Gallery News for Gerhard Marx
World On Its Hind Legs at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
Art Week Joburg will see the unveiling of the installation of World on its Hind Legs at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg. This monumental sculptural work was born out of a long collaboration between William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, and is based on Kentridge’s drawings for an Italian newspaper in which he addressed the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in 1935. The work depicts a world that is both powerful – suggested by the bold stride and the steel structure of the work – and fragile; on the verge of disintegration, but held together by its own volition; fleeing its fate and at the same time, striding towards its destiny. World on its Hind Legs will be unveiled at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg on Tuesday 8 September 2015.
Gerhard Marx headlines in Potch
Gerhard Marx was the 2014 invited Festival Artist at Aardklop in Potchefstroom from 6 – 11 October. The festival fine arts programme included his solo exhibition The Garden at Night at the NWU Hoofgalery on the NorthWest University Campus. The exhibition included new sculpture, and works with inlaid organic material on canvas, as well as new print editions and earlier works from the Garden Carpet series. Marx is also featured on Exact Imagination: 300 years of botanically inspired art in South Africa at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. Goodman Gallery artists Willem Boshoff and Walter Oltmann also feature on this exhibition, curated by Cyril Coetzee, which is on show until 6 December.
Various artists at the South African Pavilion at Venice Biennale
Works by David Koloane, Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx, Philip Miller, Sam Nhlengethwa, Sue Williamson & Nelisiwe Xaba are featured on the South African Pavilion at the 55th la Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Brenton Maart, the exhibition is titled Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive. The exhibition is presented by the National Arts Festival and funded by the Department of Arts & Culture. The 55th la Biennale di Venezia will take place from 1 June to 24 November 2013.
Life of Bone launches at Origins Centre
Life of bone, both an exhibition and a book, is the fruit of a series of interactions between a group of artists, scientists and writers, whose work has included the consideration of bones. As Joni Brenner, the co-ordinator of the project, explains, “Our explorations mean that we have dealt with issues of human origin, evolution, human consciousness, deep time, lineage, ancestry and belonging.”
Life of bone has created a meeting of art and science in an exhibition, staged at the Origins Centre, where significant palaeoanthropological discoveries are found in dialogue with artistic responses to bones, life, death, past, present and future. The three artists, Joni Brenner, Gerhard Marx and Karel Nel, have each produced a body of work which relate in different ways to the presence and meaning of skulls or bones. The scientists who have engaged with the artists’ work deal with bones in their own disciplines as anthropologists, geneticists and social scientists involved in human rights work. Further responses to the works have come from a writer and a poet.
The exhibition will feature the Taung child skull, one of South Africa’s most treasured finds in a rich hominid heritage, was discovered at Taung in the North West province in 1925. The fossilised skull is that of a young Australopithecus africanus, or “Southern ape of Africa.” Brought to the attention of the world by Raymond Dart, the skull, estimated at 2.5 million years old, points to the fact that this creature and its kind walked upright on two legs. Believed to have been 3 years old at the time of its death, this touching fossil has rarely been on public view. Also on view will be the Border Cave skull –a fossilised, early human skull– and a chimpanzee skull.
The book, Life of bone, published by Wits University Press, will be launched at the exhibition. Life of bone runs from May 5 – 31, 2011. Origins Centre is open seven days a week from 09h00 -1700.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
17 December 2015 – 27 January 2016
A Geometry of Echoes is a line that Gaston Bachelard uses to explain how inhabited space does not necessarily ascribe to the dimensions of physical architecture, and therefore can ‘transcend geometric space’. A similar logic is at work in South African land surveyor, Henry Fourcade’s invention of photogrammetry ; a method in which stereoscopic photography is used to open a third, dimensional space as a means to define topography. When, in 1904 Fourcade used photographs to draw his remarkably accurate topographical map of Devil’s Peak, he was accessing the heights and depths of the mountain, but not by climbing it – he was accessing it through the flat surfaces of photography.
When an echo bounces off a wall, the ephemerality of a sound is reflected off the solidity and geometry of a physical environment, a voice physically meets context, defining the space between sender and surroundings. ‘Sounding’, the practice of using sound to measure depth in a body of water, utilizes the echo, by bouncing sound off against the seabed and ‘catching’ it, as it returns to the sender. The water is measured without physically entering it, yet the unit of calibration used to define the depths in water necessarily involves the body – measured in feet or fathom, nomenclature plunges the body into the depths even if only symbolically. The body is implied even where the body cannot go.
