Archive: Issue No. 80, April 2004

Go to the current edition for SA art News, Reviews & Listings.
EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB EDITIONS FOR ARTTHROB    |    5 Years of Artthrob    |    About    |    Contact    |    Archive    |    Subscribe    |    SEARCH   


01.04.04 HIV(E) at Franchise
01.04.04 Ranjith Kally at the Goodman Gallery
01.04.04 Camera Clubs of Johannesburg and Soweto at Bensusan
01.04.04 Nigel Mullins at ABSA
01.04.04 'Show us what you're made of' (Part Two) at The Premises
01.04.04 Pascual Tarazone at Artspace
01.04.04 'For the record/ Off the record' at Gordart
01.04.04 Thea Soggott at Gallery Momo
01.04.04 Doris Bloom at Johannesburg Art Gallery
01.04.04 'Voice-overs' at Standard Bank Gallery
01.04.04 Wendy Anziska at Zuva Gallery
01.04.04 Sean O'Toole at PhotoZA
01.04.04 Ken Oosterbroek at PhotoZA
01.04.04 Marinovic and Silva at PhotoZA
01.04.04 Photographic Workshops at PhotoZA
03.03.04 Joanne Bloch at JAG
03.03.04 Deborah Bell at Goodman Gallery


01.04.04 Janine Lewis at the Rostrum Theatre
01.04.04 'Sted/ Place' at Pretoria Art Museum
01.04.04 Thornton, Booyens, Blom and others at Secret Gallery


HIV(E) at Franchise

PULSE, the artist run initiative founded by Durban based visual artist Greg Streak in 2000, is linked to RAIN, an international network of artist run initiatives. The PULSE project for 2004 is titled HIV(E). The word hive has as one of its definitions, to separate off from a larger industry, creativity and the sweetening of collective efforts. Of course, contained in the word HIVE is the acronym HIV or human immunodeficiency virus that causes Aids.

Streak was interested in producing a project that looked to engage the issue of social conscience coupled with artistic integrity in a way that both are adequately addressed and inter-related. The project does not engage AIDS per se, but rather acts as a metaphor for nurturing and giving - a counter-foil to the art worlds appetite for wanting and taking.

In reality the project manifests itself in direct functional contributions to 'Gozololo' an HIV/AIDS centre for children in Kwamashu, a township north-east of Durban. The artists' interventions at Gozololo both facilitate directly the upliftment of the centre and/or the children, as well as carrying the idiosyncratic stamp of the artists themselves. Sofia Garcia Vieyra (Argentina), Jose Ferreira (UK/ SA), Jena McCarthy (South Africa), Paul Edmunds (South Africa), Ade Darmawan (Indonesia) and Greg Streak (South Africa) are the contributing artists who worked to realise the various contributions. The interventions at Gozololo are complimented by equivalent works for exhibition at franchise in April.

HIV(E) will be supplemented with a documentary film of the project and a publication that will reflect on the interventions made at Gozololo as well as the works made for the gallery context. The publication will also contain numerous essays relating to the project outline and contributors will engage some of the real issues surrounding the HIV / AIDS virus; this an attempt to provide people with an idea of the complexity of what is involved in the HIV/ Aids debate on a local as well as global level. A limited edition (30) portfolio of six lithographic prints will form part of the exhibition. These prints were produced during the project at Stepping Stone Printers, with master printmaker Greg Hayes.

Opens: April 7, at 6pm

Ranjith Kally

Ranjith Kally
Granny gives a bath, 1974
Gelatin Silver print

Ranjith Kally at the Goodman Gallery

"While rummaging through the wares at a jumble sale in Isipingo, I happened upon a small Kodak Postcard camera which I bought for six pence� I was consumed by my newly found interest in photography and spent almost all my free time pursuing the art form," Kally commented in an article in The Leader, February 1996.

He was 21 when he made this important purchase and one of the first pictures that he took with it is one of his most endearing images: it shows his mother draped in a lightly coloured sari, sifting through lentils on an old newspaper on the floor of their home. Born in 1925 in Isipingo, Durban, Kally worked in a shoe factory for 15 years before he could commence a lifetime career as a professional photographer.

