De Arte - Volume 2012, Issue 85, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 2012, Issue 85, 2012
The intersection of Christianity and politics in South African art : a comparative analysis of selected images since 1960, with emphasis on the post-apartheid era : researchSource: De Arte 2012, pp 5 –25 (2012)More Less
This article examines selected examples of art made in South Africa which employ Christian imagery for the purposes of engaging with political and social commentary. Works made during the apartheid era by Azaria Mbatha, Charles Nkosi and Paul Stopforth are discussed briefly and compared to the more critical approach found in post-apartheid works by Diane Victor, Conrad Botes and Wim Botha. Christian iconography is a useful communicative tool because it has permeated many cultures over centuries, and the meanings it carries are thus accessible to large numbers of people. Examples made during the apartheid regime in South Africa appear to adapt the Christian message to support a political agenda, while those made in the transitional phase (from the late 1980s) and after the dismantling of apartheid are more critical of both religious constructs and politics, and could be termed 'transgressive'. Working in light of Foucault's idea of an 'ontology of the present' I investigate the ways in which religious iconography has been implicated in the regulation of society, by revealing how subversive appropriations of Christian imagery expose these controls and offer a critique of mechanisms which produce normative 'truths'.
Can you see what I mean? An exploration of the limits of vision in anti-ocularcentric contemporary art : researchAuthor Jenni LauwrensSource: De Arte 2012, pp 26 –41 (2012)More Less
A great deal of research in visual culture prioritises sight as the human faculty greatly in need of analysis in order to expose the ways in which seeing is constructed in and through culture. This article teases apart the reasons why seeing has enjoyed such prominence in Western science, philosophy, art history and visual culture studies. The invention of linear perspective in painting, the scientific equation of seeing and knowing, and the increasing development of optical instrumentation to enhance visual ability, have served to bolster not only an over-reliance on sight in understanding the relationship between the spectator and the world, but have also positioned the spectator as ideally distanced from what is seen. By contrast, phenomenologically driven interpretations of subjectivity subvert Cartesian notions of detached subjectivity. Two artworks that call for a re-conceptualisation of viewing as connection between perceiver and perceived are investigated by means of a Merleau-Pontian strategy. These works are analysed as examples of anti-ocularcentric ideas that both subvert the hegemony of sight and negate the detached position of a spectator. By emphasising the interconnectedness of spectator and art, the whole body as source of understanding is reinstated.
Author Irene BronnerSource: De Arte 2012, pp 42 –58 (2012)More Less
Paul Emmanuel's early prints and incised drawings represent the human body as a presence that either is not easily seen, actively disappears or erases itself, or is entirely absent. In doing so, these still life and landscape works metaphorically explore inner, psychological 'landscapes', both conscious and unconscious. By drawing deliberate attention to his oblique and deceptive surfaces, Emmanuel's process, medium and subject matter may be said to express subjectivity as a process of materialisation, as formed through the contingencies and inconsistencies of vision, experience and memory. To 'see' this process, and to understand what Emmanuel means by 'seeing and not seeing', I consider two strategies that Emmanuel arguably employs to disrupt viewing : partial, fragmented and multiple perspectives and empty clothing abandoned in landscapes. I employ Bryson's 'glancing' viewing, which acknowledges and reflects the fragmentation of the Lacanian eye/'I'. In the discursive vacillation that ensues between viewer and work, process and product, presence and absence, inside and outside,these 'landscapes' question what it means to look, to be seen, to feel and to remember from within the putative boundaries of the gendered body. A subjectivity that expresses itself as what Emmanuel calls 'the person without the person' is, I conclude, what emerges from these apparent paradoxes.
Author Stephen Marcus FinnSource: De Arte 2012, pp 59 –62 (2012)More Less
TRANSCODE // Dialogues around Intermedia Practice, 7-30 September 2011, Unisa Art Gallery, Pretoria
The word 'stutter' was first used in English in the sixteenth century, about the time the German Hans Holbein was court painter to Henry VIII. Significantly, the word is related to the German one meaning 'to strike against' with an implication of repetition, which in turn implies a dialogue, be it with oneself or with others. It is this notion that permeates Gwen Miller's superbly curated exhibition at Unisa, TRANSCODE // Dialogues around Intermedia Practice and emblematised by Nathaniel Stern's remarkable interactive digital installation, Stuttering. Viewers become both performers and artists, act and are acted upon, as they form a dialogue with a blank screen which cannot be art without their interaction with it. As they move, words appear in different places on the canvas, reminding us that we all give our own meaning to any work.
