Archive: Issue No. 24, August 1999

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Lines of Sight

"Variety of Human Nature" (detail) 1999 by Nadja Daehnke
glass, body-putty on canvas, ink, PVA
1800 X 1480mm


Nadja Daehnke at the AVA
Paul Edmunds

"Unfinished Man" is a handsome and well constructed body of work rooted in a set of ideas well worthy of investigation. But although one really wants them to, the form and the content don't interface to the betterment of one another. It's important to explore what gave rise to our ideas of normality, deviation and morality. Some of the ideas Daehnke presents for scrutinisation from 18th Century sciences and 20th Century South Africa seem utterly bizarre, yet made a lot of sense to the right people at the right times. Unfinished Man, for example, is a large canvas whose surface is covered in layers of paint scraped back in various places to reveal underlying paint and ground. Very lightly, an image of a man and woman is painted in a similar tone. We are told that these are images from an 18th Century scientific text. On top of these figures, in turn, is a copy of a table and text from a similarly dated document, which was used to determine the moral character of a human by calculating the proportion of their weight to their height. Needless to say, Negroid races are described as difficult to analyse, but probably "degenerate". This text and table is beautifully transcribed, painted and incised into the surface. The colours are of mixed hue and all of similar tones. The work is formally very understated and seductively subtle in its execution.

Fortunately we have redressed some of the peculiar ideologies described above. Unfortunately, perhaps we are unable to tell just what our contemporary ideological idiosyncrasies are. So, this exploration is relevant and interesting. Somehow, however, the reams of information laid so seductively across the artworks' surfaces, along with the text which accompanies each work, come across like a long list. Daehnke displays an ability to deconstruct ideas and to translate them into a pictorial medium, and although I really wanted to like these works, they came across as didactic and as a set of points to be memorised. It seems that the ideas with which she is dealing could be more appropriately expressed in another way. Similarly the tactile and palimpsest-like surfaces and textures seem to want a subject matter which retreats and advances, where there are more gray areas and fewer simple statements and facts. I do think, however, that this is an important body of work both for an audience and for the artist herself.

Tracey Derrick

Tracey Derrick
"Basic Necessity" series 1998
Black and white photograph

Tracey Derrick

Derrick's photographs
inscribes graffitti on the
wall of the gallery space
before the show opens.

Tracey Derrick at the AVA
Paul Edmunds

Just when you thought you had sorted out the victims from the perpetrators, Tracey Derrick's photographs come along and change that all. The characters in Derrick's "Bare Necessity", know who's in charge, and, for the right price, they'll show you. Derrick's beautiful black and white images are augmented by graffiti from the sex workers themselves, which she invited them to create on the walls alongside the images, themselves suspended in glass sandwiches perpendicular to the writing. The workers, whom Derrick chose to photograph, are all transvestites. Her photos catch them in states of carefree abandon, in private and vulnerable moments and in professional mode. The images are sympathetic, warm and admiring. The graffiti sometimes stands in contrast to this and at others reveals similar sentiments. There are price lists, inane comments worthy of a public toilet, and statements of camaraderie and friendship. The exhibition leaves one with a warm feeling and a deep curiosity about a world which seems to exist way beyond the confines of most of our lives.

Both shows close August 28.

AVA, 35 Church Street
ph: (021) 424-7436; fax 423-2637
Gallery hours: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 10am to 1pm

Lines of Sight

Ethnographic Image
from the Krige Collection, SA Museum

"Lines of Sight" at the SANG
Mthandeni Ziqubu

Cape Town's South African National Gallery is proud host to an exhibition on South African photography entitled "Lines of Sight", the work of seven curators. One might describe this effort as something that celebrates the essence of photography in this country, taking us back in parts to a hiatus of past years of brutal realities. Poignant and jovial moments are encapsulated in the seven section tributaries that mummify the Gallery space.

Kathleen Grundlingh, one of the curators, explains the aim behind it. "Our main objective is to thematically look at the history of South African photography from the ordinary people's point of view, not in accordance with the Drum Age which has received a lot of publicity over the years, but rather in terms of ordinary lives. We have photographs of ordinary people focusing on their weddings and family gatherings, - things we hardly ever find at the South African National Gallery".

The most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the way well known and unknown photographers share parity. Alongside names like Leon Levson, Peter Magubane, and A.M. Duggan-Cronin, are Mrs Aston and Mabel Catu.

Levson's powerful photographic images capture the sad plight of Bantustans in both rural and urban areas, and Peter Magubane depicts the human degradation of Sophiatown.

