series, etc.), held under the umbrella of the "Africa Semester, Spring 2003".

Opens: January 10
Closes: May 18, 2003

Frank H. McClung Museum of the University of Tennessee
701 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0470, USA

For More Information on Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

Human Rights Prints in Tennessee

As part of 'The World Moves - We Follow' exhibition, the University of Tennessee is presenting a collection of prints illustrating the clauses of South Africa's Bill of Rights. 'Images of Human Rights' is a portfolio of prints produced by Artists for Human Rights - a group of artists described as coming "from the diverse cultures of South Africa."

Several lunchtime talks are being planned at the College of Law in connection with the exhibition. Professor Ebrahim Moosa, formerly of the University of Cape Town and now of Duke University, will speak on how the Bill of Rights deals with questions of religious freedom, addressing the relationship between Islam and constitutionalism in South Africa. His talk is tentatively scheduled for late March.

The exact time and place for the showcasing of 'Images of Human Rights' is yet to be determined. More information on the portfolio can however be found at the Images of Human Rights web site, which includes an introduction by Desmond Tutu.

Opens: February 1
Closes: May 18, 2003

College of Law Building
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Tel: 865. 974 1000

For More Information on Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950

The Peter Weiss Collection is one of the largest collections of its kind. Consisting of more than 10 000 postcards, published between 1890 and 1950, all of them depicting blacks, the collection represents an invaluable source for understanding the role of Africa and blackness in European popular culture in the first half of the 20th century.

During the Africa Semester 2003, 'Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950', an exhibition at the Black Cultural Center, will offer the public the chance to view a representative, thematically focused excerpt of the collected materials. Approaches range from 'entertaining' caricatures through to expressionist paintings to advertisements and political propaganda. This will be the first exhibit of the Weiss Collection on the American continent. (See NEWS.)

For more information on 'Africa at Home: European Postcards 1890-1950' and the Africa Semester 2003, contact:
Stefanie Ohnesorg
Tel: 865. 974 7098
Carolyn Hodges
Tel: 865. 974 2312

For further information please contact:

The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions

'The Art of African Women: Empowering Traditions' exhibition and program series is described as "an unprecedented survey of African artistic traditions that have been passed down from mothers to daughters for centuries." The exhibition features more than 75 photographs by internationally acclaimed photojournalist Margaret Courtney-Clarke. Captured over twenty-years documenting traditions in South, West, and North Africa, "the images pay homage to the beauty African women have created in their lives despite social, political, and economic upheavals."

Courtney-Clarke, who was born and raised in Namibia, has previously published her body of work in the books Ndebele, African Canvas, and Imazighen. The photographs on view are complemented by more than 30 objects, many of which have been photographed with their creators.

The exhibition surveys traditional interior and exterior housing design, pottery, weaving, and other decorative arts. Internationally renowned Ndebele traditional artist Francina Ndimande and her daughter Angelina Ndimande will travel from their home in Mabhoko, South Africa, to create a major architectural mural at the Schomburg Center. Two of their teenage students from the Ndebele Foundation Cultural Centre in Mabhoko will accompany them to New York.

Opens: October 28, 2002
Closes: March 30, 2003

Exhibition Hall, Latimer/Edison Gallery, and American Negro Theatre
The New York Public Library
8 West 40th Street, New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212. 221 7676 or 212. 4912200
fax: 212. 768 7439
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Tracey Derrick

Tracey Derrick
'Basic Necessity' series
Black and white photo

Tracey Derrick selected for Brazil leg of African Photography Biennale

Cape Town photographer Tracey Derrick is one of 14 selected to participate on the international extension of the 2001 4th African Photography Encounters in Bamako, which now travels to Brazil. Her black and white series Basic Necessity focusses on sex workers round and about Cape Town, and was two years in the making.

Says Derrick in an artist's statement, "We have more words for sex work than we have for money - they have as many about us. It is a scorned, marginalised and persecuted industry, the oldest profession - veiled in myth.

'I found myself challenging the social and cultural myths about sex work and the world of sex workers. They are courageous, laugh at themselves, laugh at the society they live in. They are wicked and I love that - everybody sells themselves in some way.'

Derrick's work was selected for the Brazil leg of the exhibition by the artistic director of the Bamako Biennale, Simon Njami, and by the Alliance Francaise of Rio de Janeiro. Opening at the Musee d'Art Moderne in Salvador on March 14, the show will run for one month before touring to Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Recife. Derrick, who once lived in Salvador and is a fluent Portuguese speaker, will travel to Brazil for the opening, courtesy of the AFAA, Association Francaise d'Action Artistique.

Opening: March 14
Closing: April 14

Musee d'Art Moderne, Salvador


Marlene Dumas

Marlene Dumas
'Purple Pose', 1997
lithograph 30/50

Collection: BHP Billiton

Intersections: South African Art from the Billiton Collection at the RMIT Gallery

Spanning the years from 1948 to the present, the BHP Billiton Collection is one of the most extensive corporate collections in South Africa. Corporate collections, in South Africa, remain one of the richest sources, particularly of contemporary art since they have displayed an independence and a willingness to collect a broader range of artistic production than their museum counterparts. As founding curator of the Billiton collection, Kendell Geers began the process of putting together a collection of work which functions as an archive to a changing society, one which is a �complex space of intersections, cross-cultures, hybrids, synergies and oppositions�. He left this position a few years back but until recently remained an advisor to the collection. Current curator is Natasha Fuller and it is she who has put the exhibition together.

To be seen in Melbourne is work by exiles like Gavin Jantjes, alongside conceptual heavyweights like Willem Boshoff. Kentridge will be seen alongside younger artists like Lisa Brice and Siemon Allen. Johannes Phokela and Sue Williamson, both of whose work features in the show, will be present for walkabouts of the exhibition along with curator Natasha Fuller. They will be joined at 1pm on Thursday February 20 by writer/poet John Mateer and African specialists Assoc. Prof. Jock McCulloch, International Development, RMIT; and Assoc. Prof. David Dorward, Director, African Research Insitute, La Trobe University in a discussion of South Africa�s recent socio-economic and political history in the context of the cultural documents and artworks in the exhibition Intersections.

Says Suzanne Davies, director of the RMIT Gallery, �(W)e anticipate these works of art will generate considerable discussion concerning the reality and residue of Apartheid�. Billiton, which operates in Australia as well, plan a reciprocal exhibition of Australian work (from their collection there) in the near future.

Opening: Wednesday 19 February 2003

See Diary

RMIT Gallery
Storey Hall, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9925 1717
Fax: +61 3 9925 1738
Hours: Monday - Friday 11 a.m - 5 p.m, Saturday 2 - 5 p.m