GOODMAN GALLERY, JOHANNESBURG, 25 AUGUST - 22 SEPTEMBER 2012
GALLERY MOMO, JOHANNESBURG, 20 SEPTEMBER - 15 OCTOBER 2012
KZNSA GALLERY, DURBAN, 23 OCTOBER - 4 NOVEMBER 2012
CIRCA, JOHANNESBURG, 23 JULY - 25 AUGUST 2012
JOHANNESBURG ART GALLERY, JOHANNESBURG, 15 JULY - 14 OCTOBER 2012
Entering Diane Victor's Reap and Sow at David Krut Projects in Chelsea, one immediately encounters "The Grand Magician" (2012), a large format drypoint intaglio print combining Escher-esque spatial distortions with caricature in the vein of Honoré Daumier. The print depicts a behatted illusionist smiling deviously as he presents his twisted creation: a fountain that pumps filth in an impossible perpetual cycle.
A strange evening hue hangs about, deepening the already intense green that could only be in a park in some mid-western part of Europe. An electronica beat pumps through the otherwise static air.
"Hello. I'm in here."Just finished sorting out my video piece."Oh cool. Sjoe, I'm like terrified by this work."What? This net? Why?"Look at those shadows! They are all looming and gnarled and grasping. It looks like they are moving towards you."Oh, yeah, I guess. Seeing it out of context."I get the old four-poster bed with tattered mosquito net vibe. The rhythm of the metronome reminds me of breathing. It's pretty nightmarish."The rhythm does make you feel uneasy. Ha! I'm going to tell Katherine that she is giving people nightmares."Oh, is Katherine the artist?"Yes. Katherine Spindler. Her work is actually all nautically themed. So that motion is supposed to be the sea and these are like fishing nets."Oh, yes that makes sense."Just shows how weird these exhibitions are, taking fragments of exhibitions to make a new exhibition."
GALLERY MOMO, JOHANNESBURG, 15 MARCH - 16 APRIL 2012
SMAC GALLERY (STELLENBOSCH), STELLENBOSCH, 29 MARCH - 24 MAY 2012
Good arts writing not only shapes your opinion of an artist but also tends to delimit your experience of individual artworks - especially if you read about a collection or exhibition before seeing it for yourself, up close and in person.
Liza Grobler revamps the gallery space of Brundyn + Gonsalves with her ninth solo exhibition. The white cube of the downstairs exhibition space has been transformed into the brilliant blue of a "Greek Island," as deemed by the Plascon colour swatch. If there is any dispute the colour swatch code, b6 - a1- 1, appears on the wall (just behind where the wine is generously handed out on opening nights) in silver, gleaming vinyl.
There's a scene in the film Mary Poppins where the Banks children and the rather eccentric chimneysweep Bert (played by Dick van Dyke, of course) visit a friend who is prone to hysterical laughter. We find this friend floating near the ceiling of his attic home, high, it would seem, on the giggles. The laughter is contagious and by the end of the scene it is only the schoolmarmish gravitas of Ms Poppins that brings the group back to earth.
The Erdmann Contemporary and Photographers Gallery is currently showing Barbara Wildenboer's sixth solo exhibition, titled "Canaries in the Coalmine," 2 May - 9 June 2012.
Con te Partirò: 20 years, 240 months, 170 photographersEdited by Antonella GallinoRizzoli, New York2012
Land and Environmental ArtEdited by Jeffrey KastnerSurvey essay by Brian WallisPhaidon Press, Limited, London2010 (1998)
The Art MuseumEdited by Amanda RenshawPhaidon, London and New York2011
A Floribundant Journey Edited by Petro van der Westhuisen Illustrations by Daleen Roodt Legacy Underwriting Managers, Pretoria 2012
Elliot Erwitt's Paris, New York: teNeues, 2010, ISBN 978-8327-9414-9
Exit Mode is South African-born and Berlin-based painter Carla Busuttil's first large solo exhibition in her home country, following a string of successes in Europe.
This comprehensive introduction to the genre of land and environmental art is in its second edition, and continues to be an invaluable resource on the topic.
The Erdmann Contemporary and Photographers Gallery is currently showing Barbara Wildenboer's sixth solo exhibition, titled "Canaries in the Coalmine." Before visiting the Erdmann Contemporary, I conducted a little research on the artist Barbara Wildenboer. I skipped through a few images of her intricately cut out maps and visceral, organic, floral collages. I felt confident that the exhibition "Canaries in the Coalmine" was to be the work of the flouncy lovechild of South African contemporary artists Lyndi Sales and Gerhard Marx.
In late October, just before the trees turned skeletal with the onset of the London winter, I took a train to Wapping, a reinvented industrial district on the steely banks of the Thames, to experience an intriguing-sounding new project, Wrecking at Private Siding 661, by Bridget Baker. Baker was born in East London in the Eastern Cape and is now based in metropolitan East London.
South African-born and raised, but resident in Germany for many years, Candice Breitz has established a significant international reputation. She takes the detritus of popular culture as a main theme, repurposing and recontextualising her material as a lens-based bricoleur, collagist and commentator on mainstream film, fan culture and the idea of celebrity,among others. Despite her heavyweight profile and critical high regard internationally, she has never enjoyed a major survey show in the land of her birth. This omission has now been corrected through the combined good offices of the Standard Bank Gallery, the Goethe-Institut and the artist's newly appointed local representative, Goodman Gallery. The body of work will go from the Standard Bank Gallery in the artist's native Johannesburg, to Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town.
Sean Slemon's solo exhibition The Sun Stands Still, timed to coincide with the northern winter solstice, when the earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun, comprised three sculptural elements accompanied by photographic prints and delicate line drawings: cast shadows, deconstructed trees and a work that re-imagines lumber in its original natural form.
Because it took so long to see the light of day, Visual Century generated much talk, speculation and anticipation. A great deal of publicity and hype accompanied the launch that took place in South Africa and in the USA - a most unusual occurrence for a local publication.The idea of writing an overview of South Africa art originated with Gavin Jantjes, who left the country in 1970 and now lives in Norway. Former minister of arts and culture, Pallo Jordan, liked his proposal and made money available for the research and development of the manuscript. Jantjes was the project director and Mario Pissarra was appointed in 2007 as project manager and editor-in-chief. Lize van Robbroeck assisted in creating the framework for the book, and each of the four volumes had one or more editors. In addition, thirty-three local and international experts were involved.
An artist has reached maturity when his new work can no longer be judged by a singular exhibition, but instead must be seen in relation to the rest of his oeuvre. This makes artistic life a lot easier; you can reflect on your own work, gradually adding little pieces to that great proverbial Sagrada Familia, which will never be finished but has increasingly discernible outlines and layers. It offers extra scope and possibilities. You can get away with experiments and idiosyncrasies.
It would not be unreasonable to compare Clive van den Berg's new installation Soundings, In Passage with a smorgasbord - a large variety of hot and cold dishes, served buffet-style. To date, van den Berg has exulted in his multiplicity of media.
Dineo Bopape is still younger than Jesus. Only just. She was born in 1981, so her years in the ranks of South Africa's malleable and prodigious - who make good investments for commercial galleries - are almost up. The moniker "Younger Than Jesus", comes from the 2008 edition of The Generational, a triennial exhibition launched by the New Museum in New York that year.
Whatiftheworld recently embarked on a fresh chapter of life in its inviting new premises housed over two floors of the historical Woodstock synagogue buildings on the corner of Argyle Street and Albert Road. Nothing could have been more apt for this embarkation than Renée Holleman's solo show, A Novel in Parts, which turned around the voyage of a mysterious schooner in an imaginative variety of narrative-triggering ways, shapes and forms.
Literature, art, and possibly film too, would be much poorer without walking. Humanist philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau walked, as did Charles Dickens, whose method of "botanising on the asphalt" was seized on by Walter Benjamin in his classic study of Charles Baudelaire, another walker.
The publication by Phaidon attempts to demarcate the parameters of Contemporary Art through a selection of artworks considered to be the most important examples of international contemporary art.
Genna Gardini reviews Poisson, the fishy fable currently showing at the Baxter
"Leonardo" is a recent addition to Phaidon's Colour library series on the great masters and movements in art.
After being shuttled towards the Goodman Gallery in their infamous lift (a rumbling iron box that bears more than just a passing resemblance to the witch's oven in Hansel and Gretel. Or at least it does to me), I was very happily deposited in the well-lit and white-walled Cumulus.
/A WORD OF ART, THE WOODSTOCK INDUSTRIAL CENTRE, 14 - 16 JANUARY 2011.
"By the time I decide that a painting is finished it has already been so many other paintings," Trasi Henen tells Sean O'Toole, "and even then they could still be something else."