"Lines of Sight" is not about framed photographs hung on the wall to catch the eye of a nomadic tourist, nor does it aim at plunging us into torturous, painful memories. Rather, it documents the drama of individual experience undemarcated by professionalism, gender, race or creed.

Mthandeni Ziqubu was instrumental in writing and producing Mamba magazine in Durban

Video Still by Alvyn Peterson

Steven Cohen

Video Still by Alvyn Peterson

Steven Cohen

Photograph by Barend de Wet

Steven Cohen

Photograph by Barend de Wet

Steven Cohen at the FNB Dance Indaba
Peet Pienaar

The event: "Tradition"
performed by Steven Cohen and Elu, choreographed by Cohen

The setting: FNB Dance Indaba at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town

The audience was comfortably sleeping away, watching boys jumping over girls backs and vice versa. And in true contemporary dance style, people were chasing each other over the stage, running in circles full of meaning.

The judges: It was heard that one judge said to the other, "Look, that woman took off her shoes. What has become of the audiences?".

The performance: After interval the curtains opened with Steven lying on the stage floor, spotlight on him, then with a space sound Elu was lowered onto the stage dressed in traditional ballet gear. As he got to the floor, Steven was hoisted up leaving Elu to do the most beautiful ballet on stage. Up in the sky, Steven was moving across the stage (SCARY) to holster himself at the other end. As he did this , the chorus "Tradition" from Fiddler on the Roof started to play with a fullstage video projection of people shitting onto each other for about 40 seconds. By the time the video stopped Steven was ready to do an enema on Elu who was dancing away. Your first impression was blood- it looked as if he was shot in the head. Steven took his gemsbok horn shoes off, handing them to Elu and then fell onto Elu, both landing on the floor, embracing each other.


Assessment: Steven`s performance was probably the most exciting/beautifull work I have seen in a very long time. It was dance/art/performance/theatre/life etc which makes it possible to interpret the work on so many levels.

Afterwards: Performers didn't want to perform after Steven because they believed the audience was kidnapped. I spoke to some dancers afterwards and many said, "Well, we will have to change if that is what we have to compete with."
Bravo Steven it was brave and brilliant!

Peet Pienaar is a Cape Town based artist working mainly in performance.

Africa Meets Africa Power figure
Kongo, lower Congo
height 25cm
donated 1892

Africa Meets Africa Trade carving
Bembe, Congo-Brazzaville
height 111cm
donated 1887

Africa Meets Africa
Sue Williamson

As one of the power figures was removed from its crate for installation on the "Africa Meets Africa" exhibition at the South African National Gallery one evening last week, all the lights went out, and the gallery was plunged into darkness for several hours.

It is not hard to believe that, removed by decades and half a continent from the act of obeisance and creativity which brought them into being, the power figures retain the ability to demonstrate a fierce act of spiritual authority. Carved from wood, painted, decorated with beads, cord, cowrie shells, pierced with nails, some with glass fronted body cavities containing symbolic objects, the power figures are formidable; authentic icons of the indescribably rich culture of Africa.

"The exhibition 'Africa Meets Africa' does not merely intend to confront the viewer with a collection", writes curator Erna Beumers in a catalogue essay, "but also with a conference as it were, of African art objects, that whisper stories to one another about their 'former lives' and how they came to be here. And in this way the exhibition and this book wish to be a monument: a monument to the African artists that have made the beautiful and fascinating objects, a monument to the life in which rhe objects participarted, and a monument to the collectors who opened the eyes of Westerners to the beauty and significance of African art."

Beumers has realised her 'conference' idea with the greatest success. Alongside the power figures stands "one of the first pieces of African tourist art", says Beumers. Made more than a hundred years ago, the piece was collected in Bembe, Congo-Brazzaville, probably commissioned by a colonialist wishing to take home a souvenir of the hardships encountered in travelling through Africa. Two sturdy figures shoulder a long pole with a hammock suspended from it in which reclines a behatted and suited white man. In contrast to the robust handling of the carriers, the carver has commented on the effeteness of the traveller by rendering his legs without muscles: his limbs hang like flaccid hospeipe from the hammock.

The exhibition does not limit itself to objects from the past: the Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology from whence the show emanates continues to add to its collection with contemporary work from Africa, and has sent work from artists like Owen Ndou from Venda, the Ivory Coast sculptor Emile Gbeli, and the coffin maker Paa Joe of Ghana. There are also exquisite masks, headrests and all manner of small domestic objects. The catalogue is an art piece in itself, retaining the same spirit of curatorial freedom which informs the exhibition. Instead of each object being photographed in its entirety and placed centre page, as is standard practice for this kind of publication, the beautifully lit and photographed pieces are often cropped to show detail in extreme closeup, infusing liveliness and vigour.