Depths in Feet is a series of 20 ‘drawings’, constructed entirely from map fragments. The alluring print-blues of areas that depict only expanses of ocean were physically excised from a broad collection of World Atlases. Marx’s interest in the presence of water on terrestrial maps lies with the fact that water, as fluid substance that essentially refuses mark making, is an antithesis of the marked and mapped terrain. In a sense, that which cannot be mapped is contained within the map itself. Marx uses these blue shards and physically reassembles them, using the map’s printed frame to create two-dimensional collaged drawings that explores conventions used to construct the illusion of depth, of volume and of three-dimensional space.
In the same manner that the sender of sound (when ‘sounding’) is positioned to become the receiver of the echo, the visual construction of perspectival space necessarily suggests and positions the body of a viewer. As a counterpoint to the defined vanishing point, the viewer is the receiver or locus of the perspectival lines that radiate out from this point. Any visual illusion of volume or depth implies an essentially stable viewer, poised at an implied threshold and positioned in relation to a particular horizon. This series of essentially abstracted constructions explores the potential for interiority within the flat surface of the map. These are literally ‘groundless’ maps, in which the illusion of depth and volume wrestles with the flatness of the map as object. The continued shift in spatial propositions across this series is intended to leave the viewer ‘at sea’ as it were – on unstable ground, as a renewed relationship to an implied horizon line is continually renegotiated around the axis of shifting volumes.
Overlap Axis (CT 1926) continues Marx’s investigation into the visual correlation between the physical landscape and the built environment, by engaging with the historic traditions of stone masonry, mosaic arts and the aerial views of urban landscapes. The focus of this new sculptural work is on one of the earliest official South African aerial surveys done of Cape Town in 1926. Marx utilizes the overlap between two images from this archive. By turning the overlap into an axis, the aerial photographs interlock to create a self-supporting, three-dimensional structure. Inasmuch as there is a hint that, when viewed, the two overlapping images might stereographically merge into three-dimensional space, the pairing of the two successive images opens a narrative element and a sense of time passing, of one moment lapsing into the next.
Cape Town inner city grows within the tight parameters of its geographical location. In rendering the aerial view of the city within the languages of mosaic traditions, the tight geometric tiling of urbanity directly translates into regulated, ‘Roman’ tesserae organization, which lapses into ‘Palladiana’, (randomly organized tiling) where the built environment borders ocean or mountain. Rendering these temporal images in stone creates a rich contrast between the elusive, disembodied nature of the aerial photographs depicted and the immediacy and physical tactility of the sculptural surface, as the work negotiates the relationship between surface and place, distance and stone.
In other sculptures and drawings, Marx uses the idea of the ‘hybrid view’ (familiar to users of digital mapping applications) to combine sets of information into what he refers to as ‘Language Objects’. In these works the object fuses with the language and nomenclature that ‘surrounds’ that object. The ‘object in language’ is a landscape shrouded in geospatial information – it is a hybrid object, fused with the indicator lines that link it to its own nomenclature.
A series of drawings entitled Calligraphy for Cartography focuses on the calligraphic ‘flourish’. Marx draws inspiration from the scribbles made by his children, both engaged in the process of learning to write and draw. Their proliferation of scribbles and sketches marks the process of their ‘coming into language’, of mark making becoming formalized as legible text. The fact that in some way text can be entered, opens at least a thought of the possibility that it can, in some manner, or some point, be undone. The flourish, as something of a formalized scribble, is essentially a non-textual, decorative element that functions around the edges of text. It functions to serve aesthetic impulses that operate apart from literal, textual meaning. What attracts Marx to this tradition is the manner in which the particularities of the strokes (thin up-stroke, thick down-stroke), and the swerves of the line, serves to make the ‘presence’ (and personality) of the calligrapher present – to flourish as it were. Marx uses lines from road maps to construct his own flourishes. He carefully ‘undoes’ these maps, using his scalpel to sculpt his own. By carefully selecting the thickness and quality of the map’s line that he cuts from its original context, he reassembles these fragments to construct a ‘drawn map’ that negates the objective functionality of the cartographer’s line in favour of the calligrapher’s hand.
