The deposit boxes, on the
invitation to the show

Gerhard Marx
The Thumping Quickens
Painted jelutong, light box
Dimensions variable

Janni Donald
Friction and swing
47 x 120 x 120cm

'Deposits' at the Idasa Gallery

In the basement of the Idasa Gallery in Spin Street is a unit of strong boxes, a relic of the building's institutional past. At the opening of 'Deposits' on September 25, the locked boxes were opened to reveal artworks inside, commissioned by curator Julia Teale from 35 established and emergent artists. Businesses and individuals had been asked to "buy" a box at R2 000 each, contents unseen, in aid of an outreach programme to introduce an arts component into government schools, very few of which include art as a subject on the curriculum.

Contributors include Penny Siopis, Malcolm Payne, Mustapha Maluka, Claudette Schreuders, Randolph Hartzenberg and Clive van den Berg. Gerhard Marx questions constructs of masculinity with his painted wooden sculpture of a boxer in fighting stance. On the wall behind, an accompanying light box throws strange shadows. Deposit Box, by Sue Williamson, is a lockable perspex box with four compartments. On four dates over the next year, the artist will "deposit" visual paraphernalia relating to other art projects into each compartment. Metal sculptor Brendhan Dickerson submitted a singular solid silver whale pulled by a small ferry, a piece which in particular prompted the thought that many pieces proved to be an excellent bargain for their purchasers.

The contents of the boxes will be on display at the gallery until October 25.




Joseph Beuys
Untitled 1985

Joseph Beuys
Table with Aggregate 1958-85

Joseph Beuys
Samurai Sword

Joseph Beuys at the SANG

Reviewed for ArtThrob by Paul Edmunds

Beuys himself might have agreed that visiting this exhibition is a little like explaining paintings to a dead hare - it could seem futile or sad, but also gives rise to complex and provocative feelings. It is difficult to know where one's previous knowledge of the artist ends and one's immediate response to the work takes over. It takes time and demands participation. The show consists of drawings from the Forties, Fifties and Sixties as well as objects and prints of the same period and later.

The drawings are mostly pencil, some with paint, on paper. The lines appear sketchy and unsure, but this belies their delicacy and the intuitive sense of design with which they were made. The line seems almost to obscure images that want to emerge and which appear like frail psychic transmissions. The sketch-like quality of the drawings and their refusal to declare themselves is always underscored by an irrepressible sense of conviction. Beuys considered these works extremely important in his development. They come across like extrusions from an ongoing journey, relating to something particular and adding up to something broad and pervasive. Images of machines, swans, cells and stags recur and illustrate the evolution of Beuys's vocabulary - personal, mythological, scientific and traditional.

The objects on show, many props from actions during and after the Fluxus period, relate to the drawings in a developmental way. Interestingly, they reveal Beuys's ironic seeming relation to minimalism and other artmaking of the Sixties and Seventies. The saturation of these objects with meaning and significance highlights the self-reference and learnt-by-rote repetition of many of his contemporaries; Beuys's repetition of form and image accumulated in a body of meaning and it can seem unfitting that many of his devices, elements and materials were also adopted by artists less concerned with social engagement than he.

Beuys's trademark materials, like fat, felt or beeswax, embody and represent principles and degrees of organisation - from the amorphous structure of molten wax to the crystalline matrix of a beehive, from regimented arrangements of animal hair to its random compression into felt. This was a central theme in Beuys's work and is explored here in Samurai Sword. This consists of a broken steel blade rolled into a felt wrap. A Samurai blade was a highly crafted artifact forged from repeatedly folded steel. It represents also a highly refined Eastern cultural phenomenon and civilisation. The felt, a traditionally European material, is by contrast disordered, earthy and insulating. The juxtaposition of these disparate elements suggests a reconciliation between apparent opposites. The lack of distinction between the material nature, social origin and analogous possibilities of his objects is a key to understanding Beuys.

The works on the show are very provocative when seen with some knowledge of Beuys. Without, they can be obscure and inaccessible. But the relevance of the show lies in Beuys's expanded definition of art and the artist. Creativity or "art" is seen to permeate all aspects of society and reality, from artifacts and materials to politics and processes. It is this broad notion of artmaking that presents itself, and it is one, Beuys believed, which could give birth to true democracy.