It is indeed rare that a show of this quality is seen outside Europe and the United States: African museums, with their limited budgets and facilities are considered to be somewhat risky venues. The curator Erna Beumers, the Rotterdam Museum and the sponsors, which include the Government of the Netherlands and the South African Embassy in the Netherlands, are to be thanked for their leap of faith.

August tours: Wednesday 11 and 18 at 1.05 p.m.

The exhibition closes September 20.

Lionel Abrams

Lionel Abrams
Proust in His Bath
Acrylic on canvas
124 x 124cm

Lionel Abrams at the Lipschitz
Sue Williamson

Lionel Abrams (1931-97) came to maturity at a time when artists were artists, either painters, sculptors or printmakers, bought their materials in the art supply store, and considered Paris to be the centre of the artistic world. Unlike today, when concept largely takes precedence over drawing skills, artists like Abrams drew constantly, everything from small sketches to large well-modulated drawings in materials like charcoal and pastel. These were often preliminary studies for later paintings or sculptures.

Abrams' retrospective at the Lipschitz Gallery gives every evidence of a lifetime spent in the pursuit of the muse he loved, and an enlightening article by friend Albie Sachs pasted up on the gallery wall confirms this view. Between 1957 and 1981, Abrams held 16 one-person shows, and in 1959 and 1965 represented South Africa at the São Paulo Biennale. Also in 1965, he was a delegate to the 'Jeunes Peintres du Monde � Paris', and it is the Parisian influence that comes through his work most strongly.

Domestic life was a favourite subject of the Impressionists, and Proust in His Bath (undated) pictures the writer in a warm haze of slashing brushstrokes which indeed produce the shimmering light to which the Impressionists aspired. Proust (undated) is a fine portrait in more angst-ridden mode. There are a number of large drawings and sketches in various media. As is to be expected in a retrospective, the work is painted in varying styles, and if the work and themes seem somewhat dated to the contemporary eye, it is a good, solid body of work and part of our artistic history.

The show has been extended until the end of August.
Lipschitz Gallery, 138 Buitengragt Street.
ph: (021) 422-0280; fax 422-0281.


Detail of a piece by the artist

"Shroud"- De Greeff-Gabrielse at BangtheGallery
Mthandeni Ziqubu

An exhibition of metal and cloth works entitled "Shroud" by Veronica De Greef-Gabrielse, is about an impaired duality between what is spiritual and material. It is cleaved by the serene idea of spiritual lightness, the tacit theme behind the exhibition. The display of historical and theological intimacy is revealed through the use of perspex, glass and other industrial materials like sanded and printed aluminium, eroded printed mild steel and long inscribed shrouds hanging from the ceiling.

The idea of naked bodies wrapped in dark tombs becomes an exploration of eroticism, martyrdom, pains of suffering. Regrettably there is a lack of discerning thought to reflect the genesis for this, not from the aestheticized idea of "spiritual serenity" but to render an objective clarity on facets which form the flesh of her exhibition.
I think by finding that, it would have created a groundwork for pragmatic thoughts, not simply fetishised ideas with mirages of iconographic images.

Bang the Gallery is at 92 Bree Street.
ph: (021) 422 1477. or check out the website at

Jo Ractliffe

Jo Ractliffe
Love, Death, Sacrifice and So Forth
video installation

Minnette Vari

Minnette Vari
Video installation

Isaac Khanyile

Isaac Khanyile
Oh my country, my people, my life, my children's child
Mixed media installation

Zweletu Mthethwa

Zweletu Mthethwa
Colour photograph


Vita Art Prize 1999
Sandton Civic Gallery

Opens 10 August
Kathryn Smith

Congratulations to Jo Ractliffe for her triumph at this year's Vita Art Prize. I have had a week to process and internalise thoughts (and commentary picked up in the ether) on this year's Vita Art Prize, and I still maintain my first impressions of elegance, sophistication and truly excellent work, over and above all the 'stuff' that goes with competitions. This is rare, perhaps because the agenda is explicit, few artists selected and work is commissioned and curated. Apparently cut-and-dried. All the artists commissioned produced work that is world-class, with that extra intangible 'edge' that makes (most) South African contemporary art so compelling. Having said that, there are a couple of things that don't sit too well.