Gerhard Marx’s solo exhibition at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg – Lessons in Looking Down – takes its name from a chapter in Jules Verne’s book A Journey to the Center of the Earth. In the book, two geologists discover a potential route into the centre of the Earth, and prepare for their decent by taking ‘lessons in looking down’. They visit Copenhagen in order to climb the corkscrew spire of the Church Of Our Saviour, which has steps that spiral on the outside of the spire, offering extensive views of the city. Five days are spent on the tower, looking down from that height until they can do so without being frightened, without their heads ‘swimming’.
Geology, like drawing, is an exploration largely bound to the surface. Verne describes a rehearsal in which the geologists attempt to overcome the fear of falling by staring down onto the surface of the earth. Even as they stare themselves out at the vastness of their vista, they are also imagining themselves as piercing the crust, as entering the map. Instead of reading the earth’s surface as a boundary, they anticipate the depths of what might lie below.
Marx’s Lessons in Looking Down explores representations of the structures that the bare eye cannot see. He focuses on the structures that hold or shape the fluid aspects of existence; the ribcage that holds the soft, near shapeless interior of the body, the city structure that funnels and facilitates the flows of lives lived together. Marx literally brings the informational abstractions of aerial views, maps, and anatomical illustrations into his physical world by using plant material from his immediate environment as medium. The techniques that Marx develops to do this are at once practical, poetic and conceptual strategies by which he draws the world with the world. His works are labour intensive reconstructions that rely on fragments to construct intimate immensities, works that meticulously scratch at the surface to reveal an ecstatic vastness beneath.
Garden Carpet: Johannesburg is a series of six canvasses, which together depict a road map of central Johannesburg as represented in standard map books. Marx fragments and redraws this map over the six canvasses using wispy bits of plant material and roots, replacing the decisive graphic style of maps with a wavering organic density in a manner that is evocative of weaving. The maps are without text, lacking the sense of orientation that street names, the names of suburbs and other information gives the ‘reader’. When representing the map without text only the warp and weft remains; the grids and networks that cohere disparate places and sites. These are the structures that shape the landscape in which we live, the way we live within that space, and ultimately also moulds our relation to others, giving form to our lives together.
In Vertical Aerial: Johannesburg (Square) an aerial view of central Johannesburg is carefully rendered in stone. Mosaic is employed to striking photographic effect as each tessera comes to depict an element in the densely built environment of the inner city. The mosaic tradition speaks directly to the modular logic in which a city tiles the surface across which it grows. InVertical Aerial: Johannesburg (Square) a single diagonal fold runs vertically through the mosaic and disrupts the flatness of the aerial view. With its sides leaning forward or receding at ominous angles as it hinges around the diagonal fold, the structure has been carefully engineered to let the sculpture stand independently, but looks precarious like it might collapse at any moment. This sculptural and structural dimension adds significantly to a sense of Johannesburg as a space that constantly negotiates the relationship between development and collapse, between thriving metropolis and ruin.
This January, in his first exhibition with the Goodman Gallery, Gerhard Marx presents new works that are born out of his own self-designed processes, which involve skillful manipulation of materials collected as part of an engagement with the artist’s physical urban context. As a Cumulus cloud constantly verges on collapse, Marx’s subjects border between form and formlessness, always rich in associative and connotative density. Dried plants, seamlessly embedded into paper, become a twisted composition of skeletons. Abandoned garden refuse is delicately grafted into a ribcage and then cast in monumental bronze. Fragments of a South African atlas are fashioned into the elaborate structures of discarded plants and weeds. A gathering of black plastic rulers form a cloud on the verge of saturation, right before the Cumulus ruptures and it starts to rain.
“Most of my works,” explains Marx, “are incremental accumulations of small things… I am interested in forms that border on formlessness – unstable, shifting, growing, permeable forms.” Titled Cumulus, the exhibition’s namesake is in this light highly symbolic for Marx. When the Cumulus cloud was named, along with other basic cloud forms in the early 1800s, Marx says, “suddenly these allusive shapes were determined, fixed by name and description.” The cloud’s shifting nature – its aggregatious build-up, coupled with a constant threat of collapse and ultimately, its transformations – becomes a central allegory within a body of diverse work. Marx elaborates on this by saying that “beauty relies on a determined sense of form, but the sublime inevitably involves formlessness.”
