Biennales in Africa seem like bush fires: they are ignited, they flare up and light the scene briefly, sometimes memorably and unforgettably, and then they die. Or if they survive, it is only as a dull glow which lights little beyond the immediate surroundings. Enter the first Luanda Triennial, of which the major events will take place over three months in the first half of next year. In a special preview
, the editor reports on some of the ambitious plans for this new art event.
Commercial galleries tend to show one or two artists at a time - thus specially curated shows like the international photography show 'Click' at the Goodman in July and 'In the Making: materials and process' currently on at Cape Town's Michael Stevenson provide welcome opportunities for a different take on the art scene. Read Andrew Lamprecht's incisive review of the latter.
Cape editor Kim Gurney leaves ArtThrob this month to take up a position as news editor on Art South Africa. Her professionalism and insights will be greatly missed. Linda Stupart is welcomed as the new Cape editor.
And to all of you who send your international listings in late month after month: please get your info in by the third week of the previous month.
Next month: Guest editor Andrew Lamprecht spearheads a focus on art books and writers.
Next update: Friday, October 7
In another busy gallery month, the Cape offers a combination of heavyweights like Willie Bester and the Dumile Feni retrospective alongside younger talent like Ruth Sacks and Doreen Southwood intent on carving new niches. 'In the Making', which opened last month at Michael Stevenson Contemporary, continues to be a much talked-about highlight for September.
This month, veteran photographer David Goldblatt is honoured with two major exhibitions - a retrospective at the Johannesburg Art Gallery and new work at the Goodman. Johannesburg's Arts Alive festival, notorious in the past for its negligence of visual culture, includes the 'Tribute to Courage' exhibition of established township artists, at Uncle Tom's in Soweto. Richard Smith re-emerges with 'Dialogues' at Constitution Hill and Afronova offers its début exhibition by Samson Mnisi and Gera Mazgabu.
Arriving from the USA, 'A Decade of Democracy: Witnessing South Africa' is hosted at the KZNSA. Gabisile Nkosi is 'Celebrating the Spirits' at the African Art Centre and the Red Eye Art revolution rocks the Durban Art Gallery once more with another explosion of multi-media mayhem.
The art star status of Candice Breitz is confirmed with shows of her new work,'Mother + Father' opening first at London's White Cube and later in the month at New York's Sonnabend. Kendell Geers scatters his In God Wet Rust posters through Amsterdam, Ed Young steals shoes from the Palais de Tokyo on a video to be shown at Videobrasil, and Katherine Bull makes portraits in a Poland performance.
The six short videos by visiting Algerian artist Zoulikha Bouabdellah, shown at the SANG, share a combination of humour and surprise that give heavy themes a smoother ride, says Kim Gurney. Andrew Lamprecht calls 'In the Making: materials and process' 'the finest show yet at the Michael Stevenson', and Lloyd Pollak advises that a trip to Nadja Dhaenke's 'Profit and Loss' at the João Ferreira yields rich dividends. And finally, 'The goal of Vuyile Vuyiya's endeavour is to translate the European old master tradition into a distinctively new and vibrant African vernacular', says Lloyd Pollak of his show at the AVA.
Young artist Trasi Henen débuts with her solo exhibition 'Passer bye', under the aegis of David Krut Arts Resource. Reviewed by Robyn Sassen.
Francesca Verga is impressed by the three artists at the KZNSA, expats Siemon Allen and Ledelle Moe and US artist Kendall Buster, finding that the seemingly unrelated work makes interesting connections, but wonders whether the badly hung 'Urban Women' at the African Art Centre is simply piggybacking on a Women's Day bandwagon.
The upcoming Luanda Triennial is previewed, the winner of the 2005 Tollman Award announced, Francesca Verga gives a rare behind-the-scenes view of what happens when a museum receives the art for an exhibition in waterlogged crates, and Artslink reports that veteran painter Robert Hodgins will receive an honorary doctorate from the Universityh of Tshwane.
International visitors and gallery openings fill the month.
An ABSA L'Atelier winner, Cape Town-based painter and multi media artist Sanell Aggenbach is this month's focus.
Website of the month belongs to the Everard Read Gallery.
Carine Zaayman leaves the art world to review a band site.
Positions are open for a new director of the progressive KZNSA Gallery in Durban, and ArtThrob seeks a new Johannesburg editor.
Why don't more readers take issue with our reviewers? Use this space. A regular correspondent asks why South African museums don't stage more mid- and late career retrospectives of SA artists.
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