Competitions seem to be the flavour of the last few months and quite frankly, I'm bored. This one seems different for reasons already mentioned, as well as the fact that this is probably the most anticipated event on the annual arts calendar. But is it fair to judge Robert Hodgins' stunning paintings alongside Minnette Vari's visceral video work? It cannot be doubted that he is probably South Africa's most important painter, but can painting effectively compete within the framework of what is considered to be 'legitimate' globally? This argument is tautological and perhaps not worth the time, but competitions beg these questions. Hodgins has produced work that is sensuous, seductive and challenging and although the language remains the same, he demonstrates an ability to extend himself in terms of subject and continually break new ground.

The same cannot be said of Kendell Geers' video work White Man's Burden. Its initially provocative appeal gives way to irritation - this looped sequence of Harvey Keitel clutching his head in his hands at a church altar (appropriated from the film Bad Lieutenant) is unchallenging, simply because we've seen it before. It presses all the right 'guilt' buttons as the soundtrack worms its way into our gut. The installation is suitably raw and subtle at the same time - a small rectangle of cloth functions as a two-way screen such that the image is projected not on it, but through it. A tangle of wires and electronic equipment mounted on speakers houses the rest.

Zwelethu Mthethwa's exploration of the traditional roles of (black) men has been realised in gorgeous, sepia-tinted prints on canvas. Taking all the cliches we associate with the 'place' of men in capitalist society, he attempts to undercut that which we assume to be 'natural' from what appears to be a largely heterosexual standpoint. It is clear that he is working intimately and subjectively, but only one image (that of the hairdresser's) really manages to pull this off in that it is more subtly nuanced than the others of a labourer, men embracing and a butcher. It throws open many of the essential questions he hopes to unpack without being overly laboured or predictable. Set against Geers' piece, we begin to realise that these very subjective inquiries into the roles of men are worthy of more attention. It is refreshing to note that these roles are vulnerable and not as easy to assume as we think.

Although working closely with questions of identity too, Isaac Khanyile's work is increasingly informed by the spiritual and ephemeral. In Oh my country, my people, my life, my childrens' child, he confronts and embraces his position as a type of shaman, asking essential questions about ancestral lineage and 'roots' that manage to translate into an arresting and powerful floor installation. He incorporates traditional 'language' (beadwork, weaving and various herbs used in divination and healing) with western ethnographic systems of labelling and classification. He seems to assume an educative role as well, encouraging cross-cultural dialogue and communication in a way that does not seems trite and full of postcolonial catchphrases.

The sheer force of Minnette Vari's media-saturated-but-never-satiated Oracle devours everything in its wake. A clean-shaven, fluke-like Vari gnaws and binges on what appears to be a piece of flesh, while current affairs footage assumes the place of this flesh and spills out in a pool behind her feral form. The soundtrack is eerily beautiful and plays off Vari's abject confrontation that is presented on three monitors mounted one on top of another, forming a media totem pole with Vari as our self-proclaimed spokesperson. It will leave you speechless.

Jo Ractliffe's Love, Death, Sacrifice and so forth is the perfect panacea to Vari's excess, simply because it makes something out of nothing. Where Vari inserts herself with force, Ractliffe's images provoke, prick and soothe, yet the final result is almost as unsure in the sense that nothing is concrete and everything is at risk - she rejects context and its accompanying narratives; accepted photographic codes ('truths') are displaced and fugitive, and meaning is left up to us to make.

This apparent 'relinquishing of responsibility' on the part of the artist may be frustrating to some, liberating to others. Either way, it forces us to take on more as viewers, which is one thing the FNB Vita seeks to encourage. This year's show is inspiring. Where Steven Cohen restored our faith in new liberalism (however heinous this sounds) on the part of corporates (and challenged our subjectivities on more basic levels), Jo Ractliffe's victory - while being well-deserved and long-awaited recognition - sets up FNB as an international spokesperson for contemporary South African expression. Viva Vita.

Jose Ferreira

Jose Ferreira Scream
Video still

"Personal Concerns" at the Market Theatre Galleries
Kathryn Smith

On ascending the stairs to the gallery late on a Wednesday afternoon, my senses were assaulted by the nasal drone of a Hyde Park housewife attempting to speak an African language. The perpetrator was a video piece by Aliza Levi, perfomed by a perfectly composed Gretha Brazelle. Exquisitely invasive, this piece comprises two monitors speaking at each other. On one, Brazelle sounds out an English phrase (something like "Can you wash and iron?" with a patronising, simpering smile) and on the other, she repeats the phrase in what I assumed to be Zulu. As it turns out, the impetus for this piece was a book found by Levi called Pitman-Blaver's South African and Rhodesian Modern Self-Taught Simplified Phonetic Kitchen-Kaffir - spoken and understood by all tribes. Although apparently 'obvious', the piece stirred enough childhood memories of my own white, suburban middle class upbringing in the Last Outpost to make me want to run screaming.