The form or formlessness that his works take always begins with a process – usually a highly intricate one – that Marx devises over time. “I tend to develop a technology every time,” he says, explaining that the etymology of the word technology comes from the Greek tekhnē, which also means to reveal. “You develop a technology and it reveals something.” Through these processes that Marx refers to as “evocations rather than determinations”, he works with an object that is either intrinsically or associatively indexical. Each object or material used “denies its own physicality or presence by pointing at something else, in the manner in which a map incessantly points at the territory, or in which remains imply a lost whole.”
In a new series eponymous with the title of the show, Marx uses dried plant matter as his medium, using it to draw parts of the human skeleton. “The relation between the parts are in disarray,” writes Marx, “collapsed into palimpsest, drawing reference to the composition of skeletons when excavated from archaeological sites.” In the sculptural work, entitled Scion (upon scion), Marx uses discarded plant matter from the streets of Johannesburg – scavenging on the curatorial compost of the gardener – in order to graft from selected parts of branches a ribcage that is finally cast in bronze. “In this manner,” he says, “the matter expelled from various gardens finds its way back into the body.”
Marx shifts from using plant matter to denote the body, to using man-made products to represent natural structures, all the while intimating human physicality. Hortus Siccus (for Luca Ghini) is an ongoing project whereby Marx sets out to create a Herbarium from the wilderness inherent to, or created by the urban landscape. In this project, Marx collects weeds from the edges of roads – instead of pressing the weeds, a Herbarium is created by drawing or mapping the plant specimens using fragments from a hybrid collection of road maps and atlases. Marx has used a similar process in order to map a discarded rose bush in Hortus Siccus: Bush. “Roses have been cultivated by humans for over 5000 years,” he explains. “This intimacy is embodied in the histories of grafting, selection and pruning evident in the plant’s structure.” In his Weather series black plastic rulers are layered onto each other to create a dense, self-referential system that alludes to the image of a cloudburst. Despite the ruler’s seeming objectivity, Marx explains, “it is a tool that measures the world in relation to the human body… The forearm, the thumb, the hand, the distance between fingers, the foot, and of course the footstep have all played a part in the development of the standardised measurements. The calibrated, objectified abstraction that the ruler brings to the experience of space is radically negated by the fact that it relies on a particular intimacy to function: the ruler cannot measure without touch.”
In each of these multifaceted works, the gaze of the viewer is central. “The viewer seeks to read a cohesion between fragments; to read gesture, to read relation,” explains Marx. The works swivel on the ambiguities of the bounding line, the boundary fence and periphery – a fragile skin that coheres through distinction, but is always in touch with context, threatened by trespassers, risking cohesion to collapse, lured into integration and even disintegration.
Cumulus is Gerhard Marx’s fifth solo exhibition, and his works are featured in public and private collections. Marx is well known in the cultural world for shifting across disciplines, regularly working in theatre, film and public sculpture. Recent theatre productions include REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony (directed by Marx, interactive film by Marx and Maja Marx, composed by Philip Miller), performed at the Royal Festival Hall, London, The Market Theatre, Johannesburg and the ’62 Center, Williams College, Massachusetts. Other productions include They Say (winner, Bravo Award: Most Memorable Moment) and the multiple award-winning Tshepang (scenography by Marx). The film And There in the Dust, animated by Marx and co-directed with Lara Foot Newton, has been screened at more than thirty-five international film festivals, and has won several awards, notably Best Animated Film and Best International Short Film (Bird’s Eye Festival, London), Best Short Film (Latin, African and Asian Film Festival, Milan) and three Golden Horn awards (South African Film Awards). Marx has collaborated on public sculpture projects to create The Fire Walker (Queen Elizabeth Bridge, Johannesburg), in collaboration with William Kentridge, and Paper Pigeons (Pigeon Square, Johannesburg), with Maja Marx. He is a fellow of the Sundance Film Institute, and the Ampersand Foundation.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
15 December 2016 – 14 January 2017
Lisa Brice / Kudzanai Chiurai / David Goldblatt / Alfredo Jaar / Samson Kambalu / Kendell Geers / William Kentridge / Liza Lou / Gerald Machona / Gerhard Marx / Shirin Neshat / Walter Oltmann / The Brother Moves On / Jessica Webster
For its end-of-year Summer Show, Goodman Gallery Cape Town has gathered together a selection of important pieces from both new and existing bodies of work by its artists. Taken as a whole, the show presents a textured and vibrant series of engagements with the artists’ social and political environments through photography, sculpture, drawing, prints and video. The exhibition serves an as opportunity to show works not yet seen in Cape Town, and to introduce visitors to artists newly represented by the gallery.
