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Posts Tagged ‘Diane Victor’

This year lecturers and artists from the Department of Visual Art at the University of Pretoria made a huge splash at Aardklop. Dr Johan Thom, Senior lecturer in Fine Art was for the second year running the head visual arts curator for Aardklop. Other lecturers and past alumni from Fine Arts whose works were showcased as part of the visual arts program include Diane Victor, Avi Sooful, Shenaz Mahomed and alumni such as Angus Taylor and Cazlynne Peffer.

Figure 1: Installation view: ’14 Stations of the Cross’ by Diane Victor. Photo Credit: J. Thom

Curator Dr Johan Thom conceived the visual arts program under the collective title of ‘Spoke Diewe en Digters’. The program was conceptualised in relation to the complex history of Afrikaans as a poetic language, one indelibly shaped by a persistent undercurrent of creative, often anti-establishment practices and thoughts. The life and work of figures such as Eugene Marais, the ‘sestigers’ (including Breyten Breytenbach, Etienne Le Roux, Adam Small and Ingrid Jonker) and even more recently those of Koos Kombuis and Johannes Kerkorrel served as inspiration for a large-scale exhibition premised upon the exploration of creative process and the contested place of visual art in our contemporary society.

In total seven exhibitions were mounted by Thom across the venues located on the campus of the North-West University during the festival. These include the solo exhibition ‘Skadu en Lig’ by festival artist Diane Victor, the group exhibition ‘A Flood in my hands’ (curated by Aysha Waja), ‘Saamklop’ (a program featuring the work of artist collectives including The Dead Bunny Society, Found Collective and The Centre For The Less Good idea), ‘Degenerative evolution of the living’ by Donald Wassiwa from Uganda (kindly made possible by ABSA), en ‘Die groen grass groei daar om’ a solo exhibition by Liza Grobler. Thom also curated a large-scale group exhibition featuring the work of local and international artists including global superstars such as Marina Abramović, Olu Oguibe, Roger Ballen, Jodi Bieber and many others. Finally a special music programme with Pretoria-based musicians including Bacchus Nel, Die See and Blinkruiter concluded the program with a show filled with poetry and musical ghost stories.  The last also included a series of oil portraits of Afrikaans musicians painted by the artist  Ronel Kellerman.

The work of this year’s festival artist Diane Victor set the tone for much of the visual arts on display. Victor is perhaps best known for her unflinching depiction of violence and discrimination against women in South African society. Apart from exhibiting a series of new drawings and prints Victor created a site specific installation of fourteen light projections against the walls of a concrete walkway of the auditorium of the Hennie Bingle Student Centre. This ethereal work titled ’14 Stations of the Cross’ was conceived as a pilgrimage of sorts, with each of the fourteen portraits depicting a victim of femicide. In this way viewers could stop at each portrait and meditate before reaching the end of their journey at the top of the staircase.The work was made all the more ghostly as each of the portraits was literally made from smoke on glass through which a bright light then projected the image against the wall. Victor was deservedly awarded best visual arts exhibition at Aardklop 2018 for her efforts.

The festival also provided a rare opportunity to see the work of the veritable grandmother of performance art, Serbian artist Marina Abramović in person at the NWU Art Gallery. For ‘Confession’ (2010), a video loop of sixty minutes, Abramović sits in front of a donkey telling it her deepest, darkest secrets. Amazingly the donkey almost never moves right until the end.

Figure 2: Confession Performance for Video by Marina Abramović, 60 minutes, 2010. © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives

Other highlights at the festival this year included ‘Pink and White Flowers’, an installation artwork by Olu Oguibe, made possible by the support of The University of Pretoria and The Nirox Foundation. Oguibe was a recent visitor to the Visual Arts Department of the University of Pretoria where he spoke about his life and work as an internationally renowned artist, scholar and activist. For ‘Pink and White Flowers’ Oguibe made a large-scale installation in the botanical gardens consisting of four thousand petunias stacked together. The work served as a portrait of Nokuphila Kumalo, a young girl who was also a South African victim of femicide. Sadly her mother had no picture of her but could remember that she liked pink and white flowers. Each of the petunias could be taken home by a visitor to the installation thus extending the work beyond the exhibition.