Author Runette KrugerSource: De Arte 2012, pp 62 –68 (2012)More Less
Suspension lecture, 11 November 2011. Rhodes Box Theatre, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
When considering what to do with one's Friday night, probably very few people would consider a two-hour formal lecture a top priority. But this is a Friday night in Grahamstown, where novelty in leisure and entertainment choices, outside of festival time, is a rarity. It is therefore unsurprising that, on the evening of 11 November 2011, the Rhodes Box Theatre is packed by 7 pm with a variety of students, academics, members of the local alternative scene and the general public. All have come to witness 'Suspension lecture' - a performance instigated by Annemi Conradie, a temporary lecturer in the Rhodes Fine Art Department. This event - a collaboration between the Rhodes Fine Art and Drama Departments, as well as Freak Factor productions, which is headed by John Wayne 5ive, a body modifier and suspension artist - involved a live suspension accompanied by a lecture on the subculture of suspension art and modern primitivism delivered by Conradie.
Author Landi RaubenheimerSource: De Arte 2012, pp 63 –67 (2012)More Less
Water, the [Delicate] Thread of Life. 29 July - 1 October 2011, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg.
Water opened on 29 July and ran until 1 October, filling both of the spaces of the Standard Bank Gallery. It was curated by Marian Dixon with the installation entitled The Water Vortex : Sculptor of Living Forms in the downstairs space curated by Cyril Coetzee. According to Dixon (2011:12-25) the exhibition aimed to raise awareness of the use and shortage of water in southern Africa.
How to make a national resource into a global treasure : Paul Weinberg and the UCT Visual Archives : collecting and curatingSource: De Arte 2012, pp 73 –79 (2012)More Less
Author Karin PrellerSource: De Arte 2012, pp 80 –84 (2012)More Less
It was never going to be easy to convince the South African art establishment that a retrospective of Vladimir Tretchikoff's work had any merit, least of all in the hallowed halls of the Iziko South African National Gallery. An overview of press releases and reviews which preceded and accompanied the show makes this abundantly clear (see Preller 2011). However, through the efforts mainly of UCT academic, Andrew Lamprecht, the curator of the retrospective and editor of the publication, the show not only materialised but was accompanied by the first publication on Tretchikoff's work not facilitated or authorised by the artist himself.
Author Brenden GraySource: De Arte 2012, pp 85 –88 (2012)More Less
Andy Mason's What's so funny : Under the skin of South African cartooning offers the reader a visual feast of South African cartooning produced in South Africa, covering historical illustrations, entertainment cartoons, educational comics, web comics, avant-garde comics, graphic novels, fine art cartooning, underground comics, student press cartoons,editorial illustration, gag cartoon strips and political cartooning. The book includes work from a variety of cartoonists including George Cruikshank, Thomas Baines, Len Sak, Derek Bauer, Morogosi Motshumi, Gus Ferguson and Richard Smith, to the present-day cartoons of Anton Kannemeyer, Brett Murray, Joe Daly, Rico, Zapiro (Johnathan Shapiro) and Wilson Mgobhozi. It also covers a range of publication projects including, amongst others, Superstrikas, Madam and Eve, Bitterkomix, Urban Trash, The Storyteller Group, Learn and Teach Magazine, Sloppy, Staffrider and Mamba Comix.
Source: De Arte 2012, pp 89 –91 (2012)More Less
New York boasts the Statue of Liberty, Rio de Janeiro takes cover in the shadow of the giant Cristo Rendentor atop the Corcovado, and nowthe city of Johannesburg is graced with its own 'street hero' (p. 82), namely Fire Walker the figure of a female vendor in motion although stationed at the foot of the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in downtown Johannesburg's lively bustle. Even if Fire Walker does not share thesame utopian spirit (or perhaps she does?) as the colossal antecedents in New York or Rio de Janeiro - for she deals more with 'bare life' (p. 2) - the sculptural collaboration between artists William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, commissioned for the World Soccer Cup event of 2010, did culminate in an impressive 'eleven-metre-high assemblage of laser-cutsteel plates' (p. 15).
Author Elfriede DreyerSource: De Arte 2012, pp 92 –95 (2012)More Less
It has been a while since a publication on a South African artist has been done in such a comprehensive and attractive format as the recent major monograph on Claudette Schreuders, published by Jacana and Prestel. Of its 239 pages, 188 consist of high-quality documentation of the artist's complete oeuvre up to 2011, ending with the Close, close series, which makes the publication border on a coffee-table book. Illustrations are included of Schreuders' major works, her sculptures in carved wood, as well as her series of lithographs based on the sculptures, selected commissions, and some thumbnail, preparatory and finished drawings. A handful of photographs are shown of the artist in her studio, with family and in suburban surroundings, covering her thirteen-year-long career as a professional artist which had already commenced at the time of her student days at the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
Author Karin SkawranSource: De Arte 2012, pp 96 –98 (2012)More Less
This attractive monograph on one of South Africa's most neglected painters, is what I would call a labour of love. The little book has been privately published and has come about as a result of the financial contributions of some twenty-plus sponsors who have all been great admirers of Page's work, and who were determined to create a greater awareness of this remarkable artist's output.