De Arte - Volume 2008, Issue 78, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 2008, Issue 78, 2008
Author Bernadette Van HauteSource: De Arte 2008, pp 2 –3 (2008)More Less
The article section of de arte 78 is made up of three contributions. In her article 'Colonial allegiances circa 1910: The Engelenburg-Middelberg correspondence in the Johannesburg Art Gallery', Jillian Carman explores the cultural and political dynamics between Johannesburg and Pretoria circa 1910. Her detailed examination of the letters reveals the nature of colonial allegiances at a time when the Second South African (Anglo-Boer) War of 1899 to 1902 was still fresh in the nation's psyche, the Union of South Africa was proclaimed, the first national elections were held, and a major public art collection (the Johannesburg Art Gallery) was formed. The correspondence provides insight into the informed elite who transcended racial tensions between English and Afrikaner in the interests of cultural excellence. The article also includes a translation of all the letters which were written in an early form of Afrikaans that made them largely inaccessible before now.
Colonial allegiances circa 1910 : the Engelenburg-Middelberg correspondence in the Johannesburg Art Gallery : researchSource: De Arte 2008, pp 4 –17 (2008)More Less
The correspondence between F.V. Engelenburg and G.A.A. Middelberg, in the archive of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, gives extraordinary insight into the cultural and political dynamics between Johannesburg and Pretoria circa 1910. A detailed examination of the letters reveals the nature of colonial allegiances at a time when the Second South African (Anglo- Boer) War of 1899 to 1902 was still fresh in the nation's psyche, the Union of South Africa was proclaimed, the first national elections were held, and a major public art collection (the Johannesburg Art Gallery) was formed. They give an important insight into a sector of society of that time: the informed elite who transcended racial tensions between English and Afrikaner in the interests of cultural excellence. Accompanying the article is a recent translation of all the letters, written in an early form of Afrikaans that made them largely inaccessible before now.
Author Frikkie PotgieterSource: De Arte 2008, pp 18 –32 (2008)More Less
An overview of current television advertisements suggests that the pre- and post-1994 endeavour to engage directly and explicitly with the differences that constitute this rainbow nation seem to be declining. I find this unfortunate as we are, after all, still a divided nation where pretending otherwise does not solve problems. Furthermore, advertisements that engage with differences are, as argued, often artistically creative and exciting, whereas those that are predicated on human sameness tend to be tired and predictable. This article also argues that advertisements that exploit human sameness are generally speaking more morally dubious than those that engage with human differences. The first part of this article starts by outlining the Continental endeavour to theorise an aesthetic of sameness, drawing parallels with South African branding strategies that advertently or inadvertently subscribe to such an aesthetic. The second part explains the poststructural argument for 'difference' and analyses how this argument opens the way to understand advertisements as being exceptionally well appointed for the metaphoric creation of new meanings.
Author Maureen De JagerSource: De Arte 2008, pp 33 –61 (2008)More Less
Kathryn Smith's Psychogeographies: The Washing Away of Wrongs is a series of twelve prints comprising photographs and handwritten text, wherein she records her 'pilgrimage' to the former homes of British serial killer Dennis Nilsen. As such, it utilises photographic and autographic traces to 'track' the elusive traces left by Nilsen. Given the lapse of two decades between Nilsen's arrest and Smith's visit, the traces of Nilsen's 'wrongs' seem all but erased by the banal façade of suburban living which has continued on, regardless. In taking this as a starting point, the following article considers the motif of absence that characterises Smith's work as intrinsic to traces per se. This is not just because traces gravitate towards erasure though time and forgetting, but also because traces mark both the former presence and the current absence of whatever caused them. With recourse to a variety of theories, including Peirce's semiotics, Barthes's meditations on photography, and Derrida's writings on the trace as being 'under erasure' or 'sous rature', this discussion seeks to critique the forensic certitude implicit in assertions that traces 'bear witness' to the 'truth' of past events. Rather, the suggestion is made that the trace, being paradoxically located in both presence and absence, is not without its own nefarious trickery.
Not to believe or not to be believed : a review of the exhibition Traces du sacré, 7 May to 11 August 2008, Centre Pompidou, Paris : views and (re)viewsAuthor Elfriede DreyerSource: De Arte 2008, pp 52 –55 (2008)More Less
Le sacré, voilà l'ennemi! (translated as 'The sacred, that is the enemy!') is the title of a special edition of art press 2 (May/June/July 2008, trimestriel No. 9) on the exhibition, Traces du sacré, currently on show at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. This outcry of disgust at the choice of concept of the mega-exhibition expressed through an exploration of the relationship of art to religion, similar to Gauguin's old question on human beings' destiny (Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?), is an outright demonstration of the depth and width of the nihilism and agnosticism of our time.
