De Arte - Volume 51, Issue 1, 2016
Volumes & issues
Volume 51, Issue 1, 2016
Author Bernadette Van HauteSource: De Arte 51, pp 1 –3 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176373More Less
It is a great pleasure to announce that de arte has now joined a portfolio of Unisa Press titles co-published with the Taylor and Francis Africa programme of local networks and global partnerships. The aim is to increase the journal's international contributions and readership, while maintaining its African scholarship focus, and contributor and reader support. The journal will be put on the latest systems in publishing to be able to optimise submission, production and post-production processes. de arte will also have its own webpage (www.tandfonline.com/rdat), which will facilitate us in tracking the location and size of the journal's readership, as well as its impact.
Author Robyn SassenSource: De Arte 51, pp 4 –5 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176374More Less
Arguably one of South Africa's most important sculptors of his generation, David Brown died suddenly on 18 March in Cape Town. He was 65. His grotesque quasi-military figures, beautifully crafted and armed to the teeth, often with their penises hanging out, teetered between being deeply cynical, darkly hilarious and ciphers of criticism for the powers that be. His work Tightroping rocketed him to fame in 1986, when it was one of the winners of a sculpture competition hosted by the Johannesburg Art Gallery, alongside maquettes by Gavin Younge, Willem Strydom and Bruce Arnott.
Source: De Arte 51, pp 6 –24 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176376More Less
The role of digital media has become increasingly foregrounded as a means to not only produce the work and give it form, but more importantly extend the significance of the work as a powerful indicator or marker of place, self and community. This article considers the function and purpose of digital media and technology in recent site-specific installations, and proposes an altogether alternative understanding of place through digitally produced site-specific practices. If place refers to a fixed point in the world,loaded with and determined by geographical, cultural and historical coordinates, then in what ways does the implementation of digital media and technology become available means to challenge this assumption? More importantly, can this mode of visual production shift our understanding of site specific art and its purpose as an expression of self and community? To address these questions we analyse selected recent local and international site-specific projects. The focus of this research highlights the significance of digital interactivity and interfacing as a means to not only activate the artwork, but also cast into profile the important question of place. An experience of place through the fluidity of collective identity becomes implicated heavily in the making of the artwork through digital means. This article contributes to an existing critique on site-specific art. We argue that in such cases, public environments become charged in the way they are powerfully contingent on and produced by a sensory and emotional response to the work. We suggest that it is the voluntary labour of the viewer as active participant in these works that amplifies the role of place in a unitary realisation of self and community.
Author Denise ToussaintSource: De Arte 51, pp 25 –41 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176377More Less
In 1922, Berlin Dadaist Hannah Höch started working on a series of seventeen small-sized photomontages entitled From an ethnographic museum, in which she reflected intensely on the encounter with non-European cultures in the de facto postcolonial Weimar Republic. Even though Germany lost its colonies after World War I, day-to-day life in the Weimar Republic was deeply influenced by, and infused with, colonial representation in the media, art and culture at large. Höch focused on the underlying ideological mindset of her time and, in an almost anachronistic way, formulated several relevant claims and ideas in an almost postcolonial manner. This article focuses on seven photomontages in the series. In detailed work analyses, it is demonstrated that Höch's photomontages are an enduring commentary on the encounters and collisions between 'white' and 'non-white', as well as between the Self and its Other, and that the deconstruction of identity and the questioning of stereotypes are the essence of her works.
Challenging portrait conventions : 'types', masks and the series in South African portraiture : researchAuthor Anette BarnardSource: De Arte 51, pp 42 –56 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.117379More Less
Historically, portraiture was perceived to faithfully portray the unique essence of the sitter, through the process of mimesis. This mimetic portrayal was also essential to the racial classification of South Africans under apartheid, when a tetrad of race was promulgated in the Population Registration Act of 1950 (Breckenridge 2014b:226). This article investigates the questioning of racial taxonomy in contemporary South African portraits. It argues that the notion of individual essence is questioned through rhetorical devices such as 'types', masks and the portrait series. Racial categories are questioned through 'types' in portraits by Keith Dietrich, Pieter Hugo, Anthea Pokroy and Frikkie Eksteen. Kendell Geers and Richardt Strydom employ the mask to efface individual essence, while foregrounding socio-political issues. The notion of the portrait series is discussed in relation to portraits by Marlene Dumas which, contrary to portraiture's aim, highlights the collective over the individual. This article argues that the representation of the subject through 'types', masks and the portrait series challenges the totalitarian impetus to arrest the sitter's essence in the portrait. The discussion commences with the exploration of the mimetic portrayal of the individual in the portrait, which became a bureaucratic tool of racial classification.
