SMAC Art Gallery 02

blank projects

Plate 6

Igshaan Adams
Plate 6, Found seat cover, fabric, invisible thread , 101 x 201 cm

SEE LISTING gif city

Jan Henri Booyens
gif city, Direct print on aluminium Dibond , 180 x 120 cm

SEE LISTING Body Suit Stretch (5)

Gerda Scheepers
Body Suit Stretch (5), Acrylic on fabric, , 92cm x 92cm

SEE LISTING Untitled from the series 'Outside Town'

Mario Macilau
Untitled from the series 'Outside Town', Inkjet print on Hahnemu¨hle cotton paper ,


Kerry Chaloner
Black Dog, Oil paint, spraypaint, nail polish and silicone on partly primed canvas , 35 x 25 x 9 cm


113-115 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, 7925

Hours: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 – 17:00 | Saturday 10:00 – 13:00 | Closed on Sunday, Monday and public holidays


Igshaan Adams at blank projects

Igshaan Adams’ work investigates hybrid identity, particularly in relation to race and sexuality. Adams was raised in a community racially classified in South Africa as ‘coloured’ under apartheid legislature. The term ‘coloured’ is still used in South Africa to refer to the creole community of mixed raced origins. An observant but liberal Muslim raised by Christian grandparents, Adams occupies a precarious place in his religious community because of his homosexuality. His work speaks to his experiences of racial, religious and sexual liminality, but breaks with a strong representational convention in recent South African art. Adams uses the material and formal iconographies of Islam and ‘coloured’ culture to develop a more equivocal, phenomenological approach towards these concerns.

The sculptures, installations, tapestries and banners constituting ‘Parda’ were conceived during Adams’ participation in the Sommerakademie at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern in 2014, guest curated by Raimundas Malasauskas. The works draw from Hermann Rorschach's inkblot tests, and seek to explore the idea of exposing underlying beliefs, mental patterns and blindspots through analysing projections. In developing this body of work, Adams sought to subjectively explore the structure of the test (form, colour, movement, and the sequence of the ten plates) and its claim to expose mental abnormalities. The title 'Parda' refers to a veil or a curtain; a flimsy protective layer that conceals an identity. In Islam it refers to the covering of a women's face as prescribed by Sharia laws and has become a symbol of the oppression of women in some parts of the Muslim world.
Apparent in Adams’ work is ‘the vital role that fabric as a medium plays in his artistic dialogues. Some of Adams’ earliest childhood memories include going to work with his mother on a Saturday. His mother was a machinist - constantly crafting a range of textiles - and this environment started to cultivate Adams’ passion for material and tactile mediums. [His] use of textiles exemplifies the strong feminine influence during his formative years, when the matriarchs in his family had a significant impact on him. It echoes the domestic environment, a prevalent theme in Adams’ oeuvre, as well as raising issues of sexuality and the questioning of stereotypes.’

Daniel Hewson, ‘Bright Young Things.’ ARTsouthAFRICA, December 2014

22 January 2015 - 28 February 2015

Various Artists at blank projects

'next thing you know' is the third annual group exhibition presented by blank projects which resolves the trilogy comprising When form becomes attitude (2012) and This is the thing (2013). Annuals present opportunity for the gallery and its family of artists to reflect on shifts in individual practises as well as in the gallery as an organism in and of itself.  Compiled with input from the artists, this show looks back at a three year cycle and in doing so prepares to support the ambitious projects of the artists represented.

Igshaan Adams, Jan-Henri Booyens, Kerry Chaloner, Jared Ginsburg, Mário Macilau, Turiya Magadlela, Misheck Masamvu, Kyle Morland, Gerda Scheepers, James Webb

with guest artists
Mbali Khoza, Mitchell Messina, Jonah Sack

27 November 2014 - 10 January 2015

Gerda Scheepers at blank projects

Gerda Scheepers will develop an abstract situation at the gallery using new works. By pointedly referencing genres of classical art production (painting, objects, and drawing), Scheepers moves away from dualisms such as form/content and figuration/abstraction. As hybrid media, her works focus on psychological tensions that arise between images, graphic diagrams, and language. Scheepers invariably questions the material presence of images, destabilizing them through the use of ambivalent structures, or the simultaneity of subject and background. The exhibition title alludes to both the individual psychological landscape as well as its interaction with the bigger social landscape, and an abstract surface where they are held in tension.

30 October 2014 - 29 November 2014

Mario Macilau at blank projects

blank projects is pleased to present ‘Fora da cidade (out of town)’, the first solo exhibition in South Africa by Mozambican photographer Mario Macilau. ‘Fora da cidade (out of town)’ comprises a selection of photographs from two recent series, ‘Living on the Edge’ (2012) and ‘Outside Town’ (2013 – ongoing). Both series document the living and working conditions of socially isolated or marginalised groups living in rural or peri-urban areas of East Africa, with a focus on the negative socio-economic effects of migrant labour and foreign investment in developing countries. His images seek to represent the complex reality of the globalised labour market, communicating what Macilau describes as his ‘experience [of] human greed, seeing the weakest generate the wealth of the strongest, with human misery as their unique compensation’.