Figure 3: Installation view of ‘Pink and White Flowers’ (2018) at the botanical gardens of the North- West University, South Africa, by Olu Oguibe. Photo credit: J. Thom

Original post here:

https://www.up.ac.za/en/visual-arts/news/post_2727551-up-visual-arts-lecturers-and-artists-feature-large-at-aardklop-the-potchefstroom-national-arts-festival-1-7-october-2018

 

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Johan Thom & Willem Boshoff Elephant Peepsite, 2014. Etching using elephant skull with lines made up of alphabet beads on extruded acrylic super 220 x 127.5cm

Johan Thom & Willem Boshoff Elephant Peepsite, 2014. Etching using elephant skull with lines made up of alphabet beads on extruded acrylic super 220 x 127.5cm

Prints from The Animal Series
@ The Collectors Room, Fried Contemporary
Johan Thom with Willem Boshoff, Diane Victor, David Koloane and Bevan De Wet.

Opens Saturday 24 October @ 12 – 2pm
Concludes Saturday 21 November 2015 @ 14:00

Fried Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to present a body of work by Johan Thom created at the Nirox Foundation in 2014 and exhibited at its Project space in the Maboneng precinct, Johannesburg. The series of prints, titled: ‘Prints from the Animal Series’ is a series of etchings produced by Thom in collaboration with a number of well-known artists.

More info here: Fried Contemporary

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Fetish: Traversing the occupied body.

1. The dark mass inscribed:
“There once was a lady from Ongar”

We approach the rough hued designation ‘Fetish’ with inveterate apprehension. The term marks a disturbed frontier between inside and outside, self and other, an elemental antagonism. Like the object it too is pocked and pitted with our near desires, fears and denials. The “Stereotype [Fetish]… is a form of knowledge and identification that vacillates between what is always in place, already known, and something that must be anxiously repeated (Bhabha in Hook, 2005, p13.),“the correct German word for the vicissitude of [this] idea would be ‘Verleugnung’ [‘disavowal’]’ (Freud, 1927, pp153.). It is through the subtractive synecdoche that the fetish gathers an excess of signification, desire providing the surplus in value and, thus, fantasy fills the anxious abyss between the self and the ‘other’. And yet; “as a power that transfers to beings, objects and agencies, it is universal and diffuse but it crystallizes at strategic points so that its flux can be regulated and diverted by certain groups or individuals for their own benefit” (Baudrillard, 1981, p88.).

2. Colonising fantasies or minding the business of others:
“Who had an affair with a Conger.”

The transference of this agency to the human body and its activities was first described in proto-psychoanalytical terms by Alfred Binet. (1887). Freud’s ‘fetish’, drawing heavily on Binet, functions both by constraining anxiety [through the activity of fantasy/ the anxiously repeated] and breeding anxiety through instability at the level of identification (there is, and, yet is not a phallus). Different objects and associate sets of practices become fetishised; the fetish must, however, be a construct, a fantasy that is frantically reinforced. “(‘I know that mother has not got a phallus, but still . . . [I believe she has got one]; ‘I know that Jews are people like us, but still . . . [there is something in them],)” (Žižek, 2008, pp12). Žižek further elaborates when he proposes that the prevalent Ideological edifice requires the fantasy of the ‘other’, a simple and concrete image to
constrain/fixate the imagination on in order for the image to become a mobilising agency. This valorised parody of our pleasures, the fetish, acts as an obscene bribe that coerces our oppressive and repressive drives into action. Performing a miraculous/fantasmic act of shifting signification, through disavowal, the fetishised makes the unknowable instantly identifiable whilst maintaining and even accentuating difference.
The contemporary commodity fetish acquires its magnified value through an analogous repetitive chant. For Marx the consumer’s ‘needs’ are mobilized within individuals by the strategy of desire and “although the commodity takes the shape of a physical thing, the commodity form” has “absolutely no connection with the physical nature of the article. (Marx in Stallybrass, 2011, pp184). The fetishistic resides in the illusory excess, an ideological agency, and not in any intrinsic value of the ‘thing’. The human body itself is thus codified and commodified, reduced to an abbreviated sequence of values that do not reside in the body itself. “The makeup of beauty, of the erotic body, is a process of marking it, [through the addition of…] jewellery, perfume, ornament, or through cutting it up, the hair, the feet, the buttocks. (1981, pp94, Baudrillard cited in Dant, 1996, pp13). The body is offered up as a series of significatory values which ultimately constitutes the ‘fetishised’ being/object/agency. It becomes clear that our ‘fetish’ oversteps the simple historical limit of the object and our investigation points instead to a metaphoric condensation, a process of inscription; “after all we have a passion for the code.”

