Luan Nel

Lize Grobler

Lize Grobler

Randolph Hartzenberg

Matthew Haresnape

Matthew Haresnape

Mustafa Maluka


Art at the Klein Karoo festival

'Oos Wes Tuis Bes'

By Lauren Shantall

By proudly positioning itself in the centre of Oudtshoorn's main thoroughfare, 'Oos Wes Tuis Bes' unpretentiously deflates the traditional confines of the gallery. Instead, it offers itself up to the teeming masses, who unceremoniously poked, prodded and even laughed at its 14 wendy-house structures before becoming perplexed, and then amazed, by the individual installations on show. On the level of public engagement, it is one of the most successful exhibitions ever to have been staged at the Klein Karoo Kunstefees. Its success, however, stretches to other levels as well, where individual works challenge the idea of the home and its attendant associations in the South African context, and more particularly in the context of an Afrikaans arts festival.

The show deals with a topic that is both accessible to its audience and steers clear of the sentimentality which usually surrounds definitions of "tuiste". The artists involved investigated radically different aspects of the home and the resulting works tend to serve as a microcosm of the festival itself, with its own welter of competing cultural notions surrounding language and nationality.

Lize Grobler's piece comments directly on this particular context. It throws the art/craft debate into relief by drawing on the collective efforts of the women living in Oudtshoorn's surrounding communities and in homes for the disabled and the aged, as well as women in her own family. All contributed squares knitted from scraps of leftover wool which Grobler then sewed into a multi-coloured, house-shaped blanket which she fringed with drawings by primary school children. By taking up themes explored by other South African artists who re-appropriate embroidery and stitching for their work, this piece similarly rejects binary oppositions regarding the division of labour, and raises "women's work" into an art form. By association, it extends Tracey Rose's performance installation at last year's fees in which she unraveled doilies made by women in the surrounding communities as a comment on those marginalised by the festival. Here, Grobler's work is a celebratory, vibrant affirmation of its many creators.

Similarly, Bridget Baker's installation employs a passageway on the interior of her wendy house consisting of machine-knitted loops of white wool. These loops partition off a display of Baker's personal letters which are layered in mothballs and lit in radiant white light. The text is partially obscured by these ordinary household objects, rendering the contents of the letters irretrievable. The powerful olfactory element is both fascinating and repulsive - forcibly consuming its entire environment and wafting out onto the street. This heady stench of naphthalene is an emotive trigger for a work which deals with attempts to preserve, not one's personal belongings, but memory, and the impossibility of retaining it. Yet with its invitation to indulge in voyeurism, to pore over the artist's most intimate correspondences, one is pulled, moth-like, towards the light of the interior. This work, like the nature of memory, is both moving and deeply personal, revealing almost as much as it conceals. But it may perhaps, unlike Baker's other work, be read too easily to engage one overly long.

Perhaps the most controversial work to reside temporarily in Baron van Reede Straat, Matthew Haresnape's tarred and feathered NG Kerk is a bare, wrought-iron structure housing South Africa's old and new national flags suspended from the rafters. While the flags are perhaps an overstatement - their substantial form sitting rather heavily both spatially and conceptually - the rest of the structure is not. Pertinent to its context, and clearly relevant when considered in terms of the demographics of the fees, this house of God deals with Afrikaner Calvinism and how it ties into modern-day Afrikaans identity. The artist's accusations reveal the guilt of religious structures in perpetuating racism in recent South African socio-political history. It raised enough hackles for its title card to be consistently ripped off the structure …

Mustafa Maluka's work is one of the few to deal specifically with black identity. Signature graffiti "tags" and a spray-painted poem splatter the exterior, while the interior recreates the typical bedroom of a hip hop-influenced Cape Flats teenager. By presenting an "ordinary" living space, Maluka seeks to deflate the erroneous, and predominantly white, misperceptions of rampant gangsterism which often dog life on the flats. A seemingly simple statement, but a crucial one, particularly if one reads this work as a counterpoint to the dominantly white festival and a reflection of its minorities.

Other highlights include a thought-provoking exploration of the use and misuse of language and power in the domestic environment from Aliza Levi; touching performances from Masha du Toit centering around homesickness; a humorous play on Duchamp from Isolde Krams; and thought-provoking, poetic whimsy - not without its dark undertones - from Lien Botha.



Fritha Langerman and
Lettie Viljoen

Fritha Langerman and
Lettie Viljoen

Veronique Malherbe
and Charles Fourie

Berni Searle and
Anoeschka van Meck

Mark Coetzee and
Karin Cronje


By Lauren Shantall

Blood, life-blood, is the connective force which pulses through the works on 'Bloedlyn'. Curated by artist Lien Botha, 'Bloedlyn' was on the main programme at this year's Klein Karoo Kunstefees and featured 10 pairings of visual artists with well-known writers, with varying results.