During his employ at the shoe factory, Kally supplemented his income by photographing social events for The Leader newspaper on weekends. "I remember doing my first enlargement in a makeshift darkroom in Plowright Lane, not far from The Leader's offices in Pine Street, Durban. We got underway at 8pm and at 4am we were cursing as the sun began rising, jeopardising our print � In the early days we had to envisage a whole host of diverse criteria before pressing the shutter. But modern photography has taken the 'sting' out of photography...".

In 1952, Kally won third prize in an international competition held in Japan. He quit work at the shoe factory to join Golden City Post and Drum, with whom he worked from 1956-1965 and again from 1968-1985. It was in these years that Kally produced some of his most brilliant and insightful pictures working alongside the famous Drum bureau-chief for Durban, the late G.R. Naidoo.

These years saw him photograph the likes of Monty Naicker and former President Nelson Mandela at the Treason Trial, the mixed glamour couple of the fifties: Miriam Makeba and Sonny Pillay; Oliver Tambo in Lesotho; Alan Paton and Sushila Ghandi in a quiet moment together; Chief Albert Luthuli under house arrest and receiving news on winning the Nobel Peace Prize. He also managed to capture some of Durban's most notorious gangsters from the Crimson League and Salot gangs.

In 1967, Kally was selected for membership to the Royal Photographic Society, London. His work has been included in exhibitions such as 'In/sight: African Photographers, 1940 to the Present' (curated by Okwui Enwezor, Octavia Zaya et al. - Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1996), 'Margins to Mainstream: Lost South African Photographers' (shown at the Grahamstown Festival in 1994 and the Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham, England, 1995) and in numerous books and catalogues, including Sof'town Blues (1994), From Canefields to Freedom: A documentary on Indian South African Life (2000) and Fatima Meer's Portrait of Indian South Africans (1969), to name but a few.

While the exhibition features many of Kally's images of the fifties along with photos of that famous jazz club, the Goodwill Lounge in Grey Street, Durban, owned by the colourful "Pumpy" Naidoo, these are contrasted by the sensitive private black and white portraits of life in Tin Town, the Indian shanty town (formerly on the banks on the Umgeni River, Durban) and the spiritual calmness of early morning bathers along the river Ganges in Varnasi, India.

The two pictures selected for the Guggenheim show of 1996 that challenge the racial stereotypes of the fifties are also on show. The one depicts two older working class white men drinking in a Kato Manor shebeen while the other immortalises former stunt motorcycle rider Tommy Pillay and his wife, riding the "Wall of Death".

The exhibition looks at the highlights of Kally's work and spans a period of roughly 40 years. Kally has the uncanny ability of capturing people, famous or anonymous, in their most relaxed moments, making the photographer himself invisible, and in so doing is able to create very sensitive inner emotive portraits.

While Kally's works have been caught by the occasional international curator and included in the odd show, this will be his first solo exhibition in a career spanning 58 years. Kally was a neglected photographer denied exposure by living in the wrong place in the wrong era, and this exhibition seeks to redress that. Kally currently works as a freelance photographer in Durban, and will be 79 this year. The show was initiated and is curated by artist/ curator Riason Naidoo who has been working with Kally over the last six years.

Opens: April 22
Closes: May 12

Camera Clubs of Johannesburg and Soweto at Bensusan

'Truth, Light and Dreams' is an exhibition of work by amateur photographers from the camera clubs of Johannesburg and Soweto respectively.

Opens: March 7
Closes: April 25

Nigel Mullins at ABSA

Based in the Eastern Cape, this talented young Rhodes graduate received an Absa L'Atelier merit award in 2000, for a series of paintings depicting the cyclic nature of violence. He held another very well-received one-person show at the Grahamstown Arts Festival last year.

Opens: April 19
Closes: April 29

'Show us what you're made of' (Part Two) at The Premises

In the second and final instalment of this new gallery space's inaugural exhibition, the invited artists are: Ryan Arenson, Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Hindley, Nicholas Hlobo, Roelof van Wyk and Roy Weisz.

