De Arte - Volume 2010, Issue 82, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 2010, Issue 82, 2010
Author Bernadine Van HauteSource: De Arte 2010, pp 2 –3 (2010)More Less
After a few rather slim issues, the 82nd issue of de arte is a bumper one, containing four research articles. Two of these contributions are from already established authors. On the occasion of the centenary of the Union Buildings in 2010, Alexander Duffey has written an article on J.H. Pierneef and the Union Buildings. To this end, Duffey traced more than 70 artworks, depicting Meintjeskop Hill and the construction of the Union Buildings, made between 1905 and 1948 by Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. The author maintains that Pierneef considered Meintjeskop an important landmark of old Republican Pretoria and resented the erection of the Buildings on the well-known hill. The article attempts to show that Pierneef's life-long obsession with Meintjeskop was not only a deliberate attempt to use the landmark to develop his typical artistic style, but also to reflect his ideological stance with regard to the Union Buildings as a symbol of British Imperialism in South Africa.
Author Karin Maria SkawranSource: De Arte 2010, pp 4 –7 (2010)More Less
The accompanying photograph was taken in December 2009, about three months before Robert Hodgins passed away. Together with his close friend, Jan Neethling, and Giles Battiss, he came for brunch on my terrace one Sunday morning. Although frail, Rob had a healthy appetite that morning and was in high spirits. Our brunch reminded him of Sundays some 30 years ago when it was customary to visit friends on a Sunday morning, lounge around all day, eat and drink, braai and swim, and then end off the day with several glasses of red wine in the late afternoon.
Author Alexander DuffeySource: De Arte 2010, pp 8 –23 (2010)More Less
In 2010, the Union Buildings, one of the most important landmarks of Pretoria and certainly one of South Africa's finest buildings, are 100 years old. They were erected on Meintjeskop between 1910 and 1913. In more than 70 known artworks depicting Meintjeskop Hill and the construction of the Union Buildings, which he made between 1905 and 1948, the artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef rejected the placement of these buildings on the well-known hill. Pierneef, who considered Meintjeskop to be an important landmark of old Republican Pretoria, regularly used it as subject matter for his experiments with a variety of artistic styles, in an attempt to find the most appropriate style with which to capture the typical atmosphere, light conditions and structural peculiarities of this well-known Pretoria landmark. This article attempts to show that Pierneef's lifelong obsession with Meintjeskop was not only a deliberate attempt to use the landmark to develop his own typical artistic style, but also to reflect his ideological stance with regard to the Union Buildings as a symbol of British Imperialism in South Africa.
Author Irene NaudeSource: De Arte 2010, pp 24 –32 (2010)More Less
This article explores a history of opinions around the role and meaning of photography, from its early beginnings as a daguerreotype, until one of its present manifestations as a medium for use by contemporary artists. In early days it was considered merely to be an objective, mimetic representation of a subject, especially suitable for documenting and recording people, places and situations. As time went by, the realisation set in that photography was not free from interpretation by the photographer; nor was it free from the personal and individual responses of the viewer. Several of these opinions are examined here, from the perspectives of different disciplines over the past 150 years. The article ends with a short discussion of the way in which the medium has shifted, from traditional photography as representation to digital photography as a visual art medium, due to the possibilities opened up by new technology. The concepts expressed in the article are illustrated by the author's personal interpretation of a specific digital photographic work by contemporary artist Idris Khan. The question this article poses is: Can the photograph have the potential to create new meanings and so, ultimately, new memories?
Author E. Suzanne De Villiers-HumanSource: De Arte 2010, pp 33 –46 (2010)More Less
The South African artist Johannes Phokela (born in Soweto in 1966) conjures up a picaresque imaginary world and mischievously plays a game of hide and seek with spectators, by linking source material from the history of art, especially from the Low Countries (by artists such as Jakob de Gheyn the Younger and Jakob Jordaens) with visual material from spheres of mass entertainment. It is argued that the predilection for the representation of openings, orifices, proscenium arches, cartouches, picture frames, drawn and opened curtains, and pierced canvases that I observe in his oeuvre, demonstrates an interest in intercultural transactions and in the iconic energy generated by the rupture between past and present. Phokela's remediation of other media in the medium of oil painting, with its associated topoi, conventions and genres, is considered to be significant in this regard. It is argued that his roguish manipulation of spectator/work relationships specifically in the medium of oil painting is a means through which the ambiguities of cultural mediation or translation are staged. Taking a cue from Phokela's art, it is interpreted here as part of a centuries-old multicultural picaresque tradition and, correspondingly, a picaresque art-historiographical stance is assumed. By willfully juxtaposing seemingly disparate visual material divided by centuries, the art historian, like the artist, is able to tease out embedded meanings in a provocative, picaresque way. By 'playing the fool' in a mutual act of interpretation, new interpretative possibilities are explored.