The Parking Gallery : experimental practice and the artist-run initiative in South Africa : researchAuthor Robyn CookSource: De Arte 51, pp 57 –73 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176380More Less
In a contemporary South African context of arts production and exhibition, there are few spaces or arenas dedicated to the development and presentation of experimental and non-commercial projects. This 'void' has become increasingly evident amidst the growing interest in social and participative aesthetics within artistic production which include (but are not limited to) relational, collaborative and dialogical art. In this research article I examine the emergence of the artist-run initiative (ARI) as a means to address the lack of 'exhibition' space available for the presentation of said practices. In particular, I explore the Parking Gallery,from its first brief incarnation as a project space, to its current form as a malleable, participative, non-commercial platform. I discuss the influence of Gush's practice on the gallery, and how his overarching interest in autonomous-Marxism has influenced its socialistic approach to the institutionalisation of art. Moreover, I posit that this methodology provides a valuable (albeit fallible) prototype for the potentialities of non-traditional economies (trade, collective funding and so on) within a South African arts landscape defined by funding deficits and a commercially driven art market.
Thinking through 'Voyeur Piano' : strategies and outcomes for an artistic research project in musical performance : researchAuthor Mareli StolpSource: De Arte 51, pp 74 –88 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1177252More Less
In this article, I examine a performance project I conducted in 2014 at the 'Infecting the City' festival in Cape Town: I performed on a piano, situated outdoors in Cape Town's inner city; the audience observed from the street and from a nearby rooftop, where the music was relayed and amplified through speaker systems. I conceived this project, 'Voyeur Piano', to challenge traditional conceptions of South African concert halls, which I argue are characterised to a large extent by elitism, exclusivity and limitations in terms of access, but also in order to search for ways in which piano music may be used as an aesthetic and interventionist vehicle in site-specific and public art contexts. 'Voyeur Piano' is 'read' as an experimental system (Schwab 2014), and interrogated by means of a self-reflexive approach (Archer 2010). As both performer of the project and author of this article, I attempt to engage retrospectively with knowledge generated in and through this performance project.
Contested monuments in a changing heritage landscape : //hapo museum, Freedom Park, Pretoria : themed section : power and visual cultureAuthor Michele JacobsSource: De Arte 51, pp 89 –100 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176381More Less
This article looks critically at the //hapo museum at Freedom Park, Pretoria. Freedom Park was constructed as the flagship heritage site for all South Africans, and the reason for its location on Salvokop and the elements that make up the heritage site are discussed. The //hapo museum conforms to the international trend where museums are constructed to provide the visitor with a complete historical and cultural experience of the heritage site. I question whether the //hapois not just another architectural clone and a ready-made of similar museums around the world, as Baudrillard states. Foucault's notion of the heterotopia is used as the basis to analyse the interior of the //hapo museum. I debate the difficulty of exhibiting artefacts in an enclosed space, disconnected from the temporal effects of the disordered outside where the visitor's own political, culturaland religious background challenges the museum's authority. Memorialising trauma is discussed in terms of the exhibit for Body #1 and Body #2 where, as Herwitz states, the appropriate form of acknowledgement is to resist monumentalisation. I conclude that the endurance of heritage sites such as Freedom Park and the //hapo museum will be determined by their popularity as tourist and heritage sites, rather than the political or ideological reasons for their construction.