The Premises, a brand-new, purpose-built gallery on the Braamfontein Theatre Precinct, is the latest addition to the Johannesburg Civic Theatre complex and is strategically positioned on the Cultural Arc of Johannesburg. Artistically directed by artists' lab The Trinity Session, it will be focused on presenting a series of contemporary art, public, educational and developmental projects over the next three years, the objective being to develop and enhance audience experience of the visual arts and related activities.

The Premises and The Trinity Session aspire to create new interfaces between the reinvention of Johannesburg and the redefinition of its cultural facilities, and accessing those who use and enjoy local cultural assets.

Part Two picks up where Part One left off, demonstrating an engagement with broad critical interests that are embedded in social experience, but introducing a powerful relationship with the stuff of popular culture. Dealing with the politics of aesthetics and subject, the show contemplates the diversity of individual expression, and makes reference to the marketplace of art and new opportunities arising for artists in the changing cultural landscape of Johannesburg and beyond.

Ryan Arenson recently returned from an extended stay in Paris, and is currently developing a major body of work. For this exhibition, he shows Angry White Man, influenced by 19th century engravings, particularly the work of Gustav Doré. Arenson elevates the engravings into a one-off painting, enlarging and crafting the mark into a painterly equivalent. This work was produced while Arenson was living on the Ile St Louis in Paris.

Rebecca Griffiths who graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Wits in 2003, shows a series of plywood sculptures, hybrid monsters created from skeletal shapes and forms. Her oversized 'puzzles' evoke intrigue as they sit on the boundary between childhood fantasy and an adult, urban reality. Her 'monsters' entice and reveal fanciful imaginings that explore the unnerving experience of city life.

Roy Weisz is a copywriter who makes his artistic debut with this first public showing of his work. For years he produced "retro-perspective" collages, the source material of which ranges from retro dress patterns to 50s and 60s Africana, magazines and photo-stories. Aliens and natives, whether animal, vegetable or mineral, urban or rural, vie for supremacy in a B-grade mondo exotica that challenges postmodern worldviews, contemporary reality, etiquette, political correctness and glamour. His multi-unit wall piece is an irreverent revisionist history of life in the tropics.

Matthew Hindley is most well known for electronically-based works that use surprisingly lo-tech means to achieve spectacular results. For this show, Hindley reverts to his first love - drawing. Inspired by local tabloid media like You magazine, Hindley employs an edgy, cartoonish style to interpret stories of violence and horror in a consumable way.

Roelof van Wyk subscribed to Cosmopolitan and Huisgenoot magazines in 1983, as an 11 year old boy, in the godforsaken little town of Kinross, Mpumalanga. These magazines shaped his vision of the world, resulting in a strangely twisted sense of what's modern, popular and fashionable. A degree in architecture and a day job in media and marketing honed an eye and a visual sensibility that has now matured sufficiently to be exposed to the public eye. In this exhibition, Van Wyk shows photographs that tend 'towards an architectural language', blurring the boundaries between art and architecture, form and function, construction and deconstruction.

Nicholas Hlobo, a young Johannesburg-based artist, is outspoken about his identity as a black, gay, Xhosa male. Listed in Art South Africa as one of the local art scene's "bright young things", Hlobo states: "My works are an attempt to explore issues of masculinity, sexuality and ethnicity. In my attempts I challenge certain Xhosa conventions and ideas of manhood or masculinity. In these works I explore those ideas of Xhosa initiation into manhood, focusing on non-traditional initiation.

Opens: 5pm, April 3
Closes: April 24


Pascual Tarazona

Pascual Tarazona
La Roca Rosa
Mixed media on canvas

Pascual Tarazona at Artspace

After three years in Spain, travelling the length of the country and holding four exhibitions, Pascual has returned to South Africa where he previously worked for 25 years.

Air, light and space now inspire his work. From the Limpopo valley in Botswana where the wild fig trees look like reigning gods and, after the passing of the elephants, resemble giants after battle, to the cathedral-like baobabs, their meaty and robust bark reminiscent of the Rubens women. His work is infused with colour: splashes of lemon green: the thorny fever tree; intense fuschia pink sunsets; profound blue, fading to pale turquoise; oceans washing over white sand; deep dark grey with patches of ochre lined with the whiteness of bones; majestic rocks. Tangible experience of the air, light and colour of Africa has produced 'Las Regiones del Airé'.

Opens: 5.30pm, March 27
Closes: April 8

'For the record/ Off the record' at Gordart

This is a large group show of artists from all over South Africa who are working with/ on LP records. The works take the form of sculptures, paintings, embroidery, prints and more. In addition, there will be a number of music-based events around the exhibition, including a jive evening with Nina Romm, a Tom Waites evening with music and film, and a selection of diverse performers at the opening.

Opens: 2pm, April 3
Closes: May 2

Thea Soggott at Gallery Momo

In a thought-provoking exhibition, Thea Soggott shows virtuosity in her use of earth and water as a medium to present and interpret the many faces of Eve. One of South Africa's leading artists, Soggott exhibits too seldom for those who collect her paintings, so this solo exhibition will be a thrilling experience for those who have followed her career, and a rare journey for those who will have the opportunity to view it for the first time.

Opens: April 22
Closes: May 17

Peter Schutz

Peter Schutz
The Maverick, 2004
Wood, paint, stones

'Voice-overs' and designer hats at Standard Bank Gallery

'Voice-overs', curated by Wits voices Anitra Nettleton, Karel Nel, Julia Charlton and Fiona Rankin-Smith, is a national touring exhibition of exceptional pieces chosen from the Standard Bank Collection of African Art at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries. This internationally acclaimed collection of art from western, central and southern Africa includes magnificent pieces in a wide range of media and techniques from the classical through to the contemporary.

The exhibition comprises about 120 items, including works by Jackson Hlungwane's, Sam Nhlengethwa's renowned commentary on the death of Steve Biko and rare southern African beadwork panels dating from the 19th century. The items were chosen by over 50 specialists with strong connections to the university.

The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated book, celebrating the wealth of expertise that both resides at and emanates from Wits, alongside the rich diversity of the African artworks. Each selector has contributed a text about his or her choice, and these take the form of poems, short stories, artworks and narrative writing, as well as academic research.

Opens: 6pm, March 30, at 6pm
Closes: April 30

Wendy Anziska at Zuva Gallery

Michael Obert, owner of Zuva Gallery, describes Wendy Anziska as "the gallery's biggest artist to date". This is Anziska's first one-person exhibition in South Africa in nearly a decade, after acclaimed shows in Bonn, London and Paris.

Opens: April 22
Closes: May 9

Sean O'Toole at PhotoZA

Sean O'Toole, editor in chief of Artthrob, will speak on critical writing at PhotoZA. The session will be more of a dialogue session than a public lecture. Hosted in conjunction with Jo Ractliffe, the talk will look at the issue of language and discourse as it applies to contemporary photography. From here the talk will move along to look at particular and topical issues related to contemporary South African photography, including the 'apparent' stand-off between tradition and modernity, as well as the ideologies underpinning the markerplace.

Sean O'Toole is an independent journalist and editor based in Johannesburg. He has written for a wide range of titles, including the Mail & Guardian, ThisDay, Sunday Times, Colors, Dazed & Confused, Blueprint and BBC Focus on Africa. He has worked on numerous assignments with a list of established and emerging photographers, including Nadav Kander, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Dave Southwood, Patricia Driscol, Pieter Hugo and Marc Shoul. In 2001/ 2, he was a contributing editor to the specialist photography title Exit (UK), which was twice awarded best use of photography by a retail magazine.

Date: 6.30pm, April 20

Ken Oosterbroek at PhotoZA One

This exhibition comprises politically violent photographs taken by the late member of the 'Bang-Bang Club', Ken Oosterbroek. His images of internecine township violence offer a portrait of the fraught recent history out of which this country has emerged. Tragically, Oosterbroek was killed in the early 1990s while on assignment.

Opens: April 13
Closes: April 30

Marinovic and Silva at PhotoZA Two

Two surviving members of the 'Bang-Bang Club', Greg Marinovic and Joao Silva, show the work they produced while documenting the violence in South Africa in the pre- and post-apartheid faction fighting. Greg Marinovic's exhibition is entitled 'Almost Seen', and Joao Silva's 'Amajita'.

Opens: April 6
Closes: April 30

Photographic Workshops at PhotoZA

'Lighting for digital photography' and 'Painting with light' will be the topics of two workshops at PhotoZA this month.

6.30pm, April 7 and April 28 respectively

Joanne Bloch at JAG

'Thingerotomy' is the title of Joanne Bloch's solo exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

At the heart of Bloch's work lies an enduring interest in this world of trashy ephemera. Commenting on her show, Bloch writes: "I have been a collector all my life. In my early twenties, I became obsessed with the endless array of cheap, mass-produced artefacts that surrounds us - tiny toys from lucky packets, Christmas crackers, key rings and egg machines. I began to collect them, and have never stopped."

'Thingerotomy' evokes an imaginary surgical procedure that cuts open and lays bare the world of ephemera, with the intention of both commenting on it as well as reconfiguring a new, personalised order. Collecting and reconfiguring objects is a contradictory act. It's possible to treasure the collected objects for what they are, as well as to see them as emblematic of a wasteful and decadent world.

"Much of my work is concerned with the excesses inherent to global capitalist culture," explains Bloch. "I see this work as an ongoing and solution - less interrogation into my own position in the face of this extravaganza of excess, that co-exists so easily with the other side of the global coin -- massive deprivation and want."

Opens: March 16, at 6pm
Closes: April 5

Deborah Bell

Deborah Bell
Sentinels, 2003
Corobrick fire light or topaz clay and cement
260cm x variable dimensions

Deborah Bell at Goodman Gallery

Deborah Bell returns to the Goodman after a hiatus of three years.

Bell is an artist whose work is "shot through with disturbing evocations of sexuality gone awry, or of social injustice read through the metaphor of out-of-control passion." Her eclectic approach to her craft reflects Bell's openness to many different styles as sources of inspiration. The impact of Japanese art on her pottery is just one of these influences.

Writing in the 1999 Standard Bank National Arts Festival Souvenir Programme, it was also observed how Bell has added new life and local flavor to the ideas of earlier European artists whose work was considered radical in their day. In her remaking of William Hogarth's Marriage-a-la-Mode, for instance, Bell turned this now classic series into a biting critique of the loose manners of the White middle class in Johannesburg's northern suburbs. If Kentridge immediately springs to mind, you're not far wrong. Indeed, Bell has previously collaborated with fellow South Africans Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge on exhibitions of print series, which rework images by Hogarth and Alfred Jarry.

Although details were not available at the time of going to print, this exhibition promises to be a worthwhile one and comes recommended.

Opens: March 20
Closes: April 17



Janine Lewis

Janine Lewis
Inside (Looking In) (still)
Liminal performance

Janine Lewis at the Rostrum Theatre

'Inside [Looking In]' is a performance and installation, directed and devised by Janine Lewis, with original video montage by Chris Taute. Produced by the Drama Department of Tshwane University of Technology (formerly the Technikon Pretoria), it comprises a selection of various prose excerpts compiled and ordered to create an eccentric tale which aims to relate a riddle rather than a narrative. The production's stated goal is "to affect the audience viscerally and proceed from instinctive rather than intellectual stimulation". This production presents a performer working with the interpretation of choreographical instructions, continuously creating through interaction with technology and the audience.

Closes: April 2

'Sted//Place' at Pretoria Art Museum

Curated by South African-born Danish resident artist Doris Bloom, 'Place' documents the meeting of four Danish artists - Claus Carstensen, Torben Christensen, Marco Evaristti and Doris Bloom - and three South African artists - Willem Boshoff, Kendell Geers and Karel Nel.

This artistic encounter explores the nature of memory from a cross-cultural perspective and interprets this through through layers of experience. 'Place' is not necessarily visualised exclusively within geographic confines and its dimensions are governed by displacements of memory.

Opens: March 27
Closes: May 1

Thornton, Booyens, Blom and others at Secret Gallery

An exhibition of work by Bevan Thornton, Jacques van der Merwe, Johan Thom, Liam Lynch, M. J. Lourens, Roan Hendrikz, Jan-Henri Booyens, Rossouw van der Walt, Zander Blom and Lionel Smit. Booyens is an exciting new talent on the scene who recently participated in the Young Artists Programme, at Durban's NSA Gallery.

Opens: 7pm, March 25
Closes: April 8