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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - : 'n moedswillige Willem Boshoff reken af met meerderwaardigheid - 'n neo-Marxistiese interpretasie : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

In heelwat van sy taalgebaseerde konseptuele installasies moedig die kunstenaar Willem Boshoff aanskouers van sy werke tot gesprekvoering aan. Die doel van die gesprekke is hoofsaaklik om die dominasie van sogenaamde meerderwaardiges as "superieur" en die "norm" te ondermyn. Hy doen dit deur die bemagtiging van die "afwykendes" of "abnormales" om die betekenis van die kunswerk aan die "meerderwaardiges" te verduidelik. Hierdie aanslag van Boshoff ondersoek en illustreer ek in hierdie artikel aan die hand van 'n neo-Marxistiese lees en interpretasie van sy (1991-1996). Adorno beskou die kunswerk as 'n raaiselbeeld. Dit beteken dat die kunswerk in sigself 'n stukkie van die werklikheid bevat. Hy ontleen die term aan Gottfried W. Leibniz om die verband tussen outonome kuns en die samelewing te verduidelik. 'n Kunswerk bevat volgens Theodor W. Adorno 'n afspieëling van die hele werklikheid. Volgens Max Horkheimer en Adorno word die maghebbende of die sogenaamde norm se belange nagejaag en as vanselfsprekend beskou, terwyl dié van of geïgnoreer word. Boshoff toom, in sy omkering van magsrolle, sosiale en politieke solidariteit met gemarginaliseerdes. Hy hou as 't ware 'n raaiselbeeld aan die samelewing voor van hoe 'n mensliker samelewing daar behoort uit te sien. In gebruik hy taal as 'n instrument in die herstel van menseverhoudinge. Ek argumenteer dat die gesprek wat tussen siende en blinde mense in ontlok word, as 'n metafoor dien vir die gesprekke en nuwe vriendskappe wat gevorm kan word in 'n demokratiese bedeling in Suid-Afrika tussen mense wat binne 'n koloniale en apartheidsbestel kunsmatig verdeeld was en mekaar gevolglik nie op 'n sosiale vlak geken het nie.


In many of his language-based conceptual installations the artist Willem Boshoff's focus is on bringing about conversation, especially between social groups that do not communicate with one another easily or often. The aim of these conversations is primarily to undermine the domination of so-called superiors or "normal people" as the norm for society. He does so by empowering the "deviant" or "abnormal" people, in this case the blind, to explain the meaning of the work of art to their "superiors", people who can see.
I illustrate this attempt of the artist by way of a reading and interpretation of one of Boshoff's language-based installations, (1991-1996). The title of the installation seems strange because it implies that the installation is made for the most unlikely visitors to an art gallery or museum, namely the blind. However, the text in Braille on the covers of the containers in which the small sculptures are placed makes Boshoff's intention clear: the text can be read only by people who know Braille. To be able to read the text the blind people have to touch the work of art. Because they are not usually regular visitors to an art gallery, they may be unaware of the fact that they are actually flouting an unwritten "law" or convention in art galleries, namely not to touch the exhibited works of art. They also cannot see the "do not touch" notices that the artist deliberately placed on the walls of the gallery. Therefore they (obviously) ignore them. Not only do the blind touch the Braille text to be able to read it, but because they do not see the notices, they also open the containers and pick up the small wooden sculptures to explore them by touching them. Because of the "do not touch" notices on the wall the blind are privileged above the "normal" visitors of the gallery who can see and read the notices that they may not touch the installation. It is expected from sophisticated viewers of works of art to assimilate art visually and not by touch.

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/content/litnet/11/1/EJC151159
2014-03-01
2016-12-09
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