n De Arte - The Parking Gallery : experimental practice and the artist-run initiative in South Africa : research

Volume 51, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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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.

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