Despite its title, David Golblatt’s A family picnic in the north-west. 15 August 2009 focuses on a macro view of the landscape and structures in which this human scene is taking place. The photograph illustrates Goldblatt’s change in narrative style since shifting to working in colour. As writer Christoph Danelzik-Brüggemann says in the book Intersections: “In parallel with a continued emphasis on striking human situations, in landscapes he developed a visual language that accorded more meaning to space than to time. The formats became larger and a plethora of extremely precisely recorded details (blades of grass, stones, person) combined to form tableaux which the viewer’s eye can explore at leisure. As an overall picture emerges from these details, the viewer becomes aware that the image tells of our times, of the people who live in this land, and of the forces that shape it.”
Walter Oltmann’s Bristle Disguise uses woven alumnium and razor wire to reference local craft traditions. Covered in spikes that recall both the elaborate dress often used in ritualised African dance and the pulsating energy radiated in the activity, his bodysuit merges craft and art. Oltmann has researched and written extensively on the use of wire in African material culture in South Africa and is deeply interested in the influence of these traditions in contemporary South African art. “In my sculptures I use images of natural phenomena (human, plant and animal) and play with the idea of mutation, hybrids and reconfiguring the familiar. Through dramatically enlarging and/or transposing features of one to the other, I play with the paradox between vulnerability and the monstrous. Using the language of craft, my artworks are always a product of labour and time,” he says.
In 2005, American artist Liza Lou first travelled to South Africa to initiate an art project with Zulu beadworkers. Starting with 12 women from the surrounding townships of KwaZulu-Natal, Lou’s project has flourished and has now grown to a collective of over 25 artisans. Her commitment to this community of Zulu women and to exploring the process and testing the limits of her chosen material has led to a minimal, contemplative practice in which the material has become the subject. Untitled #13 is a prime example of the end result; a formal object that, through subtle imperfections, bears witness to the manual labour and personal investment at stake.
Country of my skull was one of the installations included on The Brother Moves On’s solo exhibition, Hlabelela, at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg. The exhibition questioned each member’s personal histories, cultural background and beliefs as a means of unsettling the idea of a homogenised black experience and its acceptance by white art institutions and discourse. The performances, installations and videos explored the complex identity of black youthful opposition but also questioned whether these contemporary traditions can exist within the established traditions of art institutions and art discourse.
Lisa Brice’s Well Worn 5 was part of a body of work that featured a cast of female protagonists engaged in autobiographical acts of looking and being looked at. Grooming, making up, stripping down, dressing up within the confines of domestic, private or veiled interiors, they range from depictions of adoration and loathing, to defiance and reinvention. The mirror reflection reoccurs as a central motif, simultaneously functioning as an alter-ego and an imagined audience beyond the private, as well as a formal device within the painting.
In Life Magazine, April 19, 1968, Alfredo Jaar deconstructs a renowned photograph of Martin Luther King’s funeral that provides a stark visual essay on the racial prejudices that lead to King’s assassination. The work typifies Jaar’s interest in the politics of images: their effect on modern society ”bombarded by thousands of images without warning, without mercy, containing messages of consumption crafted by marketing and communications experts”. He directs the viewer to the parts of the visual experience that they may not have considered in their reckoning of who has power, who does not, and why.
Samson Kambalu’s Nyau Cinema consists of site-specific performances captured on and made in conversation with the medium of film. Born in Malawi and now based in London, Kambalu regards his work as a form of playful dissent that fuses the Nyau gift-giving culture of the Chewa, the anti-reification theories of the Situationist movement and the Protestant tradition of inquiry, criticism and dissent. “In my tribe, the Chewa, excess time and resources are not sold; instead it is squandered in ‘useless’ activities such as the arts, funerals, initiations etc. – all led by Nyau masks,” he says. “The role of the Nyau mask is thus to orchestrate the giving of gifts,” which in a capitalist culture, he explains, would be considered the squandering of surplus time and wealth. He invokes the concept of “Gule Wamkulu” (literally the “Great Play”), a ritual masked dance performed by the Chewa, which he describes as “really the creation of ‘Situations’, where a gift can be given without incurring a debt”.
