Hentie van der Merwe.
A group show of artists from Southern Africa, curated by art historians and curators Lauri Firstenberg and John Peffer, assistant curator - Sima Familant.
Works by: Santu Mofokeng, Willem Boshoff, Siemon Allen, Gordon Bleach, Abrie Fourie, Kim Lieberman, Senzeni Marasela, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Rudzani Nemasetoni, Joachim Schonfeldt, Marlaine Tosoni, Andrew Tshabangu, and Hentie van der Merwe.
This exhibition marks a distinct break from recent survey museum exhibits based on the broad category "Contemporary South African Art." The artists represented in Translation/Seduction/Displacement reflect two generations of contemporary artists, working through conceptual and photographic art strategies, who have critically influenced the contemporary art world, both locally and globally.
The concept of the show derives from the various meanings of the word "translation" across several South African languages. For example, in isiZulu, "humusha" can mean to interpret, to mislead, or to seduce. In Afrikaans "vertolking" is translation as critical or interpretive performance, and "verplaas" contains the idea of translation as physical displacement. The cross-cultural and cross-linguistic operations of translation as "seduction" and "displacement" will frame this exhibition.
The exhibition features the U.S. premier of major work dating to the early 1980's by two internationally prominent artists: photographer Santu Mofokeng (a retrospective of work on tragic 20th century landscapes) and conceptual artist Willem Boshoff (recontextualisations of his visual poetry dating from 1980, titled "Kykafrikaans"). The exhibit traces representational practices related to those of Boshoff and Mofokeng in more recent art by Siemon Allen, Gordon Bleach, Abrie Fourie, Kim Lieberman, Senzeni Marasela, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Rudzani Nemasetoni, Joachim Schonfeldt, Marlaine Tosoni, Andrew Tshabangu, and Hentie van der Merwe.
The exhibition is organized by the following criteria:
Translation-- Artists of this group critique representations of violence, and obscure vision. Working in universal conceptual languages overlaid by specific South African polemics, they couch their work in international terms and pose challenges to contemporary art discourse.
Seduction-- These artists' interpretations of history, myth, memory, and sacred belief reroute the spectator's expectations via manipulations in medium and meaning. What you see is not what you think at first sight, or sound.
Displacement-- For these artists a displacement of the historical typing of subjectivity is executed by reconstructing the photographic archive -- a revised archive interested in the reconciliation of truth and the inclusion of peripheral identities.
Performance by Willem Boshoff "KYKAFRIKAANS" - Friday, February 11th 7-9pm
Catalogues available - produced by the Artist Press in Johannesburg and Santon Civic Art Gallery, Johannesburg
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