Okwui Enwezor at the 2nd
Johannesburg Biennale


Okwui Enwezor named Documenta director

Okwui Enwezor, director of the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale in 1997, has been named as the director of Documenta XI to take place in Kassel, Germany, in 2002. This is arguably the most coveted curatorial assignment in the world, and, most significantly, is a firm confirmation of the rise in importance on the world art scene of artists and curators from Latin America, Africa and Asia - good news for artists from this country. The appointment of Enwezor by the Documenta Selection Committee no doubt follows on at least in part from the internationally perceived success of the Johannesburg Biennale (ArtThrob No 14).



Candice Breitz
Surrogate Portrait ("Nelson")
24" x 20"

Candice Breitz
Surrogate Portrait ("Winnie")
24" x 20"

Sandile Zulu
Frontline with Target 1997

Leora Farber
Morgan 1998
At Jibby Beane in London

Artists overseas: Geers, Breitz, Zulu, Farber

Kendell Geers, one of three artists participating in the ArtPace Foundation for Contemporary Art international artist-in-residence programme in San Antonio, Texas, recently exhibited there the work he made during his eight-week stint at the foundation. TW (Shoot) is a video installation drawn from the artist's "cultural observations of Texas and South Africa, where racial politics, violence and mythology are part of everyday life". From old footage, Geers edited together hundreds of scenes of guns being shot, and these are projected at strobe-like speed from monitors hung from the ceiling.

This month, Candice Breitz (Artbio, ArtThrob No 14) will hold two one-person exhibitions in European cities: in Cologne at the Johnen and Schöttle Gallery, opening November 6, and in Stockholm on November 14 at the Galleri Roger Björkholmen. In Stockholm, Breitz will exhibit works from the Rorschach Series (1997). A completely new series of work will be exhibited in Cologne for the first time: the Surrogate Portrait Series (1998) is a series of portraits of individuals who have agreed to submit themselves to "universal surrogacy" - that is, to stand in as surrogates for individuals other than themselves. The portraits are part of a larger work which includes a "Surrogate Archive" and a "Surrogate Manifesto".

Next month, Sandile Zulu will present recent installations created using the artist's usual techniques of engraving with fire onto wood, fibres and reeds at the 6th Biennial Festival of the Contemporary Art of the Seychelles to be held in the National Gallery in Victoria, Australia.

Leora Farber, at present resident in Knoxville, Tennessee, is currently showing at Jibby Beane at 12 Clerkenwell Road in London. To quote from the gallery website, "In the gallery window sits a headless female torso, "Morgan", positioned cross-legged on a surgical trolley. The wax-modelled, found-object sculptures by Leora Farber are installed with complementary colour photographs. Her work deals with representations for the female form, particularly in relation to processes of control, whereby the female body is a symbol of containment and suppression.



Untitled piece in concrete, steel
and newspaper by Ledelle Moe

Sue Williamson
Messages from the Moat
Installed in the Kulturhuset

Tom Cullberg
Plastic, perspex, wood,
feathers, electric fans

Tom Cullberg

Tom Cullberg

Clive van den Berg
Fire drawing to mark the
opening of 'Dreams and Clouds'

Isolde Krams in performance
at the opening

Isolde Krams' installation
on 'Dreams and Clouds'

From 'Democracy's Images'
Bildmuseet, Umea
Senzeni Marasela
Untitled 1998
Sandblasted mirror

From 'In Visible Light'
at the Moderna Museet
Steven Pippin
(Walked Naked)
Black and white photograph

From 'In Visible Light'
at the Moderna Museet
Rosamond Wolff Purcell
Arm Holding Eye Socket 1992
Colour photograph

Sue Williamson's Stockholm Journal

Monday, September 28: Arrive from London, and am met by a taxi driver holding a board with my name on it. Oh, the bliss of being met this way instead of scrambling to find the cheapest form of public transport into town! Our hotel is the Torkan - an artists' hotel with simple accommodation, so new no one's ever heard of it, and the hotel signage is on a scrap of paper stuck on the front door.

Viktoria Smedman from the Kulturhuset, the Stockholm city Culture House, escorts me through the streets to the complex, which looks rather like the Pompidou in Paris - same architect. Our exhibition, 'Dreams and Clouds', curated by Ingemar Arnesson and Wessel van Huysteen, is to be in the Gallery on the top floor, the fifth. My piece is an unwieldy installation entitled Messages from the Moat involving 1 500 engraved and stencilled bottles, half of which are suspended in a net from a high steel bracket, while the other half are to float in a specially constructed "moat". I have arrived a couple of days before the other artists to iron out problems, but when I get up to the space, the bottles are already swinging in the air. Much too low. And not put in the net right. Oh dear. "I'm afraid they're all going to have come down again," I say.