The rhetorical animal : considering the Urban Animal exhibition and the anthropocentric reception of animal and amalgamated animal/human representations : researchAuthor Ann-Marie TullySource: De Arte 2010, pp 47 –58 (2010)More Less
Consistently throughout the tradition of Western philosophy, as well as materially speaking, animals have long been the most estranged and disempowered creatures on earth. Indeed, the Aristotelian and Cartesian theses proposed animals as being little more than automata. This derisive philosophical treatment has embedded itself in the vast majority of cultural practices and has erased the ancient agency of non-human creatures vis-à-vis human society. Derrida, in a counter assault to this humanist position, points out that the domination of animals is (even) encoded in the structure of language. This article seeks to extend on this notion of the symbolic alienation of animals as a cultural phenomenon that is not purely linguistic, but (manifestly) also embedded in visual signs. Particularly in art and its historical discourse, animals are indexical signifiers, attaching affect or moral allegory to the humans they accompany, merely functioning as allegorical stand-ins for virtue or vice along the ethical spectrum of a particular cultural and historical era. This article examines the use of rhetorical similitude as a phenomenon and device or conceit in animal representation, with applied image discussion of artworks from the Urban Animal exhibition (2009); as well as a limited selection of domestic animal representations. Artworks featuring amalgamated animal/human forms are also briefly addressed. The animalised human form is a trope spanning many historical periods, and persisting in present-day art and culture as a fecund site for the imagining of the human model through the animal index.
Author Marilyn MartinSource: De Arte 2010, pp 59 –65 (2010)More Less
It was a great honour, ten years after I was first involved in the Dakar Biennale, to be invited as one of five curators for Dak'Art 2010 that took place from 7 May to 7 June. For 20 years it has provided a unique platform for artists to be part of a major biennial, without having to depend on curators or governments - any artist, living on the continent or in the diaspora, who has citizenship of an African country, may send in a dossier of his or her work.
Author Karin PrellerSource: De Arte 2010, pp 66 –71 (2010)More Less
The much-anticipated 2010 FIFA World Cup™ generated a plethora of art exhibitions in and around major centres in South Africa. Halakasha!, hosted by Standard Bank and curated by Fiona Rankin-Smith of the Wits Art Museum, filled both the upstairs and downstairs exhibition spaces at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. It was the only major show to explicitly celebrate the game itself, the title of the exhibition deriving from a traditional South African celebratory cry upon the scoring of a goal. Initially apprehensive about an exhibition in which the majority of the artworks and objects on display in some way or another incorporated aspects of the game - whether the supporters, players, or the historical context - the exhibition exceeded expectations and circumvented pitfalls that could easily have resulted in forced and literal connections between the works on display, as well as between football and art per se.
Author Pieter SwanepoelSource: De Arte 2010, pp 72 –75 (2010)More Less
Perhaps we have become comfortably numb ever since Barthes' (1977:146) distressing yet emancipating signal that all texts function on multidimensional levels at once, to disclose divergent and clashing opinions rather than a singular foregone conclusion professed by a godly author. Still, one would think that competitions (particularly as texts indicative of an apogee) would, within a traditional understanding of what the word 'competition' stands for, remain an exception to the rule.
Source: De Arte 2010, pp 76 –82 (2010)More Less
One of Johannesburg's oldest commercial art-dealing institutions, the Everard Read Gallery, was established in 1912 and traded from premises in downtown Johannesburg opposite the Rand Club (Nel and Boshoff 2009:2). The gallery moved to a custom-built building on Jellicoe Avenue in Rosebank in 1979, then still a quiet suburban location, and in the late 1980s acquired a small plot of land adjacent to the gallery from the city council. This long-vacant property, on the bustling intersection of Jellicoe and Jan Smuts Avenues, was initially used as additional parking space for the gallery.
Thami Mnyele + Medu Art Ensemble Retrospective, Clive Kellner and Sergio-Albio Gonzàlez, (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Pamela AllaraSource: De Arte 2010, pp 83 –88 (2010)More Less
'How do we as cultural workers make this commitment concrete? The struggle of the artist must be rooted in that of the majority of our people. Any actual engagement in the making of change must of necessity seek inspiration and alliance with the movement of the people. This is the new generation of cultural workers that is growing inside and outside South Africa, and multiplying. Already this voice of resistance is heard.'
Author Brenda SchmahmannSource: De Arte 2010, pp 89 –92 (2010)More Less
Mmakgabo Mmapula Mmankgato Helen Sebidi, the 14th volume in the TAXI series published by David Krut, is a welcome addition to the literature on South African art. While Sebidi had been the topic of prior publications (most notably the catalogue produced when she was Standard Bank Young Artist in 1989), an updated and more comprehensive overview of her career and output was needed. Albeit that I have criticisms of some aspects of the publication, the David Krut book addresses this need.
Source: De Arte 2010, pp 93 –94 (2010)More Less
Peffer's collection of essays is shrewdly entitled 'Art and the end of apartheid' rather than, as one might expect, 'Art from the end of apartheid'. The choice to add 'and' was a wise one, as it helped Peffer to keep the two concepts apart and not to conflate them into the same historical moment. Peffer informs the reader that it is particularly the period from 1976 to 1994 that forms the scope of his analysis.
Source: De Arte 2010, pp 95 –96 (2010)More Less
Sue Williamson probably requires no introduction to South African readers. An artist in her own right, she is also the ingenious compiler and author of Resistance art in South Africa (1989) and Art in South Africa: The future present (1996), which introduced many South Africans to their own artistic heritage for the first time. It should not come as a surprise, then, that Williamson has again produced the definitive anthology on South African art.