Sue Williamson
'Truth Games' series

Sue Williamson at João Ferreira Fine Art

By Paul Edmunds

Sue Williamson presents a series of interactive works entitled 'Truth Games' at João Ferreira Fine Art. The works are composed of images lifted from media sources which pertain to recent cases investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Each work comprises an image of perpetrator, victim and the alleged violation. A horizontal grid is layed over the composition, and into this is inserted a series of moveable panels inscribed with quotes from the relevant hearing. The viewer is invited to participate by sliding the panels, thereby altering and questioning the events and their telling. Richly coloured and subtly composed, the works reflect on reconciliation, shifting truths, uncertainty and subjectivities. Opens October 18. The gallery can be e-mailed at



Marco Cianfanelli
Untitled 1998
Branded impala hide
21 x 21cm

Marco Cianfanelli
Heaving and Surging 1998
Still from video

Marco Cianfanelli at the Mark Coetzee Fine Art Cabinet

There are images of faces and circles and objects burnt and (it seems) scarified onto indigenous animal skins. There are photographic images of a heaving blue sea. That is in the smaller space at the Mark Coetzee. Viewers may enter. In the larger space, a carpet of sea sand moulded flawlessly into a repeated design may be viewed through the window. It's Marco Cianfanelli's first solo show in Cape Town. The title is 'Atlantis' and "draws a parallel between the myth of Atlantis, its existence and loss, and the idealised image of Cape Town as an 'international' city of leisure and sensory beauty". Through engaging cross-currents of techniques and images that are simultaneously age-old and hi-tech, Cianfanelli attempts to come to grips with the tricky issue of cultural identity. Until October 31.



Roelof Louw
'Made for USA' series
Shaped and painted
canvas on board

Roelof Louw at the Hänel

Roelof Louw is not a name well known in South African art circles, yet in his years in England he was senior lecturer in sculpture at St Martin's School of Art in London, and his work is in the Tate collection. For his show 'Made for USA', Louw has made a series of pieces based on the American flag. Variations on this flag, of course, bring to mind that contemporary American master, Jasper Johns, a reference point acknowledged by and important to Louw. But Louw adopts a sculptor's approach, shaping the basic rectangle into a series of sculptural wall pieces which comment on aspects of American military and cultural imperialism. The flag, hung around the gallery, morphs itself into a series of colour mutations, sometimes gilded, sometimes smeared with mud or blood, sagging down the wall, taking on the shape of what might be an eagle's wing - or a gun - or the appearance of the crunched-in metal of a smashed car. Opens October 4.



Lee Ping Zing and Joyce Ntobe
at Greenmarket Square

Fashion show launches Beezy's Art Factory

The supermodels heading down the street-ramp at the fashion show to mark the public launch of Beezy Bailey's Art Factory will be none other than those Bailey alter-egos, Joyce Ntobe and Lee Ping Zing. Bailey's Art Factory opened its doors for business last month - in the gallery section there are ceramics, prints and mixed media work, and 10 Beezy-designed fabrics have been printed on the metre and turned into fashion and homewares. The fashion show is on October 16 at 6pm at the Factory, 10 Buiten Street, Cape Town (opposite the Long Street Café).



Detail from a painting
by Jane Henderson

'The Gnome Show' and Jane Henderson at the AVA

If the thought of garden gnomes makes you feel nauseous, the current show in the main gallery at the AVA could be an exorcism. The lecturers from the art department of the Cape Technikon give you their lighthearted/ fiendish/scurrilous take on the subject.

In a different vein entirely, upstairs on the ArtStrip, Jane Henderson is showing recent paintings and drawings, including work submitted for her MFA degree at the Michaelis School of Fine Art. The strangely pathetic yet brave little figures which populate much of Henderson's work seem a mutation of human pain and stuffed toy, a strong visual metaphor to convey emotions and experiences not easily expressed.

Both shows run until October 17.



Mandla Vanyaza
Khayelitsha Shop
Enamel paint and photographs

Mandla Vanyaza at the Lipschitz Gallery

"My work is … a reflection of my everyday experience. To do it is an experiment in life itself, as I find that nothing is the same as I did the day before. The enamel works are scenes I know, done with medium I grew up seeing in township advertisements in hair cutting salons, shops and in interiors of houses," says Mandla Vanyaza. The artist is at his best when he keeps his work simple with large areas of strong colour. Collaged photographic references add immediacy. Too often, however, Vanyaza's cluttered compositions deteriorate into the pictorial. Until October 17.