Tuesday, September 29: Meet two other early arrivals, Siemon Allen and Ledelle Moe, both of whom flew in from Washington yesterday, in the hotel corridor. They will both work on erecting Ledelle's piece today, and tackle Siemon's tomorrow. Ledelle made her piece, a group of four horse-like animals, by welding an armature, then cutting that into pieces, stuffing them with newspaper, then laying over a cement skin. The gallery looks like a weird butcher's shop, giant limbs and backs all over the place, as she and Siemon wrestle the pieces into position. I am given an assistant and a sort of cherrypicker vehicle to get all the bottles down again. By mid-afternoon, we are ready to start again. Later that night, Siemon, Ledelle and I leave for the hotel. We'll stop for a drink on the way. But beer is almost R40 by our exchange rate, a gin and tonic almost R50. Certainly stops you getting over-excited.

Wednesday, September 30: Today brings fresh arrivals - Jo Ractliffe, who is showing her large colour photographs of chewed up doggie toys; Isolde Krams, Kevin Brand, Sandile Zulu, Santu Mofokeng, Maureen de Jager, Clive van den Berg and Willem Boshoff. By the end of the day, my bottles are up, thank goodness. Tomorrow we can start on the moat.

Thursday, October 1: The press preview is tomorrow, and everyone is scrambling to get their work up, with the usual competition for the services of the technical assistants and the lighting people. I am delighted with my space, a 13-metre recess with a high raking ceiling, and soft grey concrete walls. We light the suspended bottles to cast a shadow on the walls, and the water sends out glints, and I really think it looks better than it did in the Electric Workshop.

Friday, October 2: So many press! In one of the three restaurants in the Kulturhuset, the one adjoining our show, there's breakfast and champagne for about 50 journalists,and Albie Sachs is there to speak, as are the director of the Kulturhuset, Christina Bjork, and the curators, Wessel and Ingemar. Then the exhibition doors are opened. It's always unnerving having to be by your work to answer questions about it, and this time is no different.

Tonight, the South African ambassador to Sweden, Raymond Suttner and his wife Nomboniso Gasa throw a cocktail party for us in their apartment. Also there is Katarina Pierre, the curator of the other show of South African work in Sweden at present - 'Democracy's Images' in the Bildmuseet in Umea. She has brought me a catalogue of the show - a really great catalogue, with excellent essays and interviews with all the artists. It's so good to see her and to relax a bit. And we all go to a jazz club afterwards.

Saturday, October 3: The Kulturhuset is situated right above the Central Station in Stockholm, with a plaza filled with people coming and going at all hours. On the upper level of the plaza, right outside the Kulturhuset, Swedish artist Tom Cullberg - whom we think of as a Cape Town artist really, because he was at Michaelis and part of the Sluice Group - has constructed a piece called Featherdome as part of the show. This is a large see-through inflatable bubble with a perspex cylinder set in the middle, the whole set on a white wooden structure. Hidden fans keep drifts of white feathers whirling about, and the viewer can climb up stairs inside the cylinder and become a part of the piece. People love it, it's such fun, and there are always queues.

The opening! Lots of people, lots of talk, and as night falls, Clive van den Berg and helpers light a blazing cross on the Sergelstorget. There's a concert by Tu Nokwe and her band, and a party.

Sunday, October 4: At last, a free morning. Time for a visit to the Moderna Museet, where the curator is David Elliott. Spend time viewing a beautiful exhibition entitled 'In Visible Light: Photography and Classification in Art, Science and the Everyday'. "Rightly or wrongly," reads the catalogue, "the photograph has often been regarded as a form of scientific truth." It is this notion that the exhibition examines and deconstructs, showing photographs dating from the beginning of the history of the medium to the work of contemporary photographers such as Cindy Sherman and Andres Serrano, with his photographs of bodies taken in the New York City morgue.

This afternoon, the last of the official opening events - a panel discussion at the Kulturhuset. The moderator is Inger Heldal, and the panelists are SANG curator Emma Bedford, David Elliott, Andries Oliphant, Albie Sachs, Santu Mofokeng, Sandile Zulu and me. South African style, the discussion, loosely on the role of art and artists in the new dispensation, gets extremely heated. "Art and politics in action!" says David Eliott later. "I was riveted!"

...ZA@PLAY   MWeb

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