Oppositional positions : Brett Murray's resistance of power : themed section : power and visual cultureAuthor Jessica Lindiwe DraperSource: De Arte 51, pp 101 –114 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1177253More Less
Art in South Africa has a very particular history of resistance, largely beginning in the mid-twentieth century as a means to protest and expose white racist governmental processes and practices. More recently, however, socially engaged art has addressed far more complex expressions of power and its invasiveness. One artist whose default setting has remained oppositional throughout his career, is Brett Murray. A socio-political critique is at the heart of his work, with the deconstruction and exposure of unequal power relations having become his defining feature. This article traces the strategies Murray has used to resist power, and what he perceives to be its gross abuse, by looking at three works produced at different intervals in his career: Policeman (1985/9), Memories and Heroes (1995) and Triumph (2015). I argue that Murray's work is most successful when it is ambiguous, allowing disquieting truths to surface and resonate uncomfortably for the viewer. In this way, he presents an opportunity for the viewer to deepen her/his engagement with the socio-political, and initiates what Anthony Downey (2014) might call 'politics proper'.
(Un)spoken : the register and display of the artist's voice in the museum : themed section : power and visual cultureAuthor Alexandra RossSource: De Arte 51, pp 115 –123 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176382More Less
This article is a two-fold exploration of the voice in relation to the documentation of artistic practice, whilst also focusing on the nuance and agency of the voice, its capture and presentation. Particularly in connection to the museum, this article posits the potential of approaching contemporary artworks displayed in a museum in an expanded and polyphonic manner. Drawing from a lineage of artistic example, it considers the possibilities and limitations of working with the voice and how to record and represent the interstitial, intimate or informal spaces of artistic production. The role of the museum as safeguard and mediator of artwork has been evolving apace to also accommodate the transparency of process, thus allowing for the revealing of institutional and artistic processes. With this reveal comes an enhanced understanding of the context in which an artwork was created and subsequently how it came to find itself within a particular collection.
Author Andries Walter OliphantSource: De Arte 51, pp 124 –126 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1177283More Less
This book, as the author 'showingly' writes in the introductory section, 'The look of this book', explores the intersection between 'art history, visual culture, and political theory and practice' in South Africa from the late 1960s to the present, by focusing on the impact of the Black Consciousness movement. Its central concern, as the title announces, is with the visual iconography, cultural, aesthetic and ideological legacy of Stephen Bantu Biko, the founder of the Black Consciousness movement, born in the Eastern Cape in 1946 and killed in police custody in 1977.
Author Liese Van der WattSource: De Arte 51, pp 127 –129 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1177284More Less
The story of Pierneef is really the story of the reception of Pierneef's art; that is to say, his story reveals as much about South African art history as it does about his work. This is made abundantly clear in the accompanying catalogue to an extensive exhibition entitled 'A Space for Landscape: The Work of J.H. Pierneef', held at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg in 2015, and curated by Wilhelm van Rensburg.
The African photographic archive : Research and curatorial strategies, Christopher Morton & Darren Newbury (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Michael GodbySource: De Arte 51, pp 130 –132 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176383More Less
The title The African photographic archive creates the expectation of a large volume with detailed information of photographic archiving practices throughout the continent: in these terms, the information contained in this book is highly selective in relation to both geography and variety of archiving practices and, particularly, the involvement of the many states in the preservation and curation of photographs in Africa. This is absolutely not a reference book of any kind.
The art of public space : Curating and re-imagining the ephemeral city, Kim Gurney (Ed.) : book reviewAuthor Lesley LokkoSource: De Arte 51, pp 133 –135 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1177254More Less
Kim Gurney's new book, The art of public space, has one of those subtly clever titles that piques the imagination: 'art' as in the work itself and 'art' as in the skill required to enact it. It brings to mind the celebrated metropolitan cultures of fin-de-siècle European cities like London, Paris and Vienna - cities that have long projected an image of a mature and democratic public culture, held together by shared civic and cultural values that express themselves in the way people come together in public spaces. The subtitle, however, Curating and re-imagining the ephemeral city, sets up a slightly different expectation: Johannesburg's 'ephemerality', we grasp from the outset, is no plus. On the contrary.
Author Gavin YoungeSource: De Arte 51 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043389.2016.1176387More Less
This book illustrates and sets out the exhibition record of one hundred of this artist's sculptures produced between 1966 and 1993. In this sense the book feels like a catalogue raisonné, however, it mainly covers works that passed through the hands of the author, Fernand Haenggi, when he ran Gallery 101 during the mid 1960s. This gallery, located in the Rand Central building in Jeppe Street, was begun by his mother in 1961. It expanded rapidly, and by 1970 had branches at Hyde Park Corner, and in Hollard Street in Johannesburg. The galleries were sold in 1973.