Jackson Hlungwane
Throne c.1980


'Private Collections' at the Goodman Gallery

For the month of October, the Goodman Gallery will be showing selected works from private collections, including works by Goodman stalwarts like William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins and Kendell Geers, overseas stars like Jim Dine and Frank Stella, those artists who are no longer with us, like Dumile Feni and Walter Battiss, and many others. Until October 24.



'Taking Pictures' at the Gertrude Posel Gallery, Wits

This show celebrates the relatively unexplored art form of handcoloured photographic portraits. The curators, Karen Harber and Ruth Sack, travelled around the country with photographers Angie Buckland, Mark Lewis and Greg Marinovich in search of such pictures. The owners were photographed alongside their family portraits of various ages. During this research and documentation many of the subjects shared personal histories and memories which are woven into the exhibition, providing a fascinating glimpse into an aspect of social and cultural history rarely explored before.


A retro radio enthusiast
tuning a crystal radio
built in a cigar box

Roger van Wyk at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery

By Paul Edmunds

As its premise, Roger van Wyk's 'transmission' takes the idea of how technologies increasingly define and influence our identities, at the same time as there is an increased curiosity abut spiritual and metaphysical forms of communication. The exhibition, which will be developed in situ, consists of a number of interactive displays and exhibits which demonstrate the transmission of light, sound, information or energy. Technologies such as radio and video are juxtaposed with apparatuses and techniques of psychic transmission. Such juxtapositions aim to arouse awareness of and curiosity about principles of nature. Attempting to grasp such principles is presented here as ultimately an attempt to understand ourselves. Possible participants include a psychic medium and several crystal radio enthusiasts. Opens October 25.



Mixed media piece
on the Dasart show

'Dasart Draws the Line' at Gallery 111

'Dasart Draws the Line' is an exhibition of works on paper created either in their own right or as studies for larger works. The Dasart group is represented here by Ashley Johnson and Michael Matthews, who have been working together since 1990. The work on show is figurative and emotive, with freestanding 3-D works in homemade paper and cardboard, a sculpture made out of cooked grass, large wire mesh wall hangings, a motorised erotic piece, conventional framed drawings, large collage pieces and digital moving pictures culled from a telephone directory. Gallery 111 is at 111 Kimberley Street, Bez Valley, and the exhibition runs until October 17. You can also visit the Dasart website.



Wayne Barker and Ian Waldeck at the Millennium Gallery

Ian Waldeck's 'Body Composition' takes as its subject body activity, the corporeal body and personal clothing and effects. In one work Waldeck has taken all the chemical elements to be found in a human body and measured and weighed them out in bottles. This work reduces the human body to its most basic form lacking any psychic, relational and relational content. Other works by Waldeck include a series of canvases that were exposed to activities, substances and processes characteristic of a number of places which the artist chose. As such they record these activities, both obscuring and revealing the intention of these actions. 'Body Composition' and Wayne Barker's 'All Washed Up in Pretoria' both open on October 4 and run until October 23.



Azaria Mbatha at the Durban Art Gallery

South African-born, Swedish-based printmaker Azaria Mbatha is sticky about copyright, so we can't show you a picture of his elegantly delineated linocuts which explore cultural and religious themes. But the man is a master of the black and white image, and deserves his international reputation.



An interior view of the NSA

Stepping Stone Press and 'Lines in Space' at the NSA

Greg Hayes of Stepping Stone Press presents lithographs produced in his printmaking studios by such artists as Tito Zungu, Andries Botha, Bronwen Findlay, Stembiso Sibisi, José Ferreira, Greg Streak, Douglas Goode and Deryck Healey. Until October 15.

The language of the built urban environment is explored in an exhibition of work by artists and architects timed to coincide with the international conference of architects, Archafrica, over at the Durban International Convention Centre. In the Main Gallery.

Upstairs, in the Mezzanine Gallery, Lene Templehoff and Brendon Bussy present 'Lines in Space', drawings and sculptures. Both shows open October 18.



Carol Lynne Duveen at the Durban Centre for Photography

Duveen's installation involves 20 cloth panels hung on a handmade washing line, each with photographic images which have been embroidered over. Text has been added. In the centre of the room is a bed with a quilt of crocheted-together X-ray plates, and a lamp with a shade fabricated from paper accounts.

Five separate but interrelated themes deal with the personal and the universal. Opening on October 18.

... ZA@PLAY   MWeb

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