An interesting device with which to launch an investigation, the strength of the collaborations between writers and artists is readily evident in some works and glaringly absent in others. Yet when one considers that the organisers only gave the curator and the participants two months with which to prepare for the show, the level of the work is impressive.

The more successful works are those which have evolved hybridised couplings of texts and images. Like Fritha Langerman and Lettie Viljoen's intriguing mixed-media series, which incorporates found objects and medical paraphernalia. Entitled 'n Opening is 'n Skeur, the work deals with motherhood and is perhaps the strongest interpretation of the brief.

At the other end of the scale, Lucy Pooler's small resin works dealing with her mother's death are entirely self-sufficient and can be viewed without Ashraf Jamal's fictionalised narrative dealing with the attempted suicide of a lover, and vice versa. Although both works are linked visually by incorporating braille as a design element, it is a rather tenuous dialogue at best.

Berni Searle and Anoeschka van Meck look at 'Bloedlyn' as a literal blood-line or heritage. Julle Moet Nou Trek reverses Searle's usual modus operandi of layering herself in coloured dust, and instead presents a ghost image, a negative. One encounters the outlines of absent figures silhouetted in finely sifted red sand weighing down sheets of paper lining the floor, and in the background, a sound component consisting of recordings made in 1936 when a group of Khomani and Auni Bushmen visited Johannesburg for the 'Empire' exhibition. On the walls and on the floor, the words of a poem by Van Meck are a contemporary response to our lost heritage - a commemoration of the indigenous languages wiped out by the full-scale genocide conducted by colonialism.

In general, 'Bloedlyn' is a meditative, philosophical body of work which forces viewers to engage, not only with the dialogue between literary and visual art, but with notions of our heritage - the very substance that constitutes our contemporary identity. This show is most effective when considered as a whole, for, by degrees, it comes to stand as an examination of inherited knowledge - a pointed look at the kinds of ideologies that we have received, and what, by implication, we will transmit.



Gallery goers opposite the
Framing Company were able to
participate in Tibetan-style
sand drawings, which were
constantly redrawn

Masha du Toit
The City My Skin

Veronique Malherbe
All This Useless Beauty
Project photo

More about Art Night

By Tracy Murinik

You'd be forgiven for being a little sceptical about the prospective potential of an "art night" happening in Cape Town - a night devoted to celebrating and enjoying contemporary culture in the city including performances, open art galleries and a hop-on bus. Not that the idea does not encompass enormous appeal and acknowledge a desperate longing for cultural life in the city - because, indeed, it does. But Cape Town does not hold a particularly reliable reputation for great risk, commitment or exploration by the masses when it comes to the arts. Certainly more than a few gallerists in the city centre were panicked at the thought that they might be left sitting alone until midnight with their quota of refreshments and great expectation, with perhaps five or so gallery hoppers casually lolling through their spaces at interrupted intervals.

Well, not so! In fact, Capetonians and others that were in town rose to the occasion with energy, excitement and goodwill (the precedent for such things seems usually to be associated with sport in this country). Gallerists went out of their way to provide entertainment, sustenance and exciting viewing, and were gladly rewarded by continuous flows of large, satisfied crowds. By 00h30, the streets were still buzzing with people determinedly trying to catch a final glimpse of exhibitions not yet covered.

This all made such sense. It felt like the most natural and necessary occurrence. It was quite exhilarating. People arrived, participated, bought art works, and then went off to the Magnet. The natural progression of things. And others got to fantasise about what they would buy, given the means. A particularly eloquent venting of that desire came from artist Jo O'Connor, who distributed small yellow dots, reminiscent of "reserve" stickers, to be stuck next to any art work that you would like to own but could not afford.

Other highlights included a quietly stunning performance at the Mark Coetzee Fine Art Cabinet by Masha du Toit, entitled The City My Skin. Du Toit, who spends her time between two home cities, namely Durban and Cape Town, explores the "division of loyalty" that she experiences between these two cities. For the performance, she wears a dress which she has embroidered: the front piece bearing a map of Durban, while the back of the dress shows a map of Cape Town. Attached like tentacles to the dress are earphones which play out various sounds of the cities. The process of getting to hear the soundbites is quite awkward. One is aware of one's own potential voyeurism in accessing the work through such closeness to the artist's body. And you cannot be sure what you will be listening to. But the tension is broken by the artist herself whose incredibly open and generous interaction with her audience inhibits violation: one's actions are subtly mapped out and orchestrated by Du Toit. The piece was also to be shown at the Oudtshoorn Festival.

Novelty refreshments at the Hänel Gallery had people returning for more. An array of coloured cocktails in syringes - the literal "shot" - echoed components of the exhibition, In-tro-jec-tion by Gunter Obojkovits, on show. And then, still within the theme of fluid-filled tubes, Veronique Malherbe brought a cunning combination of wicked wit and inevitable intrigue to the João Ferreira Gallery as she canvassed for potential donors to her Sperm Halo. A new project of "The Virginique Institute of Conceptual Art, Cape Town, South Africa", the Sperm Halo requires that participants provide sperm samples in test tubes, along with one labelled ID-sized photograph, which will be collectively exhibited from May 3 at the João Ferreira.

"May it happen again!" shouts this Art Night groupie.


Marlaine Tosoni
Ms Fit
Artist's Project on

A drawing by Kay Hassan
on co.@rtnews

New art quarterly reviewed

The history of magazines devoted to the visual arts in South Africa is not auspicious. In the last decade, we have had ADA - Art, Design, Architecture - large format, great pix, very readable, of which there were probably about 12 issues over the years. One would come out whenever editor Jenny Sorrell could drum up enough money from sponsors and advertisers to support the printing of another issue - something which hasn't happened for a very long time.

Then there was a boring little rag put out by the SA Association of the Arts, The Calendar, which used to come out quarterly, black and white only - but at least it gave out some information. Membership of the SAAA entitled one to free copies.

As I remember it, all the money set aside for that went into the launch of Ivor Powell's Ventilator in 1993, which was everything we had all hoped for in an art magazine - well designed, full colour, intelligently and provocatively written. Many immediately subscribed for the first year. Except there was no first year. Meteor-like, the magazine dazzled then disappeared after its debut issue.

Into this disappointing void has stepped a new publication: co.@rtnews, with the sub-title "southern african review of contemporary art and culture". The new magazine is an initiative of Johannesburg curator Clive Kellner and Angolan artist Fernando Alvim, and is to be published quarterly, both in print and on the net.

Minnette Vári has designed both versions with a crisp contemporary look. In the print magazine, the clever use of bronze ink as a second colour is a fine solution to the economic problem of not being able to print in full colour.

Articles in this 30-page first issue include an introductory editorial on the state of art in South Africa that is listed as "a discussion between Alvim and Kellner" - though it is not possible to discover from the piece which voice is which; an interview with artist Tracey Rose, with a mysteriously uncaptioned picture; a 1994 text from Rwandan Felix Nkundabagenzi on the socio-political nature of Africa; musings on the African Renaissance from Rory Bester; Emma Bedford on the Cairo Biennale; Colin Richards on South Africa's art relationship with Chile through the years; a piece on Angolan filmmaker Zeze Gamboa; Franklin Sirmans on the fall art scene in New York (no pictures here); Gerardo Mosquero on art and Afro-Cuban cultures; news on recent biennales; an extract from a story by Njabulo Ndebele; and photographs of pieces by Bili Bidjocka and Kay Hassan. Oh, and a project page from Marlaine Tosoni, though again, this is uncaptioned.

An interesting mix, and one of the real pluses of the new publication is the inclusion of articles by commentators from other parts of Africa. On the whole, though, the writing seems a little ponderous - bring back the irreverent Ivor Powell - and the balance of text and pictures seems too heavily loaded towards words for a magazine with art in its title. This becomes particularly obvious in the transfer of the print version to the net, where, after all, the cost of colour printing is no longer an issue, and the reproduction of the occasional black and white pictures seem an inadequate representation of the artists. To work as a web version, more thought will have to be given to this - and the orange type used is not easy to read either.

But let's hope that these teething problems will be sorted out. The first print issue is free, and 2 000 have been printed. Phone the magazine at (011) 788-3593 to find out where to get your copy. Website:


Candice Breitz
45 Rorschachs and
1 White Cube
(detail) 1997
Photographic collage

Grey Areas launched

Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary South African Art (Chalkham Hill Press), the long-awaited collection of essays edited by Brenda Atkinson and Candice Breitz, was finally launched at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery at the Market Theatre at the end of last month.

Originally planned for publication to coincide with the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997, Grey Areas engages a debate which has surfaced repeatedly in local and international artworld discourse, and which has become increasingly vocal in recent years. This debate concerns issues of cultural ownership and representation in South African artistic production: who has the right to represent whom? Should artists be allowed freely to image cultural/racial/gendered others in their work, or should there be certain restrictions as to what kinds of imaging can take place? Is there a difference between "representation of" and "speaking for" the Other?

More than 35 artists, critics, arts administrators, writers and cultural activists, including the editors themselves, Carol Becker, Marlene Dumas, Mandla Langa and Penny Siopis, based both in this country and abroad, give their views.

Grey Areas has been published in a limited first edition of 800. Copies of the book are available at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery at R130, or can be ordered through the gallery or the publishers for R150 including postage. For more information contact Stephen Hobbs or Storm van Rensburg at (011) 832-1641 or e-mail


William Kentridge
Drawing for Ulisse Echo

International briefs

Trans-Atlantic openings for Kentridge

April marks a double achievement for South Africa's most high-profile artist, William Kentridge. On April 15 he opens at the Project Room of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the country's most prestigious institution devoted to contemporary art. Kentridge has been working for the past five months on a new video installation for this event.

Just one week after the New York opening, Kentridge will be at the Serpentine Gallery in London for the opening of his one-person show there.



A recent installation
by Moshekwa Langa

'Trafique' opens in Belgium

By Wendy Morris

'Trafique' - an exhibition which is part of a larger project, '(Trans)Africa', intended to increase communication and understanding between European and African artists - opens in Gent, Belgium on April 3.

'(Trans)Africa' consists of a series of cultural events that include music, film, dance and art, and is an initiative of the state secretary of Belgium, Reginald Moreels.

'Trafique' has been planned as a series of installations at 15 locations in the old centre of Gent. The intention is that viewers pay an entrance fee, get a map, search out the installations and simultaneously explore the city.

Southern African artists participating in 'Trafique' are Moshekwa Langa, Kendell Geers and Fernado Alvim, and other African artists include Bili Bidjocka and Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon), Soli Cisse and Hassane Sar (Senegal), Meschac Gaba (Benin), Toma Muteba Luntumbue (Congo), Everlyn Nicodemus (Tanzania) and Aime Ntakiyia (Burundi).

European artists are David Bade (Nederland), Michel Francois, Rik Moens and Josef Legrand (Belgium), Boris Ondreicka (Slovakia) and Antoine Prüm (Luxemburg).

The organisers are SMAK(Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst), and the curator is Piet Vanrobaeys. The show runs until May 6.

A review and pictures follow below.



Aimé Ntakiyica's hanging
string installation at
the Vleehuis

Toma Muteba Luntumbue's
displaced doors on the
Veerle Plein in front of
the Gravensteen castle

Pascale Marthine Tayou's
video monitors on balconies
on the banks of the river

'Trafique' reviewed

By Wendy Morris

The 'Trafique' exhibition in Gent is part of the larger project '(Trans)Africa', intended to stimulate cultural dialogue between the "north" and the "south". Seventeen artists, 11 of whom are African, have created works in locations of their choice around the old inner city. The project is not uncontroversial and a number of artists participating in the exhibition have voiced their concerns about the attempts of the organisers to concentrate discussions on the artists' identities as African rather than on the content of their work.

A week before the opening there was a formal discussion between a number of participating artists, the curator Piet Vanrobaeys, and a panel of Gent academics. The fact that one of those academics, Rik Pinxton, is an anthroplogist starts to shed light on the "terrain of difficulty" into which the African artists are being placed. After listening to another academic talking at length on traditional African art, Bili Bidjocka attempted to stop the discussion on the grounds that it was irrelevant to the present exhibition. He argued that he didn't make "African" art and wasn't interested in having his work analysed from that perspective. The debate was eventually abandoned by the curator when the artists and the academics found themselves on opposing sides with little upon which they could agree.

Europeans seem to have the most enormous difficulty in separating African traditional art practices from African contemporary art practices. In a special supplementary on '(Trans)Africa' in De Standaard, a Flemish newspaper, an interview with the Cameroon artist, Pascale Marthine Tayou, is flanked by an article on a number of shops that sell "authentic" traditional African art. At a reception after the seminar in Brussels on "Art, (cultural) identity and communication", also a part of '(Trans)Africa', the venue was decorated with traditional African textiles and masks. Belgian lace and clogs were nowhere to be seen, however.

The first three installations of 'Trafique' are in the 14th century Vleeshuis on the Groentenmarkt. Before entering the shell of that building the sounds of a woman screaming are audible from outside. Kendell Geers' video installation is a close-up of a woman's face, twisting and turning in agony. Her eyes, reddened, never look at the camera but seem to acknowledge a number of tormentors to either side of it. Along with the screaming on the soundtrack is what sounds like a Gregorian chant (the lady selling tickets thought it sounded more like an elephant trumpeting) and a series of metallic knocks. It is an aggressive and disturbing work and most viewers, drawn in by the noise, don't stay long enough to contemplate the rather chilling connection between the Vleeshuis location and the video.

In the confined space of a tiny barrel-vaulted basement in which one can just stand without brushing one's head on the ceiling, Moshekwa Langa projects his video Shudder (1997-8). With his hands clasped to his mouth and his eye fixed on the camera, Langa freefalls onto a bed away from, and then bounces back towards, the camera. While the slightly unfocused image of the artist rises and falls, the sounds of the passing traffic on the street above filter down to this strangely private scene. Contemplative and devoid of suggestion, Langa's work is the antithesis of Geers' demonstrative and suggestive work.

Bili Bidjocka's ethereal "chapel" was still a work in progress on the opening day. Lamenting the lack of an assistant, Bidjocka was atop a high ladder installing lighting between rows of metre-long black dresses that line the lengths of the chapel. Once completed this installation promises to be the high point of the exhibition.

Aimé Ntakiyica has taken over the furthest hall of the Vleeshuis for his installation of hanging threads. Row after row of white threads, weighted down by small plaster balls, hang down from ancient wooden beams. Toma Muteba Luntumbue's ring of displaced doors stands on the Veerle Plein in front of the Gravensteen castle. Worked into the surface of each door is its history, its previous placement and the people who lived around it.

On the balconies of buildings on the banks of the river Leie which runs through the inner city of Gent, Pascale Marthine Tayou has set TV monitors showing his 1998 film Looohby. There is no walkway on the right bank of the river and the film can only be seen from across the water on the left bank. In this way he connects the two sides of the river. Looohby was supposed to be a documentary about the artist but Tayou put his friends in front of the camera instead. "It was not the intention to show people that you already know, but to get to know people that you don't yet know."

The same might be said of the intentions of the '(Trans)Africa' project. The artists invited to participate in 'Trafique', however, and this is my only criticism of the show, seem to be the same group who appear regularly on the international conceptual art circuit.

The exhibition closes May 16.

- Reviewer Wendy Morris is an artist and art history honours student at Unisa curently living and working in Belgium


A piece by Andrew Putter
headed for Frankfurt

Cape Town gallery goes to Frankfurt

The Hänel Gallery in Cape Town has this year been invited to participate in the Frankfurt Art Fair in its own right, and director Ellen Hänel will be taking along work by gallery artists including Andrew Putter, Gunter Obojkovits and Rodney Place for the April event.



Mustafa Maluka
Untitled 1998
Acrylic on canvas
1,5 x 1,5m

Capetonian for deAtellier 63

Young Cape Town artist Mustafa Maluka (see July Artbio) has been accepted for study at the highly prestigious deAtellier63 in Amsterdam following a residency in the city at the Thami Mnyele Foundation studio. DeAtellier is a post-graduate painting academy limited to 20 students

His studies will start at the beginning of September, and if after an initial four-month evaluation period Maluka is successful, he will complete the full study period of two years.



Tracey Rose
Span 1/2

'Vice Verses' - Tracey Rose and Minnette Vári in Austria

By Brenda Atkinson

Tracey Rose and Minnette Vári are the South African artists chosen by Clive Kellner to participate in 'Vice Verses', curated by Kellner for the OK Center for Contemporary Art in Austria. The show, which launches OK's 'Dialog' series of guest-curated exhibitions, also includes work by Austrian artists Ella Raidel and Susanne Jirkuff. According to Kellner's catalogue essay, the exhibition "proposes to examine questions of cultural transference" under the rubric of a dialogical exchange of "knowledge and artistic expression".

As Kellner puts it, "imagining the self refers to several variations for revealing the complex narratives that define identity/ies in the global metropolis". The concept for the shows also touches on the idea of bodies as cities/sites, "foreignness", and the historical "exchange", such as it has been, between Europe and Africa. Judging from the catalogue, it's an interesting cross-over between four distinctive and powerful artists.

The show closed at the end of the first week in April.



A detail of the invitation
to 'New Worlds'

'New Worlds' opens in London

'New Worlds', an exhibition exploring some of the relationships fostered by Great Britain with Australia, Canada and South Africa, opened in the Canada House gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, on March 30. Curators Sunil Gupta and Edward Ward of the Organisation for Visual Arts drew on postmodern ideas and multiple cultural heritages, both indigenous and brought in by the migrants who settled there, to assemble their show. The following artists are participating: Canada: Rebecca and Kenny Baird; Dominique Blain, Trevor Gould, Leila Sujir and Jin-me Yoon; Australia: Richard Bell, Gordon Bennet, Elizabeth Gertsakis and Fiona Hall; South Africa: Willie Bester, Moshekwa Langa, Brett Murray, Clive van den Berg and Sue Williamson.

The image on the invitation is a detail from a series of photographs by Jin-me Yoon, a Canadian of Vietnamese heritage, in which she poses herself and other immigrants against a background of traditional Canadian paintings (the Pierneefs of the Rockies) of snowy mountains and glaciers, reflecting on the immigrant experience.

The exhibition will run until June 18. A review by Jennifer Law will appear in ArtThrob in May. See also the Editor's London Journal below.



Brett Murray
Truth: Quiet Lesson 1996
Mixed media

Sophie Calle discusses
future projects with
a gallery goer at the
Camden Art Centre

The Manhattan phone booth
appropriated by Calle

At the Freud Museum: one of
Calle's pink cards, a glove,
confetti and a wedding picture
next to a Freudian family photo

Editor's London Journal

Thursday, March 25 Back in London for the opening of the 'New Worlds' exhibition at Canada House. Fourteen artists from Australia, Canada and South Africa are showing here on the first leg of the exhibition, which will also travel to all of the participating countries. The theme is "a response and a challenge to a common British heritage". The South Africans on the show are Brett Murray, Moshekwa Langa, Clive van den Berg, Willie Bester and myself, and Brett and I have arrived this morning to organise our part of it. The Canada House gallery is very small, and there seems to be far too much work standing around to ever fit in. I open up the crates I packed in Cape Town. Three Truth Games pieces. Well, at least the work is undamaged. Brett is having to replace the glass insert in one of his pieces, and has brought his own tools to do this.

Friday, March 26 Spend the morning trying to finish up the copy for April ArtThrob, then at 2pm get an urgent call from Sunil Gupta, the curator, to please come and hang the work, a visit is expected from the Assistant Canadian High Commissioner. Or should they do it? But I prefer to judge spacings and heights myself. Soon I find myself explaining my work to the Canadian official delegation, wondering how they are reacting behind the polite smiles. Today all the work has been rearranged in the gallery space, and suddenly it looks like a show.

Sunday, March 28 Today is the last day of the Sophie Calle shows at the Camden Art Centre and The Freud Museum. I saw the first part of the show, but now I want to see it again, and the artist will be there herself, receiving suggestions from the gallery goers as to what her next project will be, in line with the way she lives and works, deciding almost on whim what new direction to take. The Art Centre is packed again. Her work, documentation photographs accompanied by a printed text narrative of the development of the project, seems to appeal to everyone. For instance: going to New York for the first time, the artist, who is French, asked writer friend Paul Auster for some pointers as to how to behave. His "Personal Instructions for Sophie Calle on How to Improve Life in New York City" read "Keep Smiling. Talk to Strangers. Give Food and Cigarettes to the Homeless. Appropriate a Public Space." "I followed his instructions," writes Calle. She took over a phone booth in lower Manhattan, decorating it with flowers, providing chairs, talking and smiling to passers-by, handing out sandwiches and cigarettes - and documenting her daily activities. At the Freud Museum, a house devoted to the life of the famous Sigmund, Calle has scattered a series of little pink cards around the house, poetic and poignant tellings of incidents from a love affair that led to a marriage and then to a divorce. Photographs and memorabilia of her own are situated amongst the Freudian relics, and the play of the two very different lives adds a resonance to the readings.



Sights of London:
Standing outside Canada House,
I see two huge bronze cats on
the back of a truck, being driven
past the National Gallery

An illicit and therefore badly
taken photo of Chris Burden's
When Robots Rule: The Two
Minute Airplane Factory

Richard Bell
Acronym: AVO,CSA, etc 1999
Acrylic on canvas

Moshekwa Langa
My Life as a Disco Queen 1998
Inkjet prints on vinyl

Sue Williamson
Three pieces from the
'Truth Games' series
installed in Canada House

Editor's London Journal II

Monday, March 29 Over to Canada House to check on the lighting for the show. It looks very flat as it is. The technician wobbles around on a ladder and says the swivelling spot lights don't swivel and they're too hot to handle. I pick up a cloth, displace him on the ladder, and swivel them the way I want, until as much light as possible is concentrated onto the work, leaving the intervening wall space interestingly shadowed. I quite enjoy this, and continue on around the space.

This done - the press conference is tomorrow - Brett Murray and I look for today's art fix. Most galleries are closed on Mondays, but the Tate is open. American artist Chris Burden is showing a piece called When Robots Rule: the Two-Minute Airplace Factory. It's a 20 metre computer-operated construction of pulleys, sliding sections and conveyer belts, all very high tech, which is supposed to produce at the end a small paper and balsa wood aeroplane of the kind that any 10-year-old can produce in an hour or two. The gallery will sell these little planes for five pounds. It's a witty conceit, this huge construction to produce the elegant little toys, but the problem is, it's not working. The show opened mid-March for three months, and now it is 10 days later and the production line hasn't yet started. Robots do Rule, it seems.

Tuesday, March 30 The day before the opening, and the press conference is at noon. Exhibition manager Edward Ward of the OVA has put the text up next to the pieces now, and everything looks as good as possible in the small gallery. Leading from the back of the gallery is a passage with a monitor showing a video called Dreams of the Night Cleaners by Leila Sujir of Montreal; there is work on both sides of the corridor, and in a tiny gallery off this, work by four more artists including two large self-portrait photographs by Moshekwa Langa, ink jet prints on vinyl from his series 'My Life as a Disco Queen'. Here, too, is a new video from Clive van den Berg from his series 'Memorials Without Facts'. A woman arrives and announces she is Moshekwa's gallerist from Holland, come to photograph his work in situ. She seems taken aback to find there are only two pieces in a small space. "Is this all?" she asks.

For the press conference, tables have been set up in a large ballroom facing the tiny gallery, press kits are laid out, and wine is being served. One lady arrives but turns out to be not a journalist but a Canadian art historian called Chris. Well, this is London, I suppose, and the press are no doubt pretty blasé about which invitations they accept. Edward whispers to me that they will phone and invite art journalists who might be particularly interested again in a week's time. Anyway, it's an opportunity for the artists to relax and talk to each other. Ex-South African Trevor Gould, who showed in the greenhouse in Joubert Park on the first Johannesburg Biennale, is here from Montreal, together with Leila Sujir, and from Australia have come Fiona Hall and Aboriginal artist Richard Bell.

Wednesday, March 31 The opening today is at 6pm, and after the poorly attended press conference of the day before, we really don't know what to expect, but the galleries and ballroom quickly become packed. It's good to see Jennifer Law again, who is hard at work on a book on South African art which should be out later this year, and artist Frances Goodman, now studying at Goldsmiths in London. South African High Commissioner in London Cheryl Carolus was scheduled to give a speech at the opening, but at the last minute a previous engagement is announced. Cultural attache Jeanne Denyer has come and is her usual cheerful self, but to be frank, the embassy has shown very little interest in its visiting artists, particularly when Clive van den Berg and I recall the warm enthusiasm of Raymond Suttner and Nombaniso Gaza in Stockholm, who not only came to all the opening events and spoke, but also gave a cocktail party for the artists to meet locals at their home. Tonight, as at all openings, the work on the walls seems virtually ignored as guests quaff wine and greet friends. The evening ends with an excellent dinner at Browns, hosted by the Canadian embassy for all the artists, curators, and others involved in the exhibition.



Paul Smith
Make My Night 1998
Colour photograph

Tomoko Takahashi
Installation detail

Brian C Griffiths
Osaka 1997
Mixed media

Brian Griffiths
Installation detail

Banners for 'New Worlds'
Outside Canada House

Editor's London Journal III

Wednesday, March 31 Artists' talks today - all the artists who have come to London for the exhibition opening will give a half-hour presentation on their work in a lecture theatre in Canada House. This is meant to provide the public with an insight into the artists' concepts and working methods, but also to allow the artists themselves to get a better knowledge of their colleagues. It's interesting to note that although often one likes the work of a particular artist more after half an hour of contextual videos, slides and chat, it sometimes works the other way round too: a boring delivery can cause one to lose interest in the work. It's co-curator Edward Ward's 40th birthday, and the lunchtime break is accompanied by cake and warm champagne. At the end of the day we emerge blinking into gorgeous sunshine, and find a wine bar near the Embankment for a farewell drink.

Thursday, April 1 As they say in the travel intineraries: Free day. Follow your own programme. This includes nothing very much, like hanging out, drinking wine, watching videos.

Friday, April 2 Well, it's off to the Saatchi today for a mandatory look at what is being presented as the latest in the Saatchi showcase: 'Neurotic Realism: Part I'. This somewhat desperate tag ("well, we must call it something", one imagines someone saying) covers the work of a number of disparate EYBAs - even younger British artists - enjoying the spotlight shows like 'Sensation' brought to the London scene. There are large bad boy paintings by Martin Maloney of group gropes in gay clubs; some limp, stocking stuffed soft sculptures by Steven Gontarski; and two series of photographs by Paul Smith - Artist Rifle Series and Make My Night in which the artist plays all the roles. Quite funny, but a bit thin.

In the large gallery, Tomoko Takahasi presents a scene of end-of-millennial desolation - a landscape of malfunctioning technology buzzing and throbbing set among piles of urban detritus. Taped black pathways on the cement floor suggest passages through the waste, but any attempt to follow them is soon blocked by yet another snowily blinking screen. In the back gallery, technology is handled in a very different way by Paul Smith, who sets up banks of control desks which, if you look fast enough, resemble a Cape Canaveral-type scene - but everything has been put together with cardboard and plastic waste. Not a great show by any means, but the last two pieces make the trek out to Swiss Cottage worth it.

Saturday, April 3 Last day in London. Going home late at night, pass Canada House. Banners for our show have been put up, on both sides of the building, long hangings of red and white. It's exciting to see them there.



Brett Murray, Pauline Behrman
of the Thami Mnyele Foundation
with baby Oscar, Lisa Brice,
Ina, Jeremy Wafer

Detail of a machine in the
Textile Museum making
towels for tourists

Jan de Lange, Lisa Brice
and Brett Murray in the
Archive, The Hague

Newspaper pic of our
presentation at Interpolis
shows Deborah Landman,
Jack Mensink, Brett Murray,
Lisa Brice, myself and
Rob Moonen

Editor's Holland Journal

Monday, April 3 Brett Murray, Lisa Brice and I are in Tilburg in the south of Holland to get a new project underway. Each working with a Dutch partner artist, we will design large wall-hangings to be made up by craftsmen on antique machines at the Textile Museum here. The project will be called 'On Line En Face'; designs will be worked on over the internet, using a website to be linked to ArtThrob. Today is Easter Monday, and our host Jack Mensink and his wife Deborah have arranged a party for us to meet some of the artists and others involved in the project. Some guests have driven down from Amsterdam - Durban artist Jeremy Wafer, currently in residence at the Thami Mnyele; Pauline Behrman and baby Oscar; Ina from Stellenbosch, now working here. We'd hoped Moshekwa Langa would make it, but his constant busyness is becoming a matter of legend.

Tuesday, April 4 A visit to the Textile Museum to meet the director, Carin Reinders. The museum is a handsome old Victorian industrial building, now with a gallery space in the lower part. I meet my artist partners, Liesbeth Blok and Rob van der Pol, who work as a team; Rob Moonen, who will work with Kevin Brand, is here too. The possibilities of the machines are exciting: classic damasks and household items with repeat images can be woven; rugs in punched wool can be designed working from projected images; there are machines to weave name tapes,and ropes can be twisted. The scale of the pieces will be 3x2 metres, and the challenge will be to come up with a shared concept which utilises and pushes the techniques available to produce a strong contemporary art object. Following the visit, there is a press interview, then the evening is spent preparing a presentation on the project for the following day.

Wednesday, April 5 Take the morning train to The Hague to meet curator Jan de Lange of the Stichting Kunsmanifestasies to discuss an entirely unrelated project. I have worked with Jan in the past, on a project called 'Ku(n)slijn' in the town of Hoorn, and now he is offering me, Brett and Lisa the opportunity to do something in two quite different art spaces in The Hague sometime in the year 2000. Jan meets the train, and we walk quickly across the historic centre of the city to the first space, Quartier, a white space in an old factory which through Stroom, a Dutch organisation involved in public art, hosts a series of interventions by international artists for six months of each year.

A few photos of the interior, then it's on to the Stroom offices to pick up some catalogues and documentation on past projects. No time to lose for we must soon be back on the train to Tilburg for Jack's presentation, we hurry to the second space, the Archive. Deep inside another building is this extraordinary space: four floors of narrow cast iron walkways giving access to walls of shelves, all around a central well, lit by an arched skylight from above.

Later, back in Tilburg, the presentation on the textile project takes place in the plush and contemporary setting of the screening room of Interpolis, a huge insurance company with a commitment to contemporary art. Museum people have come down from Amsterdam and there is a representative from the local city council. Wim Jansen, Jack, Brett and Carin Reinders all talk, show slides and videos, and my part of the presentation involves throwing the current ArtThrob on to the screen, and explaining how the linked website will work.



Series: The Professional Artist III: Writing Your CV

As articles on getting a job will tell you, your CV is all-important in giving potential curators/gallerists/buyers the first impression of yourself. There is no one way to write a CV, but there are some important pointers to keep in mind.

1. Layout and appearance are important. Get someone who knows about type to help you set the information out, and then keep it on computer so it can be updated frequently.

2. The biggest mistake most South African artists make is to start their CVs at the beginning of their professional lives and work towards the present. This should be reversed, as what you are doing now is much more important than what you did when you started out.

Here is a framework you could follow:

Curriculum Vitae   Your name

Born:   Year and Place

Studio:   Address, Phone No, E-mail

Work in Progress:   List all the important projects and exhibitions you are working for that haven't happened yet, starting with the one furthest in the future

One Person Exhibitions:   Start with the most current and work backwards, eg
1999   Title of Exhibition, Gallery, City

Selected Group Exhibitions:
1999   Title of Exhibition, Gallery, City, Curator/s

1999   Title of Publication, Date, Title of Article, Page No

1999   Title of Award, Place

Year   Name of Institution   Degree attained

Public Collections:
Name of Institution, Place

... MWeb

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