3. An occupied snarl.
“They said; how does it feel to sleep with an eel?”

As Bataille re/marks; desire is usually closely linked with terror, intense pleasure and anguish (1998, 53). The fetish as occupying force personifies a narcissistic fantasy that attempts to sublimate the ‘other’ to the self, a volatile ‘value’ freely oscillating between the religious, economic and erotic. Fetishism, thus, is a refusal of difference; and “a perverse structure that perhaps underlies all desire” (Dant, 1996, P10-11). The whole metonymic apparatus marks the colonist as it marks ‘his’ ‘savage’. “It orders the world around the coordinates of fantasy (or magical beliefs) it thus makes possible… to structure and stabilise a world of ideology.” (Pp26, Hook). The ‘semiotic fetish’ points a crooked finger at the anxiety of all
(travellers) explorers, agents of colonies and ideologies, as they meet themselves on the foreign shore of ‘difference’ and fearfully grasps at fantasies with which to fill the abyss between the known and unknown dimensions their own reflection.

4. Deteretorialisation
“Well, she said, just like a man only longer.”

Surely cogitation, and play around the discursive formula of fetishistic disavowal allows us to “come to terms with this surplus (or, more precisely, leftover) means to acknowledge a fundamental deadlock (‘antagonism’), a kernel resisting symbolic integration-dissolution. (Zizek, 2008, pp24) By imitating the libidinal ticks and taking our pleasure sans the horizon of prevalent arch-ideological meanings that they are attached to, we may, as subversives and artists, agitate the seemingly implicit ideological excess and so provide a critique of hegemonic ideology by presenting continuous encounters with that radical other.
Following this artists are invited to submit work, in any medium, that reflect, critique or play around the contemporary and/or historic manifestations of the Fetishistic formulation as a means of resisting this symbolic dissolution/integration.
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(((((Let us be careful not to forget that the voice carries through a thin wall or door))))) Sees his faults, his mannerisms, and his appetites laid bare, by his complacent eyes they are reduced in size (((((Just as is: – who can deny it, the shadow towards the midday on the sundial, showing that the stomach can demand its reward;
– By the frost, who can deny it, the standard meter;
– Defying the mud, a rolled up trouser leg; …”
(Roussel. p75, 2011)

References
Bhabha, H. n.d. – The other Question – [Online]. Available at http://courses.washington.edu/…/bhabha_the%20other%20questi… [Accessed 3 January 2015]
Baudrillard, J. 1981. For a critique of the political economy of the sign. USA: Telos press LTD.
Dant, T. 1996. Fetishism and the social value of Objects. Sociological Review, 44 (3) [Online]. Available at http://eprints-test.lancs.ac.uk/33407/1/Fetishism_eprint.pdf
Freud, S. 1927. Fetishism (J. Stranchey, Trans.) The Complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud. (Vol. XXI, pp147-157). London: Hogarth and the Institute of Psychoanalysis.
Hook, D. 2005. – Paradoxes of the other: (Post) colonial racism, radical difference, stereotype as fetish. [Online] Available at http://pins.org.za/pins31/Hook.pdf [Accessed 3 January 2015].
Roussel, R. 2011. New Impressions of Africa. USA: Princeton University Press
Richardson, M. 1998. ed. Georges Bataille: Essential Writings . London: Sage Publications LTD.
Stallybrass, P. 2011. Marx’s coat. [Online]. Available at: http://davidmcnally.org/…/…/Marxs-Coat-peter-stallyBrass.pdf [Accessed 5 January 2015]
Žižek, S. 2008. The sublime object of ideology. London, New York: Verso Publications LTD.

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New works from the Animal Series 2013 - 2014

New works from the Animal Series 2013 – 2014

Nirox Projects at Arts on Main presents a new series of works from the Animal Series by Johan Thom. Central to this series of works is Thom’s ongoing investigation of his own material encounter with an African elephant skull.

The exhibition is divided into three bodies of works: etchings; drawings and sculpture. Over the period of eight months Thom produced a set of five large-scale etchings in collaboration with Willem Boshoff, Diane Victor, David Koloane and Bevan de Wet. In collaboration with Thom, each artist was invited to create an aesthetic response to the elephant skull: Thom would first work on the plate by for example making a full body print or scratching the plate’s surface with the elephant skull. After this, the plate was given to the collaborating artist to work over and layer by adding further marks, visual or conceptual elements, drawing from the encounter with the elephant skull.

The exhibition also includes a set of charcoal and mixed media drawings that remind of Rorschach patterns. These observational drawings appear almost ghost-like in their rendering of the three-dimensional shape of the skull in shades of white upon blotches of ordinary blackboard paint.

Also showing as part of this exhibition is a bronze and mixed media sculpture produced in collaboration with Guy du Toit.

The artist wishes to thank the Nirox Foundation for their generous support throughout this project and the Artist Proof Studios.

Opening Sunday 16 February @ 12:00

Exhibition runs until 9 March 2014

Dimensions: 42 x 29,7 cm

Dimensions: 42 x 29,7 cm

For more information, please contact Neil Nieuwoudt on T: +27 (0)11 7887902 | M: +27 (0)72 350 4326 |

E: neil.nieuwoudt@gmail.com

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Nirox Projects | 264 Fox Street | Arts on Main | MABONENG PRECINCT |

Johannesburg

www.niroxarts.com

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ALSO SEE: Animal – a new series of works | May – July 2013

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press_release_image_3c
Johan Thom,  on residency at the Nirox Foundation (http://www.niroxarts.com) from May –  June 2013, is producing a new series of works around the theme of an elephant skull.

He explains: ‘I have long been fascinated by English sculptor Henry Moore’s series of artworks drawn from his observations of an elephant skull. A biologist gave the skull to Moore after a visit to Africa in the 1960’s. Moore was fascinated by the complex form and it became his favourite natural object. Recently I had the opportunity to study the series first-hand at the Tate Britain in London and now wish to rethink the material encounter with the elephant skull by producing a new series of artworks in different media (including video; photography; printmaking and drawing).’

For the etchings/ printing project four large-scale etchings of approximately 2m x 1m will be produced in collaboration with some of South Africa’s most prominent artists (Willem Boshoff; David Koloane and Diane Victor). According to the Artist’s Proof studios, this may well be the largest project of its kind ever in South Africa.

Photos will be posted on Twitter as the project evolves @JohanThom

Thom Studio

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ALSO SEE: Nirox Projects presents: New works from the Animal Series, 2013 – 2014 by Johan Thom with Willem Boshoff, David Koloane, Diane Victor, Bevan de Wet & Guy du Toit

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An exhibition entitled Map – South Africa with works from a broad spectrum of artists and genres will be hosted by the UJ Art Gallery from 11 May to 15 June 2011. In addition to showing new work by 39 artists who have participated in Map, the exhibition documents the diverse spaces utilised for the Map projects all over South Africa.

These spaces include restaurants, hotels, homes and Map’s own Karoo residency. The show also records Map participation in the 2007 Innibos arts festival and an architecture conference: African Perspectives 2009: ‘The African City Centre (re)sourced’, hosted by the University of Pretoria, as well as publications relating to these projects.

The founders of the project, patron of the arts, Harrie Siertsema and Abrie Fourie, well known artist and curator, brought a fresh and innovative approach to the domain of visual arts through this ongoing project and through their unwavering trust in and support of South African artists.

The multifaceted Modern Art Project (Map) originated in 2005 out of the impulse to combine the works of established and emerging artists and to show such works in unexpected spaces outside the traditional gallery context.

Map is emblematic of a new ‘empathetic economy’ in which the artwork is taken from the white cube gallery for more democratic dispersement, and brought back to the white cube for documentation and integration. Map also points to the destruction of the division between high and low culture.

The Map endeavours are documented in an exceptional series of “black books” available for public perusal. This informative resource is also a collector’s item as a limited edition “black box” set.

Enquiries:  Annali Cabano-Dempsey +2711 559 2099

Web:

http://www.uj.ac.za/EN/artsacademy/Gallery/Exhibitions/Pages/CurrentExhibition.aspx

http://www.mapzar.org

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