A drawn urinal on the gallery wall was the site for another of Robin Rhode's engaging performances. At the Truth Veils: The Inner City show, Rhode attempted to steal his own drawing of a car. This time he urinated site-specifically, taking Duchamp's Fountain to its logical conclusion. In Routes (13b, 15, 10, 14, 19 21, 20) Mark Dunlop gives us low-res video-mediated photographs of inner city activity shot from buses. In downtown Johannesburg, passengers in vehicles have a very different experience to drivers and Dunlop captures this. The colour is suitably unreal in this environment of bizarre juxtapositions. Usha Prajapat's stunning formal arrangements of used bus tickets is Dunlop's flipside. Pinned to softboard, the tickets read like an aerial shot of the gridded city, printed arrows and stripes frenetically indicating direction. On a more lyrical but equally compelling note, Richard Penn and Mocke J. van Veuren's installation of animation and animation props is the stuff dreams are made of, quite literally in fact. Supersurreal hand-drawn bottles of StaSoft hurtle past battalions of domestic irons flying Star Trek-style across the animated heavens. Einstein imitates Charlie Chaplin and exploding men playing bowls, Dad = Love mugs and tins of Koo baked beans are all co-opted to ponder the sexual drive, chaos theory and the banalities of suburbia in a most refreshing way. Along with this piece, Bradley Hammond and Jose Ferreira steal the show. Hammond gives us De-Tuned Channel # 9, a work we are not unfamiliar with. However, this exercise in miscommunication takes on a more sinister note as it sits majestically behind Jose Ferreira's Scream. Scream depicts a still of a perspective view down a suburban street. Deserted street and high walls are quiet until the soundtrack, a continuous women's scream, cuts through. It's menacing, eerie and unnervingly affective in its simplicity.

Although there are a few weak pieces, the show is a breath of fresh air amidst much desperately serious work on show at the moment in Johannesburg. Highly subjective and intensely personal, it is strongly recommended for those with dwindling faith that young art can be entertaining and thought-provoking, both technically and conceptually. Highly recommended.

Show closes August 28.

Rembrandt Van Rijn Art Gallery, Market Theatre Precinct, Newtown.
ph: (011) 832-1641; fax 834-2057

Kim Burman

Kim Berman
from Fires of the Truth Commission series

Kim Berman at the Goodman
Kathryn Smith

Kim Berman is a well-known and respected figure in the South African art scene both for her own work and her tireless efforts at the Artists' Proof studios. In "A Decade of Work", divided into several series but going under the umbrella title of Wastelandscapes, she attempts to communicate her responses to the complex physical, social and emotional character of South Africa. In the series Fires of the Truth Commission, veld fires act as a loaded metaphor for the TRC - simultaneously destructive and life-affirming, purging to make way for regeneration. She marries form and content by using alternative and 'low-tech' techniques which themselves become analogous to her experience of a developing South Africa and the importance of exchange and communication.

The show opened 14 August and closes 4 September. For more details, please contact Sophia Hunt on (011) 788 1113 or

Goodman Gallery, 163 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood.
Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm; Saturday, 9.30am to 4pm.
ph: (011) 788-1113; fax: 788-9887

Martienssen Prize Exhibition

Martienssen Prize Exhibition

Eleni Neocleous
Home Sweet Home
mixed media
each unit is 18.5cm X 18.5 X 8.5cm

Martienssen Prize Exhibition at the Gertrude Posel Gallery
Kathryn Smith

The Martienssen Art Prize has not been without contention and media attention. Having been an on-again-off-again competition, it was reinstated as a prize exhibition in 1996 after the quality of work produced had reached an all-time low. The work up for selection - that of 3rd and 4th year students - is produced independently during the July vacation with no guidance or advice given by the lecturing body. The dynamics of this incentive-scheme are rather telling but that's for another time. The 1996 prize went to the infamous Useful Objects by Kaolin Thompson and being a classmate, we all felt rather special to be somewhat implicated in what amounted to a minor parliamentary scandal. Sadly, subsequent shows have never quite lived up to this. The 1999 show is disappointing, although a few works display some potential.