Gerhard Marx’s Transparent Territory series consists of drawings that have been constructed from the fragments of decommissioned and discarded terrestrial maps. The focus in these works is on the act of taking the flat, rectangular depictions of landmass and territory (which maps are intended to be), and reconfiguring them into mineral-like geometric constructions in which folds, facets and overlays construct spatial illusions along with a sense of depth and interiority within the flatness of the map. The series takes inspiration from early depictions of perspectival illusion, most notably Giotto’s clustering of architectural structures. The works also burrow into the flatness of geographic depiction through an act of ‘cartographic mining’, in which the solidity of the earth’s surface is ruptured into a transparent palimpsest of geography and historical time that undermines the authority and singular viewpoint of the two-dimensional map.
Kudzanai Chiurai’s Genesis [Je n’isi isi] CI and Genesis [Je n’isi isi] XI, from his photographic series of the same name, recount the stories of the men who ventured with Livingstone into unexplored territories in central Africa. They included other Europeans who sought similar adventures and the porters and guides who bore the weight of their supplies as well as slaves freed from Arab slave traders. It re-imagines Livingstone’s journey with the guiding principles that Christianity and commerce were inseparable.
Drawing is at the heart of William Kentridge’s artistic practice, forming the basis for works in other media, particularly film. South Africa’s preeminent contemporary artist, Kentridge has earned international acclaim for his layered and complex work, which includes operas, theatre productions and films incorporating his own sculpture and drawings as well as collaborations with dancers and composers. Waiting for the Fire, a large-scale drawing in Indian ink, illustrates his facility as a draughtsman, clearly evident in the animated charcoal drawings that first brought him to the world’s attention.
In the series Our House Is On Fire, originally made as a special commission for the Rauschenberg Foundation, Shirin Neshat was inspired by time she spent in Egypt in the aftermath of the revolution in 2011. In close-up portraits and details of hands and feet, meticulously inscribed with the words of poets of the Iranian revolution, Neshat tells a story of loss and mourning particular to her subjects and simultaneously universal.
In Untitled (Influx I) Gerald Machona has collaborated with Mozambican choreographer Guiamba to create a performance-based installation that seeks to transform migratory objects and garments. A Zimbabwean now living in South Africa, Machona’s work has dealt repeatedly with the theme of migration. Crucial to this artwork is an attempt to disrupt the 55-minute hour scheme used by Cape Town garment factories, where an assembly line of seamstresses was governed by a clock that would run 55 minutes of production and 5 minutes of recess every hour. Rather than rely on a clock to keep time and a metronome to indicate tempo, the artists have drawn rhythm from a sewing machine to stitch together the dance and installation.
Every year Jessica Webster dedicates some time to working as roughly and freely as possible with ink and bleach on paper. “By now I have amassed a huge stack of A3 works, but I see this set of earlier pieces as some of the most successful.” Using ink and paper allows the artist “to get back in touch with some of the fundamentals of my practice: this is the relationship between the two-dimensional surface and the imaginary spaces that composition orders,” she says. Inks 1-15 references Sol Le Witt’s series of drawings Variations of Incomplete Open Cubes (1974). “While Le Witt’s work is interpreted as symbolising the purely visual metaphors of rationality and the Enlightenment subject, my painted copies evoke the more fragile and unstable aspects of geometry. Using Le Witt’s series as readymade references me to focus on how the bare minimum of painterly strokes can create conflict between the sense of depth caused by geometrical perspective and the fluidity and gesturality of hand-painted lines. In some of the works I continue this investigation with other objects, provoking the imaginary sites upon which geometry and order comes to be projected.”
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
29 October – 7 December 2016
Kudzanai Chiurai • Nolan Oswald Dennis • Gabrielle Goliath • Haroon Gunn-Salie • Kiluanji Kia Henda • David Koloane • Moshekwa Langa • Gerhard Marx • Tracey Rose • Thabiso Sekgala • Jeremy Wafer
Goodman Gallery Cape Town’s group show Where We Are is a partner exhibition to Africans in America at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Where We Are offers a counter conversation to Africans in America, which explores the shifts in perspective that are occurring among a new generation of artists from Africa and the Americas as they transverse between the two. The Cape Town exhibition presents work by African artists within Africa – many of whom are still based in their country of origin – as opposed to working in the context of the diaspora.
