Posts Tagged ‘video art’

National Centre for Contemporary Arts presents
Video art from Africa
Curated by Kisito Assangni
2 November 2012 
123342, 13, Build.2
Zoologicheskaya St
Jude Anogwih | Younes Baba-Ali | Saidou Dicko | Ndoye Douts | Kokou Ekouagou | Mohamed El Baz | Samba Fall | Nicene Kossentini | Kai Lossgott | Michele Magema | Nathalie Mba Bikoro | Johan Thom | Saliou Traoré | Guy Woueté | Ezra Wube

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Torrance Art Museum presents


Video art from Africa

Curated by Kisito Assangni


July 21 – September 1, 2012



3320 Civic Center

Torrance, California

90503 USA





Jude Anogwih | Younes Baba-Ali | Saidou Dicko | Ndoye Douts | Kokou Ekouagou | Mohamed El Baz | Samba Fall | Nicene Kossentini | Kai Lossgott | Michele Magema | Nathalie Mba Bikoro | Johan Thom | Saliou Traoré | Guy Woueté | Ezra Wube


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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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Johan Thom

becoming, binding & disappearing – a selection of video works

Apr 22nd – Sep 5th 2010

curated by Dr. Ulf Vierke

Iwalewa Haus (The Africa Center of the University of Bayreuth)

Münzgasse 9
95444 Bayreuth, Germany
Tel: +49-921-554600


Johan Thom is a South African visual artist working with the body as primary subject material. This is the first time that a comprehensive selection of his video works and video installations are shown together.

Well known for his performances, videos and video installations Thom often subjects the body to extremes in a quest to map its ongoing transformation. His works are both enigmatic and playful, subverting preconceived notions about identity, the body, politics and knowledge.

Thom is part of a generation of South Africans born in 1976, the year of the Soweto riots and the introduction of television in South Africa (a group that also coincidentally exercised for the first time their right to vote in the democratic elections of 1994). This generation of South African artists stand precariously balanced between the past and the present of South African society, its culture and history. In this regard Thom’s works do not fit comfortably into the celebratory mould of the ‘new’ South Africa but, rather, is anchored in a constant personal movement through – and exploration of – the contradictory poetics and politics of being a ‘white-male-Afrikaans-speaking-African’. His artistic position here is that of an individual perhaps somewhere between a modern day shaman and a traditional court jester. The result is a darkly humorous and provocative artistic exploration of the relationship between subjectivity, knowledge and the body.

The exhibition includes a number of large-scale video projections and installations such as Challenging mud after Kazuo Shiraga (2008), a video projection displayed on a thin layer of flour placed on the floor and showing the artist being buried alive with his body covered in gold leaf; Theory of displacement (2007/8), a massive immersive environment consisting of three video projections in which the artist lies tarred and feathered in a natural spring situated in the area known as the ‘Cradle of Humankind’, South Africa; Terms of endearment (2007) in which the artist made up in ‘skullface’ happily gargles on ordinary washing detergent and champagne. Also included on the exhibition is a new large-scale installation titled Blood Rites (2010) showing the extreme close-up movement of the artist’s face covered in gold leaf as he ritually places 50 individually engraved razor blades in his mouth, chewing and spitting them – all projected onto a number of thick rope lengths hanging from the ceiling.

This solo exhibition is supplemented by the screening of Terrorizing the concept of meaning – Conversations with Johan Thom, a 43-minute documentary film produced by Iwalewa Haus & the Federal German Research Council and made by Thorolf Lipp and Tobias Wendl following extensive interaction with the artist over the course of the past two years.

Venue: Iwalewa Haus, Münzgasse 9, Bayreuth, Germany

Vernissage: 19h00, 22 April 2010

Artist talk: 19h00, 23 April 2010

Opening Hours: Tue – Sun 14h00 – 18h00

Dates: 22 April 2010 – 05 September 2010

Contact: iwalewa@uni-bayreuth.de

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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)


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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Artist: Johan Thom
Date: 2008
Medium: Installation: Video projection on mounds of salt, glass
Sizes: 125 x 120 x 45 cm approx

For this project I thought specifically about the notion of distance, of looking outward into space as a means of establishing a provisional locus. The exteriority of this locus is questioned and rendered ambivalent through the disappearing body: the gaping wound that makes of Saint Thomas a believer in a transcendent body.

Final display:
The final work will be projected vertically, with the projector wall-mounted facing downwards and the projected image falling onto two small mounds of salt (laying on two separate half-round glass shelves also wall mounted with brackets).

The work will be exhibited in 21-23 January 2009 at the Slade Research Center, Woburn Square, London as part of ‘The view from here’ – a collaborative project between UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art, the Bartlett School of Architecture and the BBC. The project is part of the annual ‘Research Spaces’ collaboration between the PhD students from each school. For the 2008/9 edition the project explores notions of cultural translation and trans-positioning by artists working in different media drawing from the three key project terms – transmit, translate, transmute.

Visit project site: http://researchspaces-tvfh.com/

The work was made with technical assistance by Justus De Jager, Director of Photography, http://justusdejager.com/Home.html

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