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Posts Tagged ‘South African art’

“I dislike the uncritical celebration of form that often accompanies the idea of outrageous fashion and costume as some kind of new-found freedom of identity” Johan Thom

Quoted in the article ‘Welcome to the cabaret of art’ by Sean O’ Toole and published in the Mail and Guardian.

Artists are dressing up – or undressing – to make a point about who they really are. But is the spectacle more than just cheap drag?

Full article here:
http://mg.co.za/article/2013-10-11-00-welcome-to-the-cabaret-of-art

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From the archives: Entefada (2002)

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21 YEARS AT THE BAG FACTORY ARTISTS’ STUDIOS

We would like to invite you to join us for 21BF, a 21st Retrospective Exhibition. The exhibition, curated by Melissa Goba and assistant curator Tammy Langry aims to reflect on the diversity and creativity of artists who once held or still hold studio space at the Bag Factory.

Participating artists include:

Wayne Barker || Hedwig Barry || Bongi Bengu || Belinda Blignaught || Nicky Blumenfeld || Ricky Burnett || Reshma Chhiba || Iris Dawn Parker || Bongi Dhlomo || Paul Emmanuel || Fatima Fernandes || Kate Fountain || Gordon Froud || Rookeya Gardee || Kendell Geers || Nadine Hutton || Diana Hyslop || Verna Jooste || David Koloane || Moleleki Frank Ledimo || Benon Lutaaya || Colbert Mashile || Tamar Mason || Pat Mautloa || Tshepo Mosopa || Sam Nhlengethwa || Thenjiwe Nkosi || Richard Penn || Fidel Regueroes || Joachim Schonfeldt || Lerato Shadi || Penny Siopis || Dinkies Sithole || Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum || Myer Taub || Johan Thom || Jill Trappler || Dominic Tshabangu || Hentie van de Merwe || Mary Wafer

Opening night: Friday 03 August
Time: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Location: Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, 10 Mahlatini Street, Fordsburg

The exhibition will run until Monday 10 September 2012. Please keep your eyes on our facebook (BagFactoryArt) page for the full calendar of events during the exhibition’s run.

The Bag Factory would like to thank its funders who have made 21BF possible.

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©2012 Bag Factory Artists’ Studios | 10 Mahlatini Street, Fordsburg, Johannesburg, 2001

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Click here to find out more!

From the viewer’s perspective, video installations can be a tricky medium to wrap your head around. The content is often obscure and indecipherable, and it’s all to easy too walk away feeling more than a little confused. However, if you’re armed with some background knowledge on the artist and their intentions, video installations can be a rewarding and fascinating art form.

One such exhibition, entitled ‘Mine’ (showing at Ductac’s Gallery of Light), presents video installations of 17 South African artists (including well-known notables William Kentbridge and Robin Rhode), in which they comment on personal ownership. Each artist also appears in his or her film. To help you understand the pieces, we asked five of the artists. to give us an insight into their work.

Johan Thom
Title of installation
‘Terms of Endearment’.

Length of film
Three minutes 49 seconds.

Describe your video installation.
In short, it’s a work in which I wanted to express something about the relationship between domesticity, art and the subconscious. For most of my career my home has also been my studio. There’s something interesting about the way in which art is simultaneously very personal and social, domestic and public.

What message are you trying to convey?
I think we ought to carefully examine the myriad ways in which ideas about dirt and cleanliness figure so prominently in the way we structure and understand the meaning of our lives.

Where do you appear in the film?
I appear made up in ‘skullface’, as a delirious character that seems to celebrate the material messiness of life even from beyond the grave.

Who inspires you?
The ingenuity of ordinary people.

Do you have a favourite filmmaker?
I love film generally, and three names come to mind immediately: Steve McQueen, Bill Viola and Werner Herzog.

What makes you proud to be South African?
We are a hybrid, multicultural nation.

…….

Also read Robin Rhode, Bridget Baker, Lerato Shadi and Jacques Coetzer’s pieces in the Time Out by clicking on this link:  South African video art.

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Fried Art presents: Games People Play (a group exhibition of South African Artists)

Preview on Thursday 17 June at 18h30 by Dr Franco Colin

Music by Bongi Nthombeni

June 2010, the ears are numbed by the cacophony of vuvuzelas in the crowded South African soccer stadiums. What’s happening on the field is what does justice to the idea of GAME. Yet, such formalised games are often only a mild version of the kind of games that are played out in the human arena of political, social, personal and business games, agendas and encounters.  These games are ongoing; there’s plenty at stake and much tug of war.

During the 1960s, game theory became a popular study of the way in which human beings operate and compete especially in the fields of computer science, politics, agriculture and economics. Game theory has proven instrumental in understanding how and why decisions are made. Games People Play (1964), a groundbreaking pop psychology book by Eric Berne, introduced the notion of such human gaming based on Freud’s psychodynamic model, particularly the ego states, as a psychology of human interactions called “transactional analysis”. According to Berne, games are ritualistic transactions or behaviour patterns between individuals that can indicate hidden feelings or emotions.  In a general sense it can be argued that human encounters involve mind games in which people interact through a patterned and predictable series of “transactions” that are superficially conceivable, but sometimes could mask hidden agendas.  Berne (Butler-Bowden 2007) came to the view that within each person were three selves or “ego states” which often contradicted each other. They were characterized by the attitudes and thinking of a parental figure (Parent); the adult-like rationality, objectivity and acceptance of the truth (Adult); and the stances and fixations of a child (Child). The three selves correspond loosely to Freud’s superego (Parent), ego (Adult) and id (Child). Berne (Butler-Bowden 2007) further argued  that we teach our children all the pastimes, rituals and procedures they need to adapt to the culture and get by in life, and spend a lot of time choosing their schools and activities, yet we don’t teach them about games, an unfortunate but realistic feature of the dynamics of every family and institution. The book spawned a well-known song by the same title written, composed and performed in 1968 by singer/song-writer Joe South.

During the eighteenth century, a game called “stag hunt “was developed by philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. This game, also known as the assurance game, involves making a choice between individual safety and risky cooperation and involves the idea that two hunters who must decide whether to hunt a hare alone or a stag together.  ‘Arguably, the stag hunt describes the ethical dilemma of the scientists who built the atomic bomb. Roughly: The world would be better off without the bomb, but we have to try to build it because our enemy will. Better we have the bomb than our enemy; better both sides have the bomb than just our enemy’ (Poundstone [s.a.]).

In an interview with Arthur Holmberg, Milan Kundera (1985) stated: ‘ … playing games is an important source of pleasure. Real life is linked to a series of deceptions. It disappoints us with its futility. But when we consciously play games, as on stage, we already know that the game is not serious. Thus, the tragic futility of life becomes the joyous futility of play. In totalitarian regimes one quickly learns the importance of humor. You learn to trust or mistrust people because of the way they laugh. The modern world frightens me because it’s rapidly losing its sense of the playfulness of play.’ The playing of games can provide various satisfactions: aggressive and masochistic; expectant readiness with contempt of danger and consequent mastering of situations; repeated endurance of symbolic castration with resurrection of potency when one wins (Stokes 1956).

Accordingly, the “games” people play form the core of the subject matter in the works on display in Games people play.  The artworks on exhibition comment on the playing of games through a patterned and often predictable series of “transactions” that might not be superficially conceivable, but mask secret motives, feelings or emotions. Similarly, there are many word games, echoed in the game of the “language” of the artwork that is open-ended and  often cloaked in metonymy. The philosopher Wittgenstein maintained that words have a “family” of usages and resemblances: the word “game”, for example, could indicate board games, card games, virtual gaming or soccer games. Such games do not hold a single critical mutual attribute, but rather possess common characteristics and similarities.

Fried Art

http://www.friedcontemporary.com/

430 Charles St Brooklyn, Pretoria, South Africa 0181

TEL/FAX:   +27 12 3460158

E-MAIL

General information and art courses: info@friedcontemporary.com

Exhibitions and artists: art@friedcontemporary.com

Sources quoted

Butler-Bowden, T. 2007. 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do: Insight and inspiration from 50 key books. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2007 . [O] Available: http://knol.google.com/k/games-people-play#. Accessed 14 June 2010.

Poundstone, W [s.a.]. Excerpts from Prisoner’s Dilemma. [O] Available: http://www.heretical.com/pound/staghunt.html. Accessed 14 June 2010.

Stokes, A. 1956. Psychoanalytic Reflections on the Development of Ball Games, Particularly Cricket. International Journal of Psychoanalysis. XXXVII:185-192.

Kundera, M. 1985.  Interview with Arthur Holmberg. Performing arts journal, Volume 9, 1:25-27.

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Preview for a longer film by Thorolf Lipp and Tobias Wendl from Germany about the work of South African Media Artist Johan Thom

Terrorizing the Concept of Meaning
Documentary about South African media artist Johan Thom
Directors: Thorolf Lipp & Tobias Wendl
Camera, Editing & Postproduction: Thorolf Lipp
English, 45 minutes
Produced by: Thorolf Lipp
Produced for: IWALEWA-Haus & DFG (Federal German Research Council)

Weblinks:

Arcadia Film: http://www.youtube.com/user/arcadiafilm

Thorolf Lipp, Cultural Anthropologist and filmmaker: http://www.thorolf-lipp.de/

Tobias Wendl, director of the Iwalewa-Haus, the Africa Centre of Bayreuth University: http://www.tobiaswendl.com

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