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Posts Tagged ‘South African art’

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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Terms of endearment by Johan Thom

Video still 1 ‘Terms of endearment’ Johan Thom, 2007

At Iwalewahaus for a 3 day festival/ screening of ‘The film will always be you’ curated by Abrie Fourie​ and Zoe Whitley​ as of this Saturday. Then for some mischevious fun with a dark performance as part of the conference program for ‘Art of Wagnis’ dedicated to the life and work of provocateur Christoph Schlingensief.

More details about the ‘Art of Wagnis’ conference here:

http://www.iwalewa.uni-bayreuth.de/de/program/20151204_Schlingensief-Tagung/index.html

and for ‘The Film will always be you’ here:

http://www.iwalewa.uni-bayreuth.de/de/program/20151127_Film-Will-Always-Be-Yo/index.html

 

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Installation view of collaborative sculpture at Nirox Sculpture Park.

With Guy du Toit.

 

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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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“I am the director (we must have direction beyond the mere fact of our course, of our direction, our charter, the map and the stars we follow)”web-2014-J-Thom

Photographic still from HOUSEBOAT #1

Performance on 31 January 2014 in Antwerp as part of the exhibition ‘Nomad Bodies’ curated by Elfriede Dreyer with glass sheet, flour and honey.

This work is part of a new series of works by Johan Thom centred on exploring the notion of the ‘houseboat’. To be clear this is distinct from the more commonplace concept of the ‘boathouse’ (a boat on water that doubles as a human habitat).

In this sense the houseboat signals a rethinking of the ordinary house as being a stationary built environment inhabited by individuals, families and so forth.

In this series of artworks the notion of the house as an ordinary private dwelling is displaced in favour of a more open-ended understanding: the house become a space through-and-by which real and imagined journeys into the world are undertaken on a daily basis. The house now becomes something like a ghost ship – a simultaneously ethereal & concrete framework that accompanies and informs ones myriad interactions with the surrounding world. The houseboat is never left behind as one travels into world but an every present reality in ones daily life.

For Houseboat #1 my voice became a virtual ‘speaking of’ the houseboat and its crew as they journey into the world. For me, these multiple voices are the material embodiment of the interactive relationship between the houseboat, the various individuals that inhabit it and the world they encounter on their journey.

At the end of the performance I simply let go of the glass sheet.

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