Willem Boshoff is currently on show at the Michael Stevenson Contemporary. The works Boshoff has chosen to present at this new Cape Town space ferret around the muck of our nation's recent past. Particularly alluring are three granite monoliths, each inscribed with prison hacks quantifying with unerring exactitude the prison sentences of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada. No less engaging is Boshoff's work Garden of words
(1982-1997), an orderly 'flower bed' of words - flowers because each of the 4,000 words describes a plant name, collected in actual locations all over the world. That Boshoff has a fascination with words need not be repeated, nor is it necessary to elaborate on Sol LeWitt's pertinent observation: "If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature, numbers are not mathematics." But what about words pertaining to art: art criticism? "These sentences comment on art, but are not art," LeWitt observed in his manifesto 'Sentences on Conceptual Art'. Pause and reread this insightful assertion again. Oblique? Irrelevant? You decide on that, and also on whether local art criticism has dried up, as reader Nicole Sartini contends in Feedback. Art and words: the debate continues apace.
Postscript: Apologies for the late updates this month.
Next update: October 1, 2003
A useful addendum to the recent debate on the relevance of focussing on black visual art practice comes in the form of a movie. 'The Luggage is Still Labelled: Blackness in South African Art', a film by Vuyile C. Voyiya and Julie L. McGee, features as part of the Michaelis public lecture series. Also: Tracy Lindner Gander shows evocative images of roadside spaces at twilight/ night, at João Ferreira; 'Co-existence: contemporary cultural production in SA' opens at the SANG; and Vienna-based Michael Blum delivers a talk as part of the 'Very Real Time' residency project initiated by Gregg Smith.
Love is the subject of Clive van den Berg's new exhibition, 'Love's Ballast', at the Goodman Gallery; 'Choose your own...' is an annual, interactive art event organised by third year Fine Arts students of the Wits School of Arts and will be held in a new gallery recently opened to the public; Geof Kirby is at PhotoZA; Elza Botha is at Art on Paper; Vuzi Mfupi is at the Goethe-Institut; the Open Window's lecturers show at Open Window Art Gallery; and Monna Mokoena launches Gallery Momo, Johannesburg's newest contemporary art space, with a show by the DRC's Roger Botembe.
It's a busy few weeks ahead at the Durban Art Gallery. Jay Pather's Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre presents 'Home', which includes images by Jo Ractliffe and Angela Buckland, and sculptures by Milijana Babic. 'Tropic Of Capricorn' is an exhibition by Italian artist, Luisella Carretta, and 'My Roots' a special Heritage Day exhibition, both also at the DAG. As part of the 'Celebrate eThekwini' Festival the DAG is also hosting Red Eye Art free of charge this month.
'Learning from*' is the title to a group show being held in Berlin, and sees the trio of Stephen Hobbs, Marcus Neustetter and Kathryn Smith showcase their collective work, under the guise of the trinity session; international circuit regulars, Kendell Geers and Zwelethu Mthethwa, will represent South Africa on the 8th Istanbul Biennial; Cape Town based Ed Young will show a range of subversive video works in Belgium; Arlene Amaler-Raviv, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Sam Nhlengethwa, Rodney Place and Dale Yudelman are all participating on the 8th Havana Biennial. In Amsterdam Hentie van der Merwe exhibits photographs and subway posters of groups of residents of Bijlmer, an immigrant area.
Gavin Younge's Cape Town International Convention Centre sculpture Resevoir is the subject of some controversy. In an extensive review, Lloyd Pollak evaluates the work's iconographic meaning and pointed relevance to its location. Printmakers from around the world attended a four-day conference held last month at UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art. Kim Gurney reviews the keynote speeches, and also examines the some core themes that preoccupied the discussions: print on the margins, new print technologies and the problems surrounding African identity politics. Also: 'Witness', a group show at Warren Siebrits, recontextualises and relocates works that span 45 years of production; Paul Edmunds struggles to reconcile his admiration for Willem Boshoff with work that fails to ignite the fascination the reviewer has come to expect; and Hentie van der Merwe and Luan Nel's Goodman show succeeds in animating the inanimate within the genre of still life, writes Brenton Maart. Sue Williamson reflects on the shows of conceptual duo Andrew Lamprecht and Ed Young at the Bell-Roberts.
Jette Kristiansen remarks how the 167 artworks shortlisted for the Brett Kebble Art Award function as a cross section of South Africa's current artistic reality; Samson Mudzunga is scrutinised by Pitso Chinzima; the Second Getty Images Fellow is named; Wits officially launches its School of the Arts; Brett Murray and Mario Pisarra appear in Polvo magazine; Willie Bester to receive a prestigious award; Gregg Smith's Cape Town residency gets a mention; and is Thando Mama the saviour of local video art? Lastly, some say it is not art but criticism that is in crisis. Sean O'Toole responds, in a manner of speaking.
What motivates curators and art buyers to purchase artworks? This simple question is the premise for Gallery Choice, a monthly feature that aims to reveal who (public museums/corporate collections) is buying what (artist), and why.
This month's choice is Colbert Mashile
Sue Williamson gets all fired up by print possibilities at the Impact Printmaking Conference, and witnesses fireworks at the Art Historians' Conference.
Peter Clarke is a highly accomplished and versatile visual artist, working across a broad spectrum of media. But he also has a literary side as an internationally acclaimed writer and poet. Kim Gurney reveals a bit about this artist who won the Drum International Short Story Award in 1955.
Monna wa Mokoena promises to bring a fresh take to contemporary art dealing in Johannesburg. Visit his website.
We chuckled at Naoki Mitsuse's work, available at www.wired.com/animation.
ITCH, a new Bell-Roberts Publication, is looking for contributions, from artworks to essays; as is the virtual Rainforest Memorial, as well as an international symposium on corrugated board. Also: Christina Beatty, previously Event Development Co-ordinator at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, is calling on South African artist to donate works to a London charity auction.
"Art criticism has dried up," comments Nicole Sartini in response ArtThrob's editorial comment published with the August 15 update. She also makes short shrift of the JAG's current policies, pillorying in particular the euphemisms used to articulate this change.
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Tracey Rose is one of South Africa's hottest young artists. She is also the sites most recent addition to the Editions for ArtThrob portfolio. Her working proof is an "exploration into paranoia". ArtThrob is honoured to include this unique hand-drawn print as the latest in the Editions for ArtThrob series. More information regarding availability will be posted shortly. Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins and Zwelethu Mthethwa.
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