Archive: Issue No. 120, August 2007

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05.08.07 Candice Breitz at White Cube, London
05.08.07 Mikhael Subotzky on 'says the junk in the yard' at Flowers East
05.08.07 William Kentridge at Edinburgh Printmakers
05.08.07 'David Goldblatt: Photographs' at Fotografia, Milan

01.07.07 'Global Cities' at Tate Modern, London
01.07.07 First Thessaloniki Biennale

03.06.07 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy
03.06.07 documenta 12 in Kassel
03.06.07 Kendell Geers at S.M.A.K., Belgium

06.05.07 Nathaniel Stern in Ireland

01.04.07 Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon in Bratislava


05.08.07 David Goldblatt's 'Intersections' is at the Berkeley Art Museum, California

01.07.07 Repicturing the Past/ Picturing the Present at the MoMA

03.06.07 'Inscribing Meaning' at the Museum of African Art, Washington DC


Candice Breitz

Candice Breitz
Marilyn Manson Monument, Berlin, June 2007
digital c-print mounted on Diasec
180 x 463,5cm
Courtesy Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London)

Candice Breitz at White Cube, London

Already hailed in laudatory terms by London's Financial Times, Candice Breitz's new show of recent work opened at Jay Jopling's White Cube Mason's Yard on July 25.

The South African artist, now working out of Berlin, is best known for her multi-screen video installations that explore the impact of film and pop culture on contemporary society, and in an iPod age, underline the way that the music of a favourite pop singer or rock group can become an ever-present background to a fan's life.

Breitz's new piece, Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) has 25 Lennon fans singing the lyrics of his solo record Plastic Ono Band, in unison, each amateur performer on a different screen, to produce a touchingly harmonious rendition of the song. Earlier Breitz pieces in the same series included Legend, made with Bob Marley fans, King, featuring Michael Jackson fans and Queen, with wannabe Madonnas.

Three large scale photographic portraits of groups of fans dressed in the mode of the music of their favoured group are a new aspect of Breitz's work, shown for the first time here. Abba fans are fresh and wholesome looking, Iron Maiden fans wear aging denims and elaborately printed T-shirts, while Marilyn Manson followers are appropriately gothic. The word 'monument' in Breitz's titles of these photographs, as in Marilyn Manson Monument, recognizes the crucial importance of the fan in life of the pop icon, and suggests that it is only the existence of this devoted community that gives legitimacy to the performer as a public figure.

Opens: July 28
Closes: August 28

Mikhael Subotzky

Mikhael Subotzky Resident, Vaalkoppies
(Beaufort West Rubbish Dump) 2006
light jet print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper

Mikhael Subotzky on 'says the junk in the yard' at Flowers East

Flowers East Gallery in London is holding a large group exhibition which focuses on issues of cultural ephemerality and man-made waste, a subject which has been pushed well to the forefront of public consciousness in recent years. The impressive lineup includes the late great Helen Chadwick, Peter Blake, Derek Boshier and Gavin Turk. Cornelia Parker's Exhaled Cocaine is listed as 'incinerated cocaine'.

Cape Town photographer Subotzky, the subject of this month's artbio, is showing two images from his Beaufort West series which portray residents of the town picking through the town's rubbish dump, searching for anything of some use.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with a text by Tom Morton, contributing editor to Frieze.

Opens: August 3
Closes: September 8

William Kentridge

William Kentridge
Untitled 2004

William Kentridge at Edinburgh Printmakers

During the period of the Edinburgh Art Festival, the Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Printmakers will show a series of William Kentridge prints made in collaboration with DK Projects, New York and Johannesburg. Lithographs, etchings and mixed media works have always been a significant part of Kentridge's oeuvre, and this will be the first time these prints have been seen in Scotland.

There will also be limited screenings of the documentary in which the artist discusses his working process, William Kentridge: Drawing the Passing, a film made by Maria Anna Tappener and Reinhard Wulf.

Opens: July 21
Closes: September 5

David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt
On the stoep, Hondeklipbaai. Northern Cape,
13 September 2003
archival pigment ink on cotton rag paper
112 x 137,5cm

'David Goldblatt: Photographs' at Fotografia, Milan

Curator Martin Parr has mounted an extensive travelling retrospective of David Goldblatt's work at the Forma Centro Internazionale di Fotografia. The 136 black-and-white and colour photographs cover a number of important series in the photographer's career, from the 60s to the present, such as In Boksburg, and South Africa: the Structure of Things Then.

