De Arte - Volume 2014, Issue 89, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 2014, Issue 89, 2014
Author Brenda SchmahmannSource: De Arte 2014, pp 2 –3 (2014)More Less
Coinciding with the celebration of two decades since the first democratic election in South Africa, this issue of de arte marks a milestone in the development of art history in this country. In a context where globalisation and the impact of technology affect all aspects of academia, including the ways in which art history is shaped and understood, it is important to note that it is not only twenty years since political change in South Africa enabled us to take our first baby steps into an international community of scholarship, but also since many of us began taking advantage of a wondrous new technology for communication called 'e-mail' as well as an amazing new research resource called the World Wide Web.
'The attainment of a true eye and a correct hand' : drawing, art training institutions and theories of art education in Cape Town, 1860-1926 : researchAuthor Anna TietzeSource: De Arte 2014, pp 4 –17 (2014)More Less
This is a study of the early history of Cape Town's institutional art education, from the establishment of the Roeland Street School of Art in the late nineteenth century to the opening of the Michaelis School of Fine Art in the early twentieth. With debate on the purpose of art education continuing into the twenty-first century, this is a history with contemporary relevance. The article contextualises South Africa's art education debates at the turn of the last century in relation to corresponding British developments in art education and the accompanying questions as to the aims, constituency and curriculum of art schools and art education. The article argues that an emphasis on drawing is a constant throughout the period, but that the idea of what constitutes drawing changes enormously, paralleling significant shifts in the understanding of who benefits from an art education, and how. From the early period, when the South Kensington system is prevalent, to the later period, when a fine art model inspired by the Slade is instituted, Cape Town sees a change from a model of drawing as part of the general curriculum and a technical aid to a wide public, to a model f it as specific to an artist's education, with narrowly focused themes and goals. The article ends with the new 'school of fine art' raising criticism for its anglophile traditionalism, signaling a future of further debate about art education in the colony. In a postcolonial South Africa, these questions can only become more pressing.
The efficacy of altermodern cross-border concepts in selected contemporary African artworks : a visual investigation : researchAuthor Nathani LuneburgSource: De Arte 2014, pp 18 –38 (2014)More Less
Altermodernism is a global theory created by French art critic and curator, Nicolas Bourriaud. This theory argues that contemporary art illustrates cross-border interactions and portrays global environments; it uses concepts such as alterglobalisation, hypermobility, cultural hybridisation, cultural nomadism, diaspora and displacement. This article provides a critique of the efficacy of these altermodern cross-border concepts in selected contemporary African artworks. The value of these concepts is examined by measuring them against related cultural theories by Arjun Appadurai (2006), Manuel Castells (1999), Geoffrey Pleyers (2010) and Jan Nederveen Pieterse (2006). The article also investigates the state of contemporary African art by visually analysing the narrative of the aftermath of colonialism on the continent, as evident in selected artworks displayed at three prominent art exhibitions: the 'Africa Remix' (2007), the 'Dak' Art Biennial' (2012) and the 'FNB Joburg Art Fair' (2013). Central to this study are postcolonial topics such as anticolonial nationalism, diaspora and refugees. The selected artworks are analysed in line with the theories of the following critics and curators: Okwui Enwezor (1999, 2008a, 2008b), Simon Njami (2007), Achille Mbembe (1992, 2007), Chika Okeke (2001) and Dipesh Chakrabarty (2000). The conclusion of this analysis proposes a paradox: several selected African artworks relate to altermodernism superficially; however, the study also identifies a gap between altermodernism and the postcolonial context of the selected artworks.
Author Karen Von VehSource: De Arte 2014, pp 39 –65 (2014)More Less
In this article I present a brief theoretical overview of the history of religious imagery and iconoclasm as a background for the works that are displayed in the exhibition 'Deconstructing Dogma', held at the University of Johannesburg's Art Gallery from 6-28 May 2014. I explain the strength of feeling ascribed to images that are considered sacred, with the result that they comprise a perfect vehicle for parodic quotation in post-modern terms, leading to a disruption of complacent viewing. The long history of values, idealistic role models and didactic instruction inherent in Christian imagery is thus exposed in such a way as to encourage questioning of how those values may still be informing contemporary social behaviour. A close iconographic analysis of selected examples from the 'Deconstructing Dogma' exhibition illustrates the way the chosen artists respond to a broad range of contemporary social ills in South Africa, using art-historic Christian imagery directly or alluding to characters and stories from the Bible. Whatever form the work takes, whether direct parody of specific works or parodic reference to types, this self-reflexive mode of art-making engages both the past and the present in what is often a critical response to both. This article thus presents a rationale for the transgressive quotation and parody of Christian imagery in post-apartheid South African art that responds timeously to current social injustice.
