"Have we really arrived as a nation and as artists," asks Kwezi Gule, "or are we just basking in the sunlight of newly found democracy which will become old news tomorrow and find South African art marginalized again?"
The very last words printed in the new YAP catalogue, available from Durban's NSA Gallery, Gule's question is open-ended. It asks us to do the rest, arrive at an answer. Thuthu Lesuthu (not her real name) has, which she shares in a thought provoking review of Michelle Booth's photographic exhibition interrogating whiteness. Zachary Yorke, meanwhile, poses his own set of questions. In an astute critique of a recent ArtThrob editorial he interrogates the semantic capabilities and limitations of words, hoping in the process to open the door to future debate.
We have four new staff members. Gabi Ngcobo joins us as our KZN Editor, Robyn Sassen is our new Gauteng Editor, Kim Gurney takes up the task of Western Cape Editor and Kresta Tyler Johnson assumes a new role, News Editor. Paul Edmunds is still with us, but in a back-office capacity, as Senior Copy Editor. Virginia MacKenny, our longstanding KZN Editor has, however, retired her position due to a new teaching job at Michaelis, in Cape Town. Good luck Virginia, and thank you.
Next update: May 3 (Please note: ArtThrob has reverted to a monthly format.)
The highlight of this month must surely be 'Staged Realities', at Michael Stevenson, a group show featuring studio photographs by figures as diverse as Samuel Fosso, of Cameroon, and David Goldblatt. Also on view: Stephen Inggs shows large-scale photographic prints at João Ferreira; Varenka Paschke explores the balance between nature and technology, also at João Ferreira; Lien Botha and Italian artist and photographer Mariella Poli show a collaborative work at the AVA; Henri Roberts presents images from his first comic book, at Bell Roberts; and Hanneke Benade is at the Chelsea on 34 in Darling.
Timing is what it is all about at the Goodman Gallery this month, with photographer Ranjith Kally exhibiting over 40 years worth of work. Also on view: The Premises gallery presents the second instalment to their inaugural show, with works by Ryan Arenson, Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Hindley, Nicholas Hlobo, Roelof van Wyk and Roy Weisz; Pascual Tarazona is at Artspace; Gordart host a large group show featuring artists working with or on LP records; Thea Soggott is at Gallery Momo; Greg Streak's HIV(E) project comes to 44 Stanley Avenue's Franchise Gallery.
David Lloyd casts a sharply graphic, and often witty, eye on the goings on of the city, at artSPACEdurban; Andrew Nhlangwini uses symbolic representation to breathe new life into an often told story, at the NSA Gallery; and Carol Brown, curator of the Durban Art Gallery, presents 'Ties that Bind', an exhibition focusing on the family.
Claudette Schreuders shows prints and sculptures at Arizona State University Art Museum; KwaZulu Natal's sugarcane workers are the subject of Zwelethu Mthethwa's solo show at Jack Shainman's New York space; Robin Rhode is in Moscow and Prague; Candice Breitz meanwhile is at South Brisbane's Queensland Art Gallery, as well as Linz in Austria; William Kentridge is given an extended run at the New Museum; while in nearby Rhode Island, OBRA Architects showcase they work they did on Pretoria's Freedom Park.
Lot's to digest: What is paradise? Leading South African and Swiss artists expressed their personal visions in an exhibition at João Ferreira Gallery; Swiss curator Karin Frei leaves Andrew Lamprecht more than a little disappointed by her exhibition; New York Times art critic Holland Cotter offers a useful summary of 'City & Country', a recent exhibition of South African photography in New York; Bronwyn Law-Viljoen gets to grips with Zwelethu Mthethwa's New York show, 'Lines of Negotiation'; Kim Gurney reviews two photographic exhibitions in Cape Town that saw the issue of borders through different lenses; Sean O'Toole eschews the usual gallery review as he attempts to understand Claudette Schreuders's recent work; he also recounts how the chameleon-like talent of Peet Pienaar recently stunned Design Indaba 7 delegates; Virginia MacKenny offers an overview of recent and current exhibitions in Durban; and Robyn Sassen is delighted with the potential of The Premises Gallery to redress art marketing locally.
Democracy in Focus:
In April, South Africans will celebrate the tenth anniversary of their democracy - and also vote. Khwezi Gule considers the totality of this context and calls on artists to interrupt things; Thuthu Lesuthu, meanwhile, offers a black perspective on the brouhaha surrounding Michelle Booth's photographic exhibition interrogating whiteness; and Zachary Yorke scrutinises a recent ArtThrob editorial, probing its semantic capabilities and limitations. Lastly, and in the spirit of reflection, Sean O'Toole reviews the burgeoning visual artefacts that have grown up around the figure of Nelson Mandela and also offers an insight into the new Constitutional Court, as narrated by its chief artistic patron, Justice Albie Sachs.
Graeme Williams of SOUTH Photographs has created a new forum for the exchange of ideas regarding contemporary photography in South Africa; TAXI Art Books and David Krut Publishing are launching their tenth book on the artist Deborah Bell, who also celebrates a solo show at Goodman Gallery; talented artist Surprise Khosa, a severely disabled university student, has suddenly found his bursary from Eskom frozen as a result of no fault of his own; the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) is celebrating its 10th anniversary; and Ralph Borland is hosting a three day introductory workshop to physical computing.
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.
Warren Siebrits discusses a print by John Muafangejo, An interview of Cape Town University in 1971.
Sue Williamson's personal notebook.
Tracy Lindner Gander challenges stereotyped assumptions of photographic practice in South Africa. An emerging artist based in Cape Town, she has variously employed artifice, blur and darkness to communicate her point. For those looking to discern suggestive hints of a newer mode of photographic practice in South Africa, look no further.
Carine Zaayman discusses why Scott McCloud's Morning Improv is one of her favourite websites.
The internet is a radical space, writes Carine Zaayman, because it provides a platform for projects that cannot be contained within the spatial-temporal restrictions of traditional media. She highlights four examples to buttress her thesis.
A section devoted to calls for submissions and proposals; jobs; invitations to participate; studios to let; art auctions and charity benefits - and more.
A reader takes issue with recent events at the Spier Outdoor Biennale.
Send us your commentary on this issue.
Penny Siopis is the latest artist to join our Editions for ArtThrob programme. Her work 'Cultivate Love' was produced in collaboration with Randy Hemminghaus, master printer from New York's Galamander Press, and is a distillation of her most recent work, from her Shame series.
Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Hentie van der Merwe, and Tracey Rose.
Browse through past editions of ArtThrob.
Who writes for ArtThrob and other bits of relevant information.
Subscribe to our monthly email update.