Goldblatt, who last year won the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, is known for his deeply perceptive images which invite the careful attention of the viewer in picking up the subtle - or not so subtle - signs which indicate the extent to which racism affected the landscape of South Africa.

Opens: June 28
Closes: August 26

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim
View of Hillbrow
looking north from
the roof of the
Mariston Hotel
Colour digital print

Global Cities' at the Tate Modern, London

Kendell Geers, showing his series of images of burglar alarm signs attached to suburban walls of Johannesburg homes, and award winning photographer Guy Tillim are two of the artists on 'Global Cities', located in the vast Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern.

Tillim's moody image of the city of Johannesburg has been chosen for the Tate website. His memorable series of photographs documenting the teeming city suburb of Hillbrow (one of which is available in the Editions for ArtThrob programme) give a clear view of a city that is bursting at the seams as immigrants from all over the continent come to try their luck.

'Global Cities' premiered at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2006, located in the Arsenale, and the concept was to try to capture the spirit of 10 great cities of the world, rather than to simply portray their architecture. Other cities include London itself, Tokyo, New York and Sao Paulo.

Closes: August 27

Zanele Muholi

Zanele Muholi
Nomsa Mafunda and Tumi
Ndweni, entrepreneur, on
the occasion of their civil
marriage, Krugersdorp
Home Affairs Office,
6 March 2007

First Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece

Borrowing the title 'Heterotopias' from Michel Foucault's lecture in which a man follows a certain set of rules which distract him from his daily tasks, the first Thessaloniki Biennale has been curated by Catherine David, Jan-Erik Lundstrom and Maria Tsantsanoglou.

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, and the biennale is located in the State Museum of Contemporary Art. A total of 82 artists are on the biennale, including South Africans Tracey Rose and Zanele Muholi. A curatorial statement on the website reads in part, 'Contrary to European and international laws that often hinder border crossing, Art has no borders, it moves freely. Therefore, encouraging discourse in art contributes to the decline of fanaticism.'

Opens: May 21
Closes: September 30

Tracey Rose

Tracey Rose
The Wailers 2003
Film Stills

52nd Biennale di Venezia

With all of its usual fanfare, the venerable Venice Biennale throws open its doors on June 10. This year, for the first time, a sizeable group of artists will show in the heart of the Biennial under the banner of an African Pavilion, located in the Arsenale. The show, curated by Fernando Alvim and Simon Njami, has been drawn from the Sindika Dokolo African Collection of Contemporary Art, and is entitled 'Check List Luanda Pop'

Opens: June 10
Closes: November 21

Full story: see NEWS

Churchill Madikida

Churchill Madikida
Like Father Like Son? 2006
Video stills

Guy Tillim

Guy Tillim
A traditional dancer and crowd
salute Jean Pierre Bemba
as he walks to a rally from
the airport, Kinshasa, July 2006
Colour pigment dye on archival paper

Documenta 12 opens in Kassel

Documenta retains its crown as the most significant contemporary art event in the world. Occurring for 100 days once every five years, documenta, held in the small German town of Kassel, is considered to be the 'authoratative worldwide seismograph of contemporary art'. For each cycle, a new director is appointed. Roger Buergel, Berlin-based curator, assisted by art historian Ruth Noack is the director for the 12th manifestation of the event.

Regarding the artists who will be exhibiting on the actual event, documenta plays its cards very close to its chest, and does not reveal the names of the chosen before the opening, but it is known that at least three South African artists are on the list: Churchill Madikida, David Goldblatt and Guy Tillim.

Tillim will be showing work from his Congo Democratic series, and Churchill Madikida will be showing the work made for his Standard Bank Young Artist Award show.

Opens: June 16
Closes: September 23

Full story: see NEWS

Kendell Geers

Kendell Geers
Self portrait 1995
(Original destroyed on Flight TW800)

Kendell Geers: 'Irrespektiv' in Ghent

It is not surprising that an artist whose work has often derived its significance from sharp word play should entitle his retrospective 'Irrespektiv', thereby indicating both the nature of the exhibition and his attitude to all establishments, artworld and otherwise, in 11 simple letters.

Thus Kendell Geers, at S.M.A.K, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent.

Geers is one of South Africa's most acclaimed and iconoclastic artists, whose provocative work has riled audiences and startled museum directors across the world. Reads the museum press release, 'As far as Geers is concerned, it is not the work of art itself that is important, but the message behind it... (he) does not consider himself an artist or an activist. He is not an artist because he doesn't give a damn about art, and is not an activist because in his view an activist does not fit into today's world.'

Both of these opinions may be somewhat overstated by the artist, given the nature of his practice, located firmly in the centre of the artworld, but the exhibition at S.M.A.K gives audiences the opportunity to see a full range of Geers' powerful work. His vision is dystopian, his concepts caustic, and in realising his ideas, his artistic vocabulary runs to broken glass, red and white hazard tape, neon signs, mini-museums constructed from industrial steel and shelving with plastic wrapped found objects, and erotic images of women as stark black and white wall paintings.

It is just a pity that one will not have the opportunity to see 'Irrespektiv' here in South Africa. For those in the area of Gent...

Opens: April 21
Closes: August 26


Nathaniel Stern in Ireland

Nathaniel Stern exhibits with Cork-based Canadian Paul LaRocque at the Haydn Shaughnessy Gallery all throughout the Irish Summer.

Stern presents a series of revolving performative prints, using a custom-built scanner appendage in and around his subjects and objects, this time engaging with the stories, locals and surrounds of West Cork and Dublin. Also in the gallery, printmaker Paul LaRocque combines digital and traditional techniques, local iconography and political discourse to explore cultural relationships in an increasingly globalised world.

Opens: May 31
Closes: Winter in Ireland


Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon in Bratislava

Ruth Sacks and Robert Sloon will be participating in 'Evolution de l'Art', a gallery established to sell only artworks that are immaterial, with no physical residue, that does not release certificates of authenticity, nor statements or receipts.

Sloon and Sacks present a number of works including No Excuses which sees the artists being obliged to follow their horoscopes, as presented in The Voice every day for a week and With Relish where the artists will change the date they celebrate Christmas every year to one the buyer selects, not attending any other Christmas celebrations.

Gallery headquarters are in Bratislava though one is also free to peruse and purchase the artworks on the gallery website

Opens: March 21

The 'exhibition' is ongoing


David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, in the time of Aids,
13 October, 2004
archival pigment ink on cotton rag paper
112 x 137,5cm

David Goldblatt at the Berkeley Museum

At the Berkeley Art Museum, on the other side of the Atlantic from Milan, David Goldblatt has a second major show installed. 'Intersections' is the photographer's term for the crosscurrents of values, ideas, spaces and people that make up South African society.

Through his photography, Goldblatt attempts to give meaning to the relationship between the political and physical geography of South Africa. The 'land' has always been a source of major inspiration for Goldblatt.The show originated at the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf.

Opens: July 8
Closes: August 26

William Kentridge

William Kentridge
'Untitled' from
Ubu tells the truth 1996-7
25 x 30 cm

'Repicturing the Past/ Picturing the Present' at the MoMA

Curated by prints curator Judy Hecker, this exhibition explores the ways in which the artists from the 19th Century to the present have engaged with contemporary social issues by challenging existing concepts and presenting new insights. Artists include Max Beckmann, James Ensor, Christian Boltanski and William Kentridge. Kentridge is represented by four prints from the Ubu Tells the Truth series, 1996 - 7, made at the time of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

Opens: June 13
Closes: November 5

Wonene Worke Kosrof

Wonene Worke Kosrof
Colour of Words 11 2001

'Inscribing Meaning' at the Museum of African Art, Washington

'Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art' explores the way in which, for thousands of years, African artists have incorporated writing and graphic symbols into their art, thereby adding layers of communicative significance to the visual impact of the object. Including objects as diverse as cloths, daggers, jewellery, scripts and ceremonial robes, the show also provides the opportunity to consider the beauty of the brushstrokes of master calligraphers.

Curated by Christine Kreamer of the NMAFA and Polly Nooter Roberts of the Fowler Museum, UCLA, the exhibition reaches back through the centuries to present such objects of power as an inscribed baboon skull, an etched dagger, moving forward to the contemporary, the his and her embroidered jump suits by Ghada Amer, Barbie loves Ken, Ken loves Barbie. South African artists on the show are Sue Williamson, with two of the etched steel framed works from the Pages from a Government Tourist Brochure series, and monotypes of the cast of characters from the Truth and Reconcilaition Commission by Kim Berman.

Opens: May 9
Closes: October 26