Author Antoinette MurdochSource: De Arte 2008, pp 56 –61 (2008)More Less
As far back as June 1996 a White Paper was published by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC), suggesting the Art Bank model for South Africa. The Art Bank initiative was further sparked by a visit from the then Minister of Arts and Culture, Science and Technology, Dr. Ben Ngubane, to Ottawa in 2000, when Victoria Henry, Director of the Canadian Art Bank, introduced the Art Bank concept to him during a formal lunch. He was immediately taken with the idea and the value of this kind of support for artists.
Author Gavin YoungeSource: De Arte 2008, pp 62 –64 (2008)More Less
In many respects this publication is a triumph for its creators - for Prince Mbusi Dube who was charged with curating the Dumile retrospective and putting the catalogue together, and for staff at the Johannesburg Art Gallery who conceived, nursed and brought the project into the highveld's thin air in January 2005. Mslaba Zwelidumile Mxgasi Feni, or Dumile as he was better known, had come home.
Dungamanzi/stirring waters : Tsonga and Shangaan art from southern Africa, Nessa Leibhammer (Ed.) : book reviewsAuthor Ruth Kerkham SimbaoSource: De Arte 2008, pp 65 –67 (2008)More Less
A woman known as Nkoma We Lwandle (Cow of the Ocean) and a man, Dunga Manzi (Stirring Waters), are remembered as the first Tsonga diviners. Trained by Nzunzu - a powerful water serpent - they were pulled into a lake for a few months and later emerged as influential healers. Such stories (like the one relayed by Dederen of a young girl, Nsatimuni, who also temporarily disappeared into a lake) represent 'death' and 'rebirth', reflecting Arnold van Gennep's (1909) well-known schema of rites de passage: séparation, marge, and agrégation. Separated from daily life, these characters sink into another world where people breathe in water like a foetus in the liquid depths of a womb, evoking impending new birth (p. 171).
Author Dominic ThorburnSource: De Arte 2008, pp 68 –70 (2008)More Less
Red on black is the first comprehensive publication to tackle the complex and far-reaching genre of the South African Poster Movement. The appealing soft-cover book, titled after the predominant use of the emotive colours red and black in resistance posters, is published by STE with significant collaboration and support from the South African History Archive (SAHA). These annals house extensive holdings in excess of 4 000 individual posters, which were clearly crucial to the realisation of this publication. The ambitious work makes an invaluable contribution to knowledge and understanding of this vital aspect of our country's visual history and image culture. Atlantic Philanthropies has notably funded the donation of 3 000 copies of the book to South African secondary schools, thereby extending the readership and visual impact to a young, emerging audience.
Is there still life? Continuity and change in South African still life painting, Michael Godby : book reviewsSource: De Arte 2008, pp 71 –73 (2008)More Less
Godby's title Is there Still Life? rivals in its wit and subtlety Norman Bryson's Looking at the overlooked, the canonical work on still life first published in 1990. Both titles allude to the general marginalising of still life as a topic of serious critique. The indifference originated with Joshua Reynolds' Discourses (1768-1789) and has been perpetuated ever since in the average art history programmes at academic institutions - at least until the publishing of Bryson's book in 1990. Bryson commented: 'It is still thought of in a manner of which Reynolds would have approved, as not quite the province of the serious and ambitious student; not really the most recommendable topic for a dissertation that would wish to show its professional mettle' (2001:8).
Author Amanda Du PreezSource: De Arte 2008, pp 74 –76 (2008)More Less
TAXI - 013, the latest volume in the Taxi Art Project series, deals with the work of the feisty Diane Victor. Victor's drawings and prints have steadily grown to become a force to be reckoned with, both in the South African and international context, over the past two decades. Often humorous and mostly politically potent, Victor does not shy away from tackling thorny and difficult issues. Sometimes her work even has to withstand physical assault, as in the case of the Little Deposition Picture (2002) which was torn in half by a viewer while on exhibit in the Paarl. Also, there was the recent debate sparked by the Disasters of Peace (2001) series when it was hung in the Law Faculty building of the University of Pretoria. Through it all Victor thrives, for it is through shocking her viewers out of their complacency that she fulfils her role as artist.
Imagining the city : memories and cultures in Cape Town, Sean Field, Renate Meyer and Felicity Swanson (Eds.) : book reviewsAuthor Gary BainesSource: De Arte 2008, pp 77 –78 (2008)More Less
The proliferation of memorials, monuments and a preoccupation with anniversaries has stimulated scholarly interest in the role of memory in society. This 'memory turn' was propelled by the (re)discovery of the work of French social theorists such as Maurice Halbwachs on collective memory, and that of Pierre Nora on sites of memory. Anglo-American scholars have belatedly caught on to the trend. Since the 1990s memory studies has flourished in academic institutions in Europe and North America, with courses being offered at many universities.