Detail of an oil painting
on velvet by Tracy Payne -
one of the artists on

'Unplugged', round three

This is the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery's third annual exercise in "soft" curating: the last artist on the previous year's list invites the first of the next year's, who invites the next and so on till the roster reaches 20. Year one featured mainly Gauteng artists and attracted rather acid reviews; year two's selections veered down to Cape Town before returning to Johannesburg, and the reviews improved slightly. This year, the list seems to feature mainly Cape Town or Stellenbosch artists, including a fair number of photographers: Jean Brundrit, Kathy Grundlingh, Adam Letch and Geoff Grundlingh. The reviews? We'll have to wait and see. But the mix looks interesting.



Cecil Skotnes
Ravine Wall series 1998
Oil on wood
144 x 144cm

Cecil Skotnes

Now in his 70s, Cecil Skotnes is one of very few South African artists to have been honoured with a major retrospective of his work, an exhibition which has been touring the country's leading art institutions for the past 18 months. 'Ravine Walls', currently running at the Goodman, is the artist's new work, classic Skotnes, sinuous and powerful African landscapes in rich earth colours. Harsh as the walls of Skotnes' beloved Brandberg ravines are, the human figure can be discerned, transmogrified into the landscape: Skotnes' homage to those who lived on the land before the invasion of the colonisers.

The show closes on June 13. Phone: 788-1113.

Update: 'Still in Our Land 1998', an exhibition of new work by Willie Bester and Zwelethu Mthethwa, opens on Saturday June 20 and closes on July 11.



FaŤade of the Speedy
Bag Factory in Fordsburg

'All in the Bag'

The "all" here are the artists of the famous/notorious Speedy Bag Factory in downtown Johannesburg, that essential first stop for visiting overseas curators, and studio home at one time or another to many of Gauteng's better-known art practitioners. Their run at the Sandton Civic is quite brief - May 20 to June 6 - so if you're not prepared to venture to those parts of town below the Market Theatre, you'll have to rush to catch them in the heart of yuppiedom.



Justin Anschutz
Sandpin 1998
Sand and recycled cardboard
Ht: 180cm

Justin Anschutz

Young Cape Town artist Justin Anschutz puts up his work at the Karen McKerron Gallery this month - his show opens on June 15. Anschutz's pieces grow organically in his studio, formed mainly from found objects which are glued and dowelled together, attacked with an angle grinder, carved, painted, cut apart, wired up and bound with cloth until Anschutz feels that resolution has been reached. His themes are personal yet universal: the mystery of existence, mortality and identity. Three downward points on one untitled piece (see contents) represent "Roots growing downwards, or the points of a plug. Connectivity." Tactile, colourful, vigorous, Anschutz's work presents a fresh and satisfying vision.

The show closes on July 1. The Karen McKerron Gallery is at 42 Mandeville Road, Bryanston, and the phone number is 704-2537.



The invitation to Neville
Gabie's exhibition


'Playing Away'

Neville Gabie's show 'Playing Away' (nice title) ties in neatly with South Africa's first-ever qualification for the World Cup Soccer final. Eleven goal posts have been photographed in situ - 10 in this country, and the last in the stadium where the finals will be played in Paris. In addition to the photographs, Gabie has produced a limited edition book. Opening at the Johannesburg Civic Gallery in Braamfontein on June 10. Closes July 7. For more info, call Antoinette at 403-3408.



Anton Karstel
A page from 'Wonderful South
Africa' the book, and
Karstel's painting


Another painting by Anton Karstel


Anton Karstel at the Millennium

In a period of post-rainbowist malaise, the title of conceptual artist Anton Karstel's show, 'Wonderful South Africa', can only be ironic, and so it proves. It is, in fact, the title of a 1940s publication which sets out to depict the country from the vantage point of the colonialist. The emphasis of the book is on the country's exotic allure and mineral resources, and the photographs are the source of reference for all the paintings on the show. "My intention," says Karstel, "is to simultaneously seduce the viewer and disturb her sensation of aesthetic pleasure with an awareness of the source. Photography here functions as a funnel that connects fragments of reality from over 50 years ago with the present. While the photographs retain enough information to transport the viewer into an actual social environment, the paintings transmute the information and submerge it into the self-contained world of fine art."

'Wonderful South Africa' opens on May 31 at 6pm and closes on June 20. The Millennium Gallery is located at 75 George Storrar Drive, Groenkloof, Pretoria, and the phone number is (012) 46-8217.



Tony Scullion
Detail of painting 1998
200 x 50cm


Tony Scullion

It is difficult to view Tony Scullion's work without experiencing a strong sense of discomfort - the kind of awkwardness one might feel on finding oneself suddenly in direct eye-contact with a confrontational or damaged inmate of a state hospital. Human casualty, frailty, the mutations on the fragile self wrought by the strictures and requirements of society manifest themselves in Scullion's paintings. This new series, entitled 'Natural Selection', is a development of the artist's earlier theme of "hospitals".