The muted tones and textures of the ‘Living on the Edge’ series are apt to describe the subject matter; the Dandora rubbish dump and township of Korogocho (meaning ‘crowded, shoulder to shoulder’), which lies on the outskirts of Nairobi. The dump is one of the largest in Africa and a source of meagre income for thousands of people, some of whom are the subjects of Macilau’s portraits. Recyclable materials are gathered and washed in the now heavily polluted nearby river, and sold through middlemen to companies who send large collection trucks to Dandora at the end of each day. The burned and untreated waste poses a serious health risk to those living and working in the area, and the sheer volume of garbage (at least 2000 tonnes added per day) is an ecological crisis. These social imbalances and their environmental impacts form the basis for Macilau’s critique of neo-colonisation, defined as the process by which “foreign capital is used for the exploitation rather than for the development of the less developed parts of the world. Investment, under neo-colonialism, increases, rather than decreases, the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world” (Kwame Nkrumah, Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism, 1965).

‘Outside Town’ is an ongoing series of black and white photographs that documents aspects of daily life in the rural communities of Burundi and Mozambique. Macilau’s imagery points particularly at the way in which economic development in Africa has been configured to incur wastage of natural and human resources, through the ever-increasing drain of human and financial capital out of agricultural regions into already overcrowded, congested and polluted urban centres.

While the subject matter of Macilau’s work is not new to the medium of African documentary photography, his (usually long term) projects are steeped in his own personal narrative. Growing up during the civil war in newly independent Mozambique, Macilau suffered financial difficulties and, like many others, was forced to move to the capital, Maputo. There, from the age of ten he worked at a market, carrying groceries and washing cars in an effort to support his family. In 2007, he stole and traded his mother’s cellphone for his first camera – his first solo exhibition followed in 2009. Macilau considers the subjects of his photographs to be the ‘ghosts of society’, a group of outsiders he felt he belonged to while working on the streets of Maputo. According to Macilau, he too ‘would have disappeared in the city if photography had not intruded’.

25 September 2014 - 25 October 2014

Kerry Chaloner at blank projects

It is 2014 and 20 years of Democracy. There is a lot of information and it is easy for things to become complicated and it is easy to get distracted.
I relocate my studio from the inner city to Paarden Eiland because the rent is cheap. I used to walk through Greenmarket Square into Adderley Street, past Studio 47 House of Fashion Fabrics; 5-Rand Store Traders Welcome; The Gold Man Sell Your Gold For Cash; Eastern Food Bazaar. I would open the studio doors and the noise of the city sustained me over my iPod. Now I take the bus from my Kloof Nek flat to this odd putty-coloured building. It has a canted view of shipping containers and the dolosse and the flat ocean. In the early evening the horizon slips from austere greys into ridiculously gorgeous polluted sunsets. First I feel awkward looking at them because it's too romantic but I get over that.
Every day I take the bus and watch people watching their devices. I feel stupid when the gatsby shop downstairs doesn't sell rye bread. I start eating white bread again. BP is drilling downwind from the studio and the fumes make everything high-altitude. I am listening to everything from Rihanna to Rachmaninov. The air is rare and cold. There is no Deluxe Coffee. There is no ornament. There is no excess anywhere except of industry and the waste detritus of industry lying in the streets. I am unsure why I am here.
It is lonely and I make excessive, opulent, hypercolour works to compensate. I have a lot of Big Ideas. The Big Ideas take up a lot of my energy and time and one by one they become boring and they slip away. The paintings I am making now are avatars and they slip between the digital and IRL. But they make me feel more lonely and more stupid. One day I buy some sulphur powder from a pharmacy and I put an unremarkable raw canvas on the floor and I mash it into the surface.

It feels pure and innocuous to the point where I forget about it until it is pointed out to me. It feels dangerous. I like this. I also know it is a trick and a trap of minimalism, but it is okay for now.

I try not to buckle under the weight of Abstract Painting, here, in 2014. I try not to buckle under Surface and Depth and Concepts and Relevance. I stop thinking and rabidly researching and trying, and I play around with new and familiar materials, and I fail a lot. Only things that slip fluidly between something and something else appeal to me now. I am looking for a quality of non-ness.
Sometimes I go on walks to nowhere through this industrial zone that is like The Zone in Tarkovsky's Stalker, but that is also too romantic. Instead of researching I think about what I knew 20 years ago. I think of the time before that. I think about armed guards under the Merry Xmas lights of Mugabe's compound. I remember the mud and melting snow in Ladysmith. I think about the skinned knees of the other children; the red and violet stains of Mercurochrome and Gentian Violet running into dusty school-socks. I think about learning how to make gunpowder and the alarms of the terrorist drills and not understanding and crawling under our desks. I think about the ash from the next-door hospital incinerators blowing onto our sports day doughnuts. I think about things sitting under the surface of other things. I make attempts and tests to make things from the little I think I know at the moment.

14 August 2014 - 13 September 2014