The judging body, which is generally made up of people not directly associated with the Wits University Fine Art Department, consisted of Tracey Rose, Mark Gevisser and Bonghi Dhlomo and out of a possible 40-odd works available, only 15 were selected for the show. To compound the issue, they couldn't decide on a 'winner' and divided the prize between Belinda Karpelowsky's work A ship is safe in the harbour - But that's not what ships are for and Eleni Neocleous' Home Sweet Home. Now, if they can select 15 works out of 3rd and 4th year combined, surely a decision could be made on a winner?

Karpelowsky's work is an exquisitely fragile but simultaneously threatening sculptural installation. Long shards of glass are bundled, hung with very fine gut in 7 rows from the ceiling, and a few regrouped to form a multi-layered curtain resembling wind chimes or organ pipes. 7 white dowels are laid parallel with the rows on the floor. The association with musical scores seems deliberate, but also implies obsessive ordering, classification and something not unlike the Sword of Damocles myth. Loops of string are tied to the bundles in what appear to be random positions, but the work seems too calculated for this. Formally arresting, one is seduced by the shadow-play and light.

Eleni Neocleous' work adopts a very different visual language but to similar ends. Three neat boxes contain a photographic image of a security-gated domestic scene reflected in a car's rear-view mirror, shot against open sky or landscape vista seen through the same car's windscreen. The notion of what 'home' can mean is often the subject of much debate within an increasingly global society, not to mention those who are forced into refugee situations or migrant labour. It is interesting to pick up on this focus on 'safe' space viewed from the confines of a vehicle (travelling or still), dominated by Jo Ractliffe's 'drive-by' works from her Shooting Diana series. Open roads are neither private nor public spaces, existing in a no-man's land of transience and expectation. Neocleous' juxtapostions are spaces of 'what-ifs' and 'maybes', spaces where she feels/is forced to feel safe, and what might be in an ideal world. Boxes contain this immaterial and ephemeral location of need and desire. Both her and Karpelowsky's works are exercises in the double-bind of security and well-being vs. potential risk and danger and are emblematic of many white (especially female?) subject positions in a fraught social context. The 'voice' of the young, white South African is not often heard - once-beneficiaries of the ruling class and suddenly finding oneself part of the ethnic minority is not the easiest pill to swallow. These subjectivities need to be explored.

However, this critic's choice award goes to Jeana Theron's video installation Snow White. Engaging, funny and disturbing, Snow White is depicted the moment the Prince attempts to wake her with a kiss. Both shot in profile, Theron's Prince is perched over the sleeping maiden, kissing her repeatedly and desperately on the left side of her mouth. Out of the right hand corner of her lips she regurgitates food product and plastic fridge-magnet letters, spelling "Beauty means harmony between the inner and outer self" over the duration of the piece. Snow White's eyelids gently flutter as she alternately wakes and relapses to the barely-audible, scratchy Disney tune 'Someday My Prince Will Come' and clips from the original Disney animation introduce and conclude the piece. The work, unless viewed, would seem to suffer from predictability and overwrought associations. However, Theron handles the complex psychoanalytic material and gender issues with maturity and self-awareness, and refreshingly wry humour. Not knowing what the letters spelt at first, this subtlety operates on a semiotic level as well, as letters form random parts of words, or fall out upside down, giving rise to new permutations, some of which were at the mercy of projection given the sexually-charged context. Two other works on the show are worthy of comment: Daniel Hirschmann's Who's Listening @ I'm Listening offers us the opportunity to vent our spleens online and have our emails displayed on his website. Anonymity is a guaranteed possibility (emails addressed to on this site which allows us to indulge our obsessions with confessional talk shows and 'real life' dramas, while insinuating ourselves into the collective cyber-unconscious. Goodness Nhlengethwa gives us a demographic bar-graph entitled Me Other where 'me' remains a constant and 'other' continues to rise and overtake. A second piece, Sizomotha , is a sinister reminder of necklace murders and betrayal. Rubble, a tyre and bottles are strewn on the floor with a makeshift cardboard sign reading 'Siyayishisa impimpi'.

Despite moments of excellence, the work on display is very much 'of a type'. Languages employed by well-known artists make several appearances, but given that this is undergraduate student work, this is perhaps unfair. However, all modes of production are accounted for here, from painting to video to sculpture and installation, and it is one of the few prize exhibitions were installation work is strongly encouraged. The Wits Fine Art department is the finest in the country and we look forward to seeing where these young artists are headed. Until August 27.

Getrude Posel Gallery, University of Witwatersrand




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