Trained at the Glasgow School of Art, Scullion paints in the classic manner. At Joao Ferreira Fine Art, 80 Hout Street, until the end of the month.



Cathy de Monchaux
Velvet, metal, lead

Hovering somewhere between a
portable Victorian banquette and
a bed of nails, this faultlessly
constructed piece occupies a space
between eroticism and sado-masochism

British Sculpture at the SANG

'A Changed World - British Sculpture 1963-1996', the British Council-sponsored exhibition, has now moved from the Johannesburg Art Gallery to the South African National Gallery where it will be on show until July 26. It has been said that each generation of British sculptors has taken as its mission a determination to destroy all the tenets and positions that the previous generation set up - and with this 30-year survey of such senior sculptors as Eduoardo Paolozzi and Anthony Caro reaching right down to YBAs Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread, viewers will be able to test this theory for themselves.



Stuart Barnes
Check for Mutilation on Return 1998
Installation detail
Disposable nappy, lead, card, fabric

Stuart Barnes

This installation by recent graduate Stuart Barnes relates to his strange discovery that books in public library services on the subject of intersexuality - individuals displaying physical characteristics of both sexes - are often defaced. From this, his wider conclusion is that society in general does not tolerate such sexual ambiguity, and the disposable diapers of his installation suggest a sadistic correction process. 'Check for Mutilation on Return' is the kind of directive one finds in the back of a library book - but in this case, with areas cut out of the diapers to reveal a variety of materials such as lead, the title has a chilling overtone.

The exhibition closes on June 13.



Julia Clark
I Want to Carry Everything
With Me Forever
(detail) 1997-98
Found objects

Some of the safe deposit boxes

Idasa Gallery

The current show of contemporary work by Cape Town artists at the new Idasa Gallery finishes on June 5, and the gallery will remain unadorned until August. Idasa is committed to bringing art workshops to be conducted on school premises to those underprivileged institutions lacking such facilities, and as part of this outreach programme, the next gallery event will be a fundraiser. In the vaults of the old bank is a strong box cabinet with 30 locked deposit boxes. Artists will be asked to make an object to be locked into these boxes, and then businesses will be asked to purchase the contents of a box, without knowing which artist's work will be inside, at a cost of at least R2 000. Work by participating artists will hang in the gallery at the same time. For more information, phone 461-2559.

'Prime Time' at the AVA

More than 50 Cape artists, all well-known names, all established, are showing on this outsize group show at the Association for Visual Arts which opens June 1 and continues until the 20th of the month. To pick a few names at random to give you some idea: Bruce Arnott, Claude Bouscharain, Peter Clarke, Neville Dubow, Alice Goldin, Erik Laubscher, Stanley Pinker, Caroline van der Merwe, Jan Vermeiren, Marjorie Wallace are all participating.

The AVA website can be visited at

Update: Shows of new work by Cape Town artists Leon Vermeulen and Mustafa Maluka opened on June 15 and will be reviewed in ArtThrob in July.



Invitation to the
'Childhood' exhibition

'Childhood' at the Irma Stern

Four young Cape Town artists examine their varying backgrounds and upbringings in this collaborative installation, which opens at the UCT Irma Stern Museum on June 3. Gregg Smith (Long Street Baths habitues will know his murals of Cape Town street life), Mustafa Maluka (set up a HOLLYWOOD-style name on the slopes of District 6 during the Sculpture Festival last year), Ice and Skye 1 are the artists involved. The result, say the artists, is "a collision of diverse cultural traditions including gangster graffiti, hip hop, activism, pop culture and traditional fine art".

There will be a DJ performance at the opening at 6pm on Tuesday June 2, and a walkabout by the artists on Saturday June 6 at 3pm. The show closes June 24. The UCT Irma Stern Museum is in Cecil Road, Rosebank, and is open from Tuesday to Saturday between 10am and 5pm.



Detail from a painting by
Medina Morphet, now on at
the Lipshitz

Medina Morphet at the Lipschitz Gallery

The current show at the Lipschitz Gallery features work by Medina Morphet. "'Convexion'," says the artist, "is an exhibition about the absence and presence of material, of movement, of camouflage and colour, of visibility and suggestion." The artist uses a predominantly white palette, the colour of light and of heat in a wide range of tones, both opaque and transparent, to achieve her ends. The show closes June 14.



The NSA in June

Four artists are showing work in the first half of June: Virginia McKenny with 'Sky Journeys', a "small show of larger spaces"; 'Transcience - Two Spiritual Journeys' is an exhibition of recent work by Joshna Naidoo and Jane Jarvis; and Carol-Anne Gainer's show is entitled 'EX-POSED'. All these exhibitions run until June 11.

... ZA@PLAY   MWeb

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