Author Ann-Marie TullySource: De Arte 2014, pp 66 –69 (2014)More Less
Gazing upon the monocular woven wire landscape that is Penumbra (2012) (also the namesake of Walter Oltmann's solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery, 20 June - 22 July 2013), the viewer can be forgiven for losing their grasp on the deep perspectival illusion of the strange, shimmering, lunar-like rocky landscape depicted. Instead, a descent into the patterned and entangled field of crocheted wire is perceived. A further sublime encounter with the chasm of the Penumbra awaits on closer inspection. The term 'penumbra' refers to the half-shaded fringe of light caused when an opaque object partially obstructs light (Goodman Gallery 2013:[sp]). The term is also associated with the astronomical phenomenon of the lighter outer rim of a sunspot; and in painterly terms, at the point where light and shade blend (Goodman Gallery 2013:[sp]).
Author Fiona CouldridgeSource: De Arte 2014, pp 70 –75 (2014)More Less
Ann-Marie Tully's third solo exhibition took place at NIROXprojects, Arts on Main. The exhibition, playfully titled 'Wolf in Sheep's Clothing', presented skillfully painted portraits of animals, hybridised portraits of the artist, found objects and small-scale ceramics, all of which pertain to the complexities of representation of the human subject to the animal subject. In Walter Oltmann's opening speech, he cited the author Giovanni Aloi, who, in his book Art and animals (2011), highlights the integral connections humans form with animals in their tender years.
Author Rory Du PlessisSource: De Arte 2014, pp 77 –81 (2014)More Less
Over several years of lecturing in courses on gender studies, feminism and sexuality, I am always astounded by students' responses to the lectures. In general, the students share a postfeminist sentiment towards the lectures (Gill 2007). The responses from the male students follow the standard 'crisis of masculinity' rhetoric in which feminism is blamed for the problems, pains and quandaries of contemporary living. However, even more perturbing is that the female students are equally sceptical of feminism and dismiss it as now holding regressive ideals. Even when discussions move towards the gains achieved by second-wave feminism, the common retort is apathy or ambivalence regarding the need for feminism to address contemporary problems. Moreover, the negative evaluations of feminism are coupled with only a small number of students ever identifying as feminists or supporting feminist causes.
Author Annali Cabano-DempseySource: De Arte 2014, pp 82 –88 (2014)More Less
An art collection's inventory reads like a landscape of a specific period, with all the intricacies of droughts and rains, fresh growth and dead wood, new rivulets forming and different caretakers ploughing the fields. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Art Collection is no exception: this relatively young collection originated primarily during the previous century, from the holdings of two legacy institutions of the University of Johannesburg, namely the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) and the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR).
Author Elizabeth RankinSource: De Arte 2014, pp 89 –91 (2014)More Less
South Africa's extraordinary history over the last two decades has spawned a host of publications which engage with the country's political transformation, from the academic to the popular, the comprehensive to the personal, the positive to the pessimistic. The shaping of these contesting views and the inherent role of memorialisation in our understanding of the 'new South Africa' is a compelling route for excavating the broader field of memory studies, which has also been attracting a great deal of scholarly attention of late, as Martin Murray remarks in his book, Commemorating and forgetting, that adds another title to the growing literature.
Author Karin PrellerSource: De Arte 2014, pp 92 –96 (2014)More Less
It is difficult to start any writing on Vladimir Tretchikoff without restating the cliché that he holds a special place in the collective memory of most South Africans, as well as in South African art history, for better or worse. Love him or hate him, almost everyone knows his name; can recall a childhood that included a print in living spaces of family members or, ironically, since the penchant for retro chic, owns a print or two, albeit acquired for reasons that differ from those of Tretchikoff's original audience.
Author Rob MyersSource: De Arte 2014, pp 97 –100 (2014)More Less
In Interactive art and embodiment, artist and art theorist Nathaniel Stern develops and applies a rigorous set of frameworks for reconsidering the concepts of interactive multimedia, performance, and the creation of bodily meaning and experience. Stern begins by building a lineage for his novel understanding of these ideas. He then develops a framework for the critical evaluation of interactive art based on this understanding, and applies it to some exemplary artworks. Finally he applies the parts of this framework that are relevant for non-interactive multimedia art to some well-known examples of that genre in order to show their further applicability.