The artists’ practice has either been rooted in or constantly drawn back to their places of origin – whether circumstantially or deliberately. Place is an inherent locus of the exhibition observable in a multitude of expressions, including map-making, borders, urban landscapes, migration and monuments.
Where We Are is a precursor to a larger exhibition that will take place in New York in 2017. It serves as a series of questions, interrogating history, geography and memory, both personal and collective. The artists examine the systems of place that define the daily lives and recent histories of people across the continent and find them wanting, resulting in many attempts at re-imagining. In the proposal of ideals and alternatives, the status quo is indicted and the past held accountable, as we attempt to understand where we are, how we got here and how to move forward.
Housed in an edifice of large wooden shipping crates, Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda’s video installation Concrete Affection – Zopo Lady references the mass exodus of Luanda’s inhabitants after Angola’s independence from Portugal’s colonial rule in 1975. The cityscape becomes a vivid fabric of motion and colour in an expansive drawing by David Koloane, for whom the city of Johannesburg is a muse.
Gabrielle Goliath’s chilling audio installation, Roulette, points to a defining feature of South Africa – the ever-present threat of violence. A stream of amplified static is punctured by a point-blank recording of a gunshot once every six hours (the damaging effects of which the participant is warned about before listening) – bringing to life femicide statistics showing that every six hours a woman in South Africa is killed by an intimate or ex-intimate partner, one of the highest rates in the world. Rather than confront the violence head-on, two photographs by the late Thabiso Sekgala look beneath the surface at the devastation in the mining towns of Rustenburg and nearby Marikana.
Drenched in red, Haroon Gunn-Salie’s sculptures of dismembered hands cast from public statues of Captain Carl von Brandis, Johannesburg’s first magistrate, and Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias are a powerful indictment of colonialist expansion. Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai engages in a similar re-contextualisation of colonial imagery in his Genesis series, which takes as a departure point stone reliefs commemorating the expeditions of David Livingstone and counters them by imagining an Africa reconnected with its rich traditional past. Tracey Rose also subverts historical assumptions of whiteness by recasting the role of the messiah as a challenge to canonical religious iconography.
The ideas of land and memory are central to Nolan Oswald Dennis’ triptych, which contains extracts from Wikipedia entries for the term “Azania” and points to the limits of and Western bias still so prevalent in human encyclopedic knowledge.
Jeremy Wafer explores the arbitrariness of the physical barriers and boundaries that define country, specifically the demarcation between Mozambique and South Africa. Similarly, Gerhard Marx deconstructs the borders defined in mapping to question notions of territory and the place of the human in the abstracted aerial view.
The abstraction of the landscape is taken to its end point in Moshekwa Langa’s work, an expressive evocation of distance and horizon offering a personal perspective on migration, loss of place and the bittersweet experience of return.
The exhibition includes a video programme hosted in Goodman Gallery Cape Town’s new street-level video room on Sir Lowry Road, echoing the thematic content of Where We Are with a focus on the individual as an anchor to place.
Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
4 June – 6 August 2016
In 2016, Goodman Gallery celebrates its 50th anniversary – five decades of forging change through artistic production and dialogue, shaping contemporary art within and beyond the continent. From early June, we will host major exhibitions between our Johannesburg and Cape Town galleries featuring significant work, installations, interventions, performances, a video and talks programmes.
Titled New Revolutions, our programme will include prominent international and African artists – each part of the Goodman Gallery’s history, present and future – engaging with the idea of perpetual change, alternative independent movements and the reinvigorating of ideology based upon mutable historical realities. The project as a whole will consider Goodman Gallery’s history as an inclusive space, as well as its approach to showing contemporary art that shifts perspectives and engenders social transformation.
New Revolutions recalls the fulcrum of activity into which the gallery was borne 50 years ago: revolutionary fervour, the gradual decolonisation of African countries and radical responses to the status quo. Locally, the gallery maintained a responsibility to show work by South African artists as museums served the agenda of the discriminatory government. By transcending its role as a commercial space Goodman Gallery rose to prominence as a progressive institution. And, while South Africa was deep in the throes of a draconian era, figures within the fight for African independence trail-blazed the struggle against apartheid. This exhibition reflects on how the events in Africa then, still play a part in the conceptual thinking of artists now. And, beyond that, how artists have responded to new forms of economic colonisation, migrancy, as well as radicalised reactions to economic inequality and lingering institutional racism.
By considering how the roles of artists cross into the realm of activism and socially transformative endeavours, New Revolutions explores historical and contemporary tensions and movements that are unfolding in Africa and around the world, through the panorama of contemporary art.
The 2016 anniversary programme highlights Goodman Gallery’s ongoing affiliation with artists who explore the power of dissent and the importance of alternative factions and cross-disciplinary collaborations in order to engender change and encourage dialogue. A non-chronological, intergenerational but conceptually linked collection of artworks from the 1960s to the present will focus on the spirit of protest, resistance, and revolution, and the way in which South Africa, and Goodman Gallery in particular, has offered an important platform from which to explore such approaches.
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary Goodman Gallery takes pleasure in announcing new partnerships with some of the world’s most significant artists – Sonia Gomes (Brazil), Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola), Shirin Neshat (Iran) – revealing new directions in the gallery’s programme. Locally, we announce the representation by Goodman Gallery of Tabita Rezaire and The Brother Moves On. In addition, the exhibition will include work by international artists Kapwani Kiwanga (US) and Jacolby Satterwhite (US).
New Revolutions will provide an opportunity to exhibit those who have worked with the gallery for decades including William Kentridge, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, David Goldblatt and Tracey Rose, and some of the most influential younger voices in contemporary art including Kudzanai Chiurai, Hasan and Husain Essop, Mikhael Subotzky, Gerald Machona and Haroon Gunn-Salie. The show will also include artists who have been integral in the gallery’s transformation over the past decade, including Ghada Amer, Candice Breitz, Alfredo Jaar, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, and Hank Willis Thomas. Performances will be presented by local innovators, Nelisiwe Xaba and The Brother Moves On.
Beyond this, the iconic significance of the gallery, and the historical moment necessitates that certain artists whose ideas and actions impacted on society, and on the course of art history, be included. Artists like Walter Wahl Battis, Cecil Skotnes, Ezrom Legae, Leonard Matsotso and Sydney Khumalo are exhibited as part of our endeavour to show how the regeneration of ideas – and the gallery as a repository of change – is not confined to epochs.
With New Revolutions we invite you to celebrate with Goodman Gallery as we pay homage to artists who have shaped the landscape of contemporary art in Southern Africa. These include artists based on the continent, those of the Diaspora, our northern counterparts who have been distanced from sub-Saharan Africa and those from outside of Africa whose work explores territory such as unequal power structures and socio-political constructs.
New Revolutions is curated by Liza Essers and will take place throughout the month of June at our Johannesburg and Cape Town galleries, and with a special selection of works for Art Basel from 16 June to 19 June.
This March, Goodman Gallery Cape presents a group exhibition of work in a wide range of media. Titled Editions, the show brings together photographs, sculpture, video/multimedia works, lithographs, linocuts and photogravures by a variety of South African and international artists, with the common thread that each work forms part of an edition.
Kudzanai Chiurai shows a new film from his Conflict Resolution series, last seen at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, as well as a new photograph from the same body of work. New prints by Gerhard Marx and Walter Oltmann find them engaging with etching, lithography and woodblock printing in new and exciting ways.
Alfredo Jaar’s photographs of Serra Pelada, an opencast gold mine dug by human hands in Brazil, are shown as color transparencies mounted in lightboxes, and sit in uneasy relation to Liza Lou’s Gather Forty, a sculpture made from gold-plated beads threaded and bound in a sheaf.
The exhibition also includes new prints by Clive van den Berg and Diane Victor; photographs from Candice Breitz’ recent Extra!, last seen at the Iziko South African National Gallery, and David Goldblatt’s characteristically quiet colour landscapes; and a portfolio of photolithography by Moshekwa Langa.
Also on show is the full series of Robert Hodgins’ experimental Officers and Gents, to coincide with the Wits Art Museum’s exhibition of his print archive; a selection of lithographs from Sam Nhlengethwa’s recent Conversations series; Mikhael Subotzky’s Don’t even think of it, a film made from a series of still photographs shot by the artist in 2004; and a set of 7 photogravures by William Kentridge titled Zeno Writing II.
Goodman Gallery Johannesburg welcomes you to 2012 with Advance/… