Archive: Issue No. 79, March 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   


03.03.04 Gietl, Hibbert, Barker and Mabaso at Spaza Art
03.03.04 Rodney Place at Gallery Momo
03.03.04 Sinclair, Wilson and Djeri at PhotoZA
03.03.04 Nicolaas Maritz at Franchise
03.03.04 Robyn Orlin at JAG
03.03.04 'For the record' at Gordart
03.03.04 Joanne Bloch at JAG
03.03.04 Deborah Bell at Goodman Gallery
03.03.04 Deborah Bell's Taxi Art Book launch party
15.02.04 Two Eritrean artists at JAG
15.02.04 Morkel, Berman and Czech lithographs and etchings at Gordart
15.02.04 Sam Nhlengethwa at Goodman Gallery
15.02.04 Natalie Western at the Old Traffic Office
15.02.04 Barker, Buthelezi, Dietrich and Maswanganyi at Artspace
15.02.04 Looking at South Africa at Zuva Gallery
15.02.04 John Moore at Merely Mortal
15.02.04 Prints and Multiples 2 at Warren Siebrits
03.02.04 Big names at Gallery on the Square
06.01.04 Exploring the mutability of traditions, at the Standard Bank Gallery


03.03.04 Gallery of Contemporary Art in Graskop
03.03.04 Johan Thom at Outlet
03.02.04 Live sound sculpture at Pretoria Art Museum


Gietl, Hibbert, Barker and Mabaso at Spaza Art

'Works on paper' is the title of a group exhibition featuring works by Karl Gietl, Erika Hibbert, Wayne Barker, Dumisane Mabaso and others.

Commenting on Gietl's recent output, ArtThrob's Paul Edmunds said: "His [Gietl's] return to South Africa is marked by paintings whose humour are a little less coarse, and at times even romantic... Gietl is clearly having a lot of fun, it may not be your sort of fun, but there is an element of pathos, or perhaps identification with his subjects at work here. The things he manages to do with paint and painting may well piss you off as much as amuse you."

Barker remains a prolific mid-career artist. Based in Troyeville, he is currently also exhibiting on a show curated by Gordon Froud, at ArtSpace in Fairlands, and recently showed on a prominent group show in Cape Town, at Bell-Roberts. Last year he held a solo show at Art on Paper, and was featured in a retrospective show at Warren Siebrits.

The show will be opened by a short performance by the Whistlers of Art.

Opens: February 29, at 5pm

Rodney Place at Gallery Momo

As part of the March's Dance Umbrella programme, artist Rodney Place presents 'Infections of the Void'. Place has teamed-up with Ntsikelelo Boyzie Cekwana to focus on suburbia, its leisure and work habits, and the images that continue to shape it.

Originally performed in Austria and Poland, the work uses an alarm system set off by beams linked to recordings of incidental sound effects. More conceptually, the work bridges two post-territories � post-apartheid South Africa and post-communist central Europe.

"It explores, through two distinct but related photo/video/performance/sound/fashion works, the connections (and disconnections) between the security of a territory and the informing images of that territory - its habits and ideals, virtual and real bodies, video and live sequences and remixed and live sounds."

Closes: March 19

Jacqui Sinclair

Jacqui Sinclair
Invitation image

Sinclair, Wilson and Djeri at PhotoZA

Following the extended run of Michelle Booth's rather talked-up show 'Seeing Whiteness', PhotoZA finally presents a follow-up, three solo exhibitions. Jacqui Sinclair presents 'A Body of Work', Sean Wilson 'Waterline', and Grada Djeri showcases 'Portraits'. The show has been facilitated with the assistance of Photographer's Gallery ZA, Cape Town.

Opens: March 3, at 6pm
Closes: March 31

Nicolaas Maritz at Franchise

Commenting on the Cape artist Nicolaas Maritz, critic Melvyn Minnaar recently remarked: "Maritz's prolific and playful imagination sometimes offers us rare, eccentric pictures of what would be disregarded as ordinary or banal. He has polished that pseudo naivet� as a sharp personal tool."

Primarily known as a painter of figurative subjects, his recent paintings present themselves as slightly more abstract and textural. Views of shallow rock pools, filled with salt water, show an atmospheric world of idiosyncratic colours and shapes. Painted in the artist's trademark enamel colours, these bright new paintings show an almost child-like fascination with the delightful effects of light on colour and water.

Waiting for refreshing tides to wash over them, rock pools are an apt colouristic and visual metaphor for the position of the middle-aged artist looking for fresh subject matter. The paintings on this exhibition reflect the sheer optical joy and excitement of this artist's intense painting experience.

Also on view will be a colourful group of insect paintings as well as recent Cape landscapes. The artist will conduct a walkabout on Saturday, March 13, at 12am and again at 3pm.

For further information on the artist, see:

Opens: March 6
Closes: March 26

Robyn Orlin

Robyn Orlin
from 'Babysitting Caspar', 2002

Photograph by Oliver Schmitz�

Robyn Orlin at JAG

Acclaimed choreographer and dancer Robyn Orlin presents 'Babysitting Irma�' This new work, which forms part of First National Bank's Dance Umbrella programme, is adapted from Orlin's dance piece 'Babysitting Caspar�' (which premiered in Berlin in December 2002).

A dancer of international repute, Orlin has previously staged works at venues as diverse as London's Barbican Theatre and Johannesburg Electric Workshop, for the second Johannesburg Biennale.

For further information on her work, visit

Opens: March 5 & 6

CJ Morkel

CJ Morkel
Wiener wacker, 2003
Airbrush on canvas

'For the record' at Gordart

Gordon Froud has always enjoyed the subtle dualities of language. Not surprising then that his next show should draw on a popular expression to give expression to the premise for his next show. 'For the record' is a group show that features a grab bag of artists, some known, others not. All the invited artists have been requested to use LPs to express themselves. Anyone familiar with the work of Swiss artist Christian Marclay will know that this winsome joke belies a certain gravitas when pulled-off right. Let's see what Froud's artists can do.

Opens: March 10
Closes: March 31

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 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

Deborah Bell's Taxi Art Book launch party

Deborah Bell, an accomplished printmaker, is the subject of the tenth monograph in the Taxi Art Book series. Published by David Krut Publishing, Taxi-010 will be launched at Johannesburg's newest gallery space, Franchise.

Born in Johannesburg, in 1957, Bell studied her BA Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she also completed her MA in Fine Art in 1986. She has traveled extensively in North America and Europe and in 1986 spent two months at the Cite' Internationale des Arts, Paris. With Robert Hodgins and William Kentridge, Bell was involved in one of the key exhibitions at the 1997 Johannesburg Festival, producing a series of eight graphics around the theme of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, all on view at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.

The launch of the book is due to coincide with the launch of Deborah Bell's solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery. (See listing)

Copies of the book will be for sale at the launch.

Date: April 1, at 6pm

Two Eritrean artists at JAG

The Johannesburg Art Gallery presents painting, video and digital works by two Eritrean artists, Alazar Asgedom and Laine Blata Kiflezion. Alazar Asgedom's work is titled 'Leaves War', and Laine Blata Kiflezion's 'Transformation from Imitation to Self-expression'.

For guided tours please call (011) 725 3130/3184.

Exhibitions presented in association with the University of the Witwatersrand School of Arts, Department of Fine Arts.

Opens: February 10, at 5.30pm
Closes: March 7

Morkel, Berman and Czech lithographs and etchings at Gordart

Three shows in one space. CJ Morkel will show his latest airbrush paintings, funky furniture and spiky balls. The Czech Embassy will show a selection of lithographs and etchings, which have been touring South Africa alongside prints from the collection of Mona Berman featuring many prints created by artists from Artist's Proof studio.

Opens: February 14
Closes: March 7

Sam Nhlengethwa at Goodman Gallery

'Glimpses of the Fifties and Sixties' is an exhibition of new works by Sam Nhlengethwa. Says the artist: "This exhibition is a culmination of a thought that began ten years ago. Perhaps on some subconscious level it is very fitting that parallel to this show is the year we celebrate ten years of democracy."

"I have chosen to work in the style to which I have become accustomed (collage) and to also explore my printing via the photogravure process. I think one of the reasons I like this process is that it has an element of collage in it, but the process is more physically involved and delicate. It entails digitizing an initial collage and working through at least five plates before even considering the trial print to be used for the series.

"I sourced material from the Drum magazine archives and I also looked through my own family albums. The use of my own archive was important because I wanted to reflect an intimacy and a familiarity that would make the images accessible. Looking through the albums I reminisced about growing up in my grandmother's house and how I always found the dining with the wedding photograph so intriguing.

"I also recalled enjoying a softball match in Westonaria (a small mining community on the West Rand) amidst the many dompas and curfew laws. Today these images have now been revived in the music videos of Mafikizolo and the Stoned Cherry fashion label. I think I'm lucky in the sense that I have used art as an outlet for the frustrations I encountered during this time. My visual expression through painting was therapeutic and has now been transformed into what I believe to be a historical retrospective."

Opens: February 19
Closes: March 13

Natalie Western at the Old Traffic Office

Wits MA student Natalie 'Rat' Western exhibits recent video and photography at the Old Traffic Office, also known as the Nunnery, at Wits University.

For more information, contact 073 144 5461.

Opens: February 20, at 7pm

Collen Maswanganyi

Collen Maswanganyi
Business Man, 2003
painted wood sculpture

Wayne Barker

Wayne Barker
Knowledge, 2004
Mixed media (four panels)

Barker, Buthelezi, Dietrich and Maswanganyi at Artspace

Wayne Barker, Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi, Keith Dietrich and Collen Maswanganyi, four very diverse artists, will be exhibiting on a show titled 'Evidence'. The show will present work that spans a diversity of media: watercolour, oils, mixed media, plastic and wood sculpture.

Wayne Barker will be presenting multi media work based on 'knowledge' and the 'evidence' will be visible for the viewer to interpret. "In my new body of work I question the idea of knowledge and how we as Africans have accepted a European framework. How great we were that ' we' massacred the Indians and almost wiped out the Bushmen and aboriginal people. When we look at old encyclopaedias we see the naive way in which the history of the world is often told about man's great progress. By means of recycling I try and make images that provoke change in deconstructing and altering every day objects and ideas. These works are my evidence of reality".

Mbongeni Richman Buthelezi, a young man with a sparkling personality, produces paintings on plastic which he paints with melted plastic using materials such as plastic bags, plastic waste, etc. No colour is added as the colour is in the 'bag' he uses for his paintings. The end result is very unique to his style of painting and the scenes he depicts are mainly township scenes and non-figurative themes in beautiful colour. His work has been exhibited in many overseas countries and is housed in many international collections. Buthelezi's work is sought after and well worth viewing.

Keith Dietrich, a professor in fine arts at the University of Stellenbosch, and previously from Johannesburg, will be presenting watercolours as a visual commentary on and response to a collection of San drawings and watercolours made between 1875 and 1881 under the patronage of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd.

Collen Maswanganyi, son of the well-known Johannes Maswanganyi, will entertain us with his colourful painted sculptures of the modern African black man and woman.

The show is curated by artist, curator and educator Gordon Froud.

Opens: February 22, at 5.30pm
Closes: March 20

Patrick de Mervelec

Patrick de Mervelec

Looking at South Africa at Zuva Gallery

Paris-born photographer Patrick de Mervelec launches his new book Looking at South Africa 1994-2004 with an exhibition of photographs from the book. This book launch and exhibition celebrates the first decade of democracy in South Africa. It follows de Mervelec's acclaimed book Regard sur l'Afrique du Sud that he, together with the Mayor of Paris, personally presented to Nelson Mandela in Paris in 1996.

The Zuva Gallery, in the plush Africanist mall of Melrose Arch, is Johannesburg's newest gallery. The gallery is owned by Michael Obert, and specialises in a diverse range of pan-African art. There is indeed two Zuva Galleries, the second gallery located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Opens: February 26, at 6.30pm
Closes: March 7

John Moore

John Moore
The great trek, 2004
Woodcut print

John Moore at Merely Mortal

Acclaimed printmaker John Moore presents 'Recording history', 15 colour woodcut images that portray a history of Southern Africa. The works start with the Khoi-San people and end with our country in its present state. On exhibition are various other prints, including lithographs and linocuts. Each work covers a specific part of Southern African history and features an animal indigenous to South Africa and artefacts related to that specific time frame.

Dennis Beckett will open the show.

Opens: February 26, at 6.30pm
Closes: March 26

Prints and Multiples 2 at Warren Siebrits

The second prints and multiples exhibition at Warren Siebrits, this exhibition includes works by Jane Alexander, Walter Battiss, Marlene Dumas, Robert Hodgins, Wopko Jensma, William Kentridge, Judas Mahlangu, Azaria Mbatha, John Muafangejo, Dan Rakgoathe, Cyprian Shilakoe and Vuminkosi Zulu.

The latter artist is represented by a particularly striking print Awaiting Trial, an overtly political etching depicting the detention of agonised figures. Jensma's Vertigo Man is another highlight of this show.

Opens: February 26
Closes: April 3

David Hockney

David Hockney
Snail's Space, Second Detail, 1995
891 x 1104 mm

Big names at Gallery on the Square

Somewhat befitting the heft of the wallets strolling around Sandton, the Gallery on the Square is hosting a Valentine's Day show with some well-known brand name artists. The list includes: Marc Chagall, Jim Dine, Michael Heindorff, Damien Hirst, Allen Jones, Marino Marini, Henry Moore, Victor Pasmore, Pablo Picasso and Frank Stella. Aren't you wondering about the inclusion of Hirst?

Opens: February 14
Closes: March 7

Ndebele Liphotho

Ndebele Liphotho (Married woman's apron), 1988
Plastic, textile
Standard Bank Collection (Wits Art Galleries)

Gina Waldman

Gina Waldman
Miss Wong & Mona , 2003
Mixed media: tapestry

Gina Waldman

Gina Waldman
Untitled , 2003
Mixed media: silk roses

Exploring the mutability of traditions, at the Standard Bank Gallery

The Standard Bank Gallery presents three diverse and engaging exhibitions.

The highlight must be the curatorial team of Anitra Nettleton, Julia Charlton and Fiona Rankin-Smith's 'Engaging Modernities: Transformations of the commonplace', an exhibition of commonplace African objects. As the curators assert: "When different cultures meet, values are inevitably transformed and inverted. The west has long raided the rest of the world's cultures for their perceived 'exotic' qualities, and the resulting cultural collisions have also impacted on those raided cultures. Since pre-colonial times African societies too have drawn on cultures from far and wide to create new symbols."

Working from this simple premise, that there has been a reciprocity of influence, 'Engaging Modernities' displays a number of everyday objects that were created and exist in the cracks, in-between strict tradition and high modernity. "They engage with the modern world and appear engaging to the viewer familiar with the spaces from which they draw their material and images," the curators assert.

Some objects use the detritus of consumer culture, such as discarded medicine vials, metal snuff boxes, and used rubber gaskets, as metonymic equivalents for more traditional materials. Others refigure aspects of modern dress or objects of everyday use, for example waistcoats or tennis racquets, by incorporating or representing them in objects which have traditional uses. Still others, such as plastic front aprons and capes, remake traditional items using materials and images drawn from modern western sources.

In all these objects the west finds itself mirrored in surprising ways. Yet to the indigenous makers and users of these items, they are powerful statements of their belonging to the modern world of a cash economy, of safety pins, locks, keys, electric lights, tin cans and rayon or lurex thread. Images which invoke particular forms of power such as guns and telegraph poles, national flags, judges' wigs and kings' crowns are incorporated into the repertoires of African political symbols. Objects made in traditional or imported techniques grapple with contemporary issues such as Aids, imaging the realities of African modernity.

The objects on this exhibition remind the viewer of the flexibility and frailty of cultural constructions of identity, and the 'porousness' and mutability of traditions. But they also open up the vistas in which purposeful modern uses for objects are found, where an apparent whimsy masks a complete engagement with the ironies of global culture.

'Decorating the damaged' is the name of Gina Waldman's show, downstairs at the Standard Bank Gallery. Waldman's labour intensive and excessively repetitive art deals with "an inner, psychological human condition of the fa�ade, the mask, perfection, idealism and beauty". Sin her attempts to make 'beautiful' things out of the ugly - hence the title 'decorating the damaged' - Waldman attempts to turn the unsanitary, or that which is considered peripheral (or deemed 'low' art), into the sublime and the beautiful.

Art that intended as a kind of anaesthetic, to be beautiful, but to encourage a catharsis as well, Waldman's production invokes a particular catharsis for the artist, which is important to communicate her belief in the therapeutic and healing potential of the creative process.

'Tying the Knot: Courtship & Marriage in southern Africa' is a new permanent exhibition of traditional Zulu and Ndebele wedding regalia worn by women during courtship and engagement.

Opens: January 27
Closes: March 6


Johan Thom

Johan Thom

Johan Thom at Outlet

Johan Thom presents new work at Abrie Fourie's experimental gallery space.

The opening of the show will include a brief discussion by Brett Kebble Art Award curator Clive van den Berg.

Opens: March 6
Closes: April 3


Gallery of Contemporary Art in Graskop

In case you're wondering where Graskop is, this scenic little tourist village is perched on the edge of the Highveld escarpment, very near God's Window. It is the perfect weekend getaway location, and with artists such as Willem Boshoff, Anton Karstel, Johann Moolman, Gwen Miller, Cecile Heystek, Daniel Mosako, Griet van der Meulen and Themba Gule showing, this new space promises to up the ante for all those pastoral painters and potters inhabiting this region.

For further information, contact Harrie Siertsema 083 440 7670 and Ronel van der Vyver 083 263 5842.

Opens: February 28, at 2pm


Invitation image

Live sound sculpture at Pretoria Art Museum

The Pretoria Art Museum breaks the mould somewhat with this show. 'Excogitations' is a live sound sculpture. Artists working in disciplines ranging from classical music, electronica, performance art, and multimedia will contribute to an improvised installation of audio and visual media.

The work seeks to explore the relationship between various models of sound production and their respective histories as emergent natural phenomena: tensions between (wo)man and machine, harmony and dissonance, production and reception, structure and chance. These are all abstractions that may be collapsed by placing emphasis on their shared nature as inscribed gestures.

(Wo)mankind inscribes itself audio-logically in all its activities, the effect of which is not an ordered unity but an everyday occurrence akin to the seemingly random sounds of nature. There is no score, no conductor, only a processed-based art that explores sound as material: post music. Precursors of sound installations like this include Dada, Fluxus, Futurism, Japanese Noise Music and individual artists like John Cage, David Tudor, Luigi Russolo, Laurie Anderson and Nam June Paik.

The list of participating artists is: Cobi van Tonder, Gito Baloi, James Webb, Jo�o Orreccio, Johan Thom, Justice Mokoena, Maire Langley, Nathaniel Stern, Neil Langley, Shane de Lange and Thomas Barry.

The performance takes place on February 7, between 2 - 5pm.

The event coincides with the opening of artist Anton Karstel show '108314N'.

Opens: February 7
Closes: March 14