De Arte - Volume 2007, Issue 75, 2007
Volumes & issues
Volume 2007, Issue 75, 2007
Author Ingrid StevensSource: De Arte 2007 (2007)More Less
de arte 75 includes four research articles. In 'The romantic elements in De Stijl theory', Runette Kruger focuses on romantic aspects of the theoretical underpinnings of the De Stijl movement, concentrating on the writings of founder member Piet Mondrian. She argues that, while early modernist movements like De Stijl have come to be seen as largely classicist by later historians, important artists and theorists were not only romantic in outlook, but moreover were influenced by a specifically Eastern romantic system of monism and its rejection of materialism. These beliefs formed the basis for De Stijl's abstraction, rather than any mere rejection of figuration and decoration or the search for a formalist, functionalist or intellectual abstraction. Although examples of De Stijl art and design are referred to only in order to clarify certain arguments, this kind of re-reading of historical movements is an important contribution to contemporary historical revisions.
Author Runette KrugerSource: De Arte 2007, pp 3 –14 (2007)More Less
The aim of this essay is to focus on and analyse the romantic aspects of De Stijl theory. It is argued that these romantic aspects have received less detailed analysis than the classicising tendencies within this movement's underlying theory. The terms 'classic' and 'romantic', as used within the context of De Stijl theory, will be clarified for the purposes of this analysis. The article focuses on De Stijl theory, as reflected in the writings of the founding members of the movement, with specific reference to artist Piet Mondrian. Examples of De Stijl art and design are mentioned in order to contextualise certain ideas as formulated by Mondrian in particular, but this article does not focus on a discussion of the artworks themselves. Careful analysis of (as argued here) neglected aspects of De Stijl thought, makes a broader, more inclusive contextual interpretation of De Stijl art and design possible. Whilst acknowledging the existence of Western romantic thought and its influence on early twentieth-century abstract painting, this article focuses on a more specifically Eastern romantic notion of monism and antimaterialism as the basis for the formulation of De Stijl abstraction.
Source: De Arte 2007, pp 15 –24 (2007)More Less
Several important South African role-players including Iziko Museums of Cape Town, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Sanlam, launched an internet database in 2006 aimed at capturing local artists' signatures and monograms. This was done on the basis that the assignment of value to art is a necessary component of human development and nation-building. As the database, known as the Artist Signatures Project, notes: 'When value has been assigned with critical sensitivity, it enables artists to be nurtured, their work to be recorded and made more accessible, identities to be defined and tradition and heritage to be celebrated. More specifically, it allows the critical contributions artists make to the recharging of the public imagination to be recognised' (Artist Signatures Project, 2006). In constructing the database, sorting through thousands of prints in the National Gallery and in the private collections of the HSRC and Sanlam, the rich history and complexity of the practice of signing printed works became evident. This paper introduces some of these elements with a particular focus on a range of examples South Africa has to offer.
Source: De Arte 2007, pp 25 –42 (2007)More Less
The Interior, Birthing Tray and Parturition are three sub-sections of a project entitled Parturient Prospects that artist Christine Dixie began in 2005, when she was pregnant with her second child, and completed by the end of 2006. In Parturient Prospects, the author reveals, Dixie situates her experiences against Western discourses, especially images from early modern Europe. Focusing on the ways in which visual representations construct woman as 'other', Dixie invokes reference to not only representations of birth and maternity but also religious, medical and geographical images. While the gendered underpinnings of these discourses are not always immediately transparent when they are kept discrete from one another, they become evident when they are invoked simultaneously, and Dixie's works reveal that they are in fact mutually reinforcing agents and indeed often use related tropes. Dixie destabilises their authority not only by challenging their discreteness, however, but also, and even more crucially, by introducing motifs that interfere with their meanings. These additions to, or substitutions for, the imagery in the discourses to which she refers are markers of both a female subjectivity and a postmodernist feminist voice that sees 'otherness' as a potential position of strength - a place from which to subvert and transgress gendered norms and understandings.
The queering of space : investigating spatial manifestations of homosexuality in De Waterkant, Cape TownAuthor Theo SonnekusSource: De Arte 2007, pp 42 –57 (2007)More Less
With this essay, I propose to invest South African visual culture with a broader set of subjects, areas and approaches of study. It is especially with regard to what I feel the discipline and its discourses are lacking, that I chose to deal with this topic: Yes, South Africa's turbulent past is intrinsic to any study on local soil, but for the most part the focus has been on marginalised ethnic or racial minorities; while sexual orientation as basis for discrimination, segregation and 'otherness' has not garnered nearly as much attention. Furthermore, this study aspires to supplement the research that has already been conducted with regard to space and sexuality in fields that vary from sociology, human geography and, of course, visual culture studies. Also, by making use of a local example, instead of focusing on other queer spaces such as West Hollywood, I hope to add a distinctly South African flavour to the debate on whether space possesses a sexual orientation or identity; which forms the leading question of this enquiry. Consequently then, in answering these questions, and a multitude of others, I will make use of De Waterkant, as an example of a meeting point or amalgamation of space and sexuality.
Source: De Arte 2007, pp 58 –63 (2007)More Less
Author Karen Von VehSource: De Arte 2007, pp 64 –71 (2007)More Less
This is more a discussion of the pros and cons of corporate sponsorship and art awards than an evaluation of an exhibition, although it is based on my experience of the 2006 Sasol Wax Art Awards Exhibition. I will begin with a brief overview of the finalists and how the exhibition was laid out as my negative reaction to the choice of winner was largely influenced by the limitations of the gallery viewing experience.
Author Jacki McInnesSource: De Arte 2007, pp 72 –74 (2007)More Less
The David Krut Arts Resource (DKA), situated on Jan Smuts Avenue in Parkwood, Johannesburg has grown exponentially since its inception in 2002. David Krut, who cut his art dealing and print publishing teeth in London and New York, first started publishing limited edition prints with British artist Joe Tilsen in 1981 but decided to return to South Africa in the early 1990s. It was at this time that he developed a working relationship with William Kentridge and began publishing his prints.
Memory and magic : contemporary art of the !Xun and Khwe, Hella Rabbethge-Schiller (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor Elizabeth RankinSource: De Arte 2007, pp 76 –79 (2007)More Less
Memory and magic was published for an exhibition of the work of eleven artists who are part of the !Xun and Khwe Cultural Project, based originally at a military camp in Schmidtsdrift and now part of a resettlement at Platfontein near Kimberley. In his foreword, Nikolai Petersen of the Goethe-Institut, one of the sponsors, refers to it as a 'coffee table book'. The appellation seems not quite apt. Although the publication includes many high-quality colour plates of works from the collection of Hella Rabbethge-Schiller from which the exhibition was drawn, it is a paperback of relatively modest size. And it incorporates a number of thoughtful, if brief, essays by writers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and also records stories told by some of the artists. In these ways the publication offers both rather less and rather more than one might expect from the extravagant productions with sumptuous visual presentation and minimal text which one normally associates with coffee table art books.
Yoruba religious textiles : essays in honour of Cornelius Adepegba, Elisha P. Renne and Babatunde Agbaje-Williams (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Anitra NettletonSource: De Arte 2007, pp 80 –83 (2007)More Less
This book contains ten essays on various types of textiles used in religious contexts within Yoruba societies past and present. The essays were written by scholars from a variety of Nigerian tertiary education institutions and the collection takes the form of a festschrift for the scholar Cornelius Adepegba. Approaching this book in the context of a dearth of access to African scholarship about African art, and from the perspective of someone who teaches African art in Africa, at tertiary level, I was hoping to find an accomplished set of essays and a standard of scholarship that would match that of the scholarship on African art published elsewhere, even if the standards of production were severely constrained by limited resources. I would like to address the issues of scholarship first.
Messages and meanings : the MTN Art Collection, Philippa Hobbs and Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Eds.) : book reviewSource: De Arte 2007, pp 83 –85 (2007)More Less
Producing a book on a corporate art collection poses some challenges. When a collection consists of some 1400 works - ones in various media, with a range of thematic concerns, produced at different historical moments and in diverse geographical contexts - how might the discussion be organised? And how might one negotiate a need on the part of corporate executives (who are not normally versed in art-historical discourse) for a publication that will be readily comprehensible and can serve the interests of public relations with an imperative to produce a book that will have value for those working in the field of visual arts, most especially in arts education, and will thus serve as more than simply lavish embellishment for coffee tables?
Light on a hill : building the Constitutional Court of South Africa, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor Ruth Kerkham SimbaoSource: De Arte 2007, pp 86 –88 (2007)More Less
Light on a hill : Building the Constitutional Court of South Africa is a visually elegant book that claims to 'reflect the spirit of the Court and be a beautiful object in its own right' (p. 8). Certainly this book is striking, with its rich photographs by Angela Buckland, its fresh, breathable design by Adele Prins, and its broad format with lavish centerfolds. Reading the text is in many ways an enlightening process of understanding the conceptual underpinnings of the buildings that make up the Constitutional Court complex, but this process of reading takes a few twists and turns along the way.
Author Elisha RenneSource: De Arte 2007, pp 89 –91 (2007)More Less
In 1999, Brenda Schmahmann, the author of Mapula: Embroidery and empowerment in the Winterveld, began interviewing women members of the embroidery arts project known as Mapula in the Winterveld region of South Africa. The name, Mapula, which means "mother of rain" in xiTsonga, suggests not only rainfall and impending harvests but also women's association with the forces of fertility - of both land and people - and, as Schmahmann points out, with female agency more generally. Thus, the founding of the Mapula Embroidery Project in 1991 was intended to provide women from the Winterveld region with both economic resources and a sense of self-empowerment. Schmahmann's interest in the organisation of the project, in Mapula women's experiences, and in their use of textile arts to express their thoughts and feelings about a range of social and political issues, reflects her own concerns with gender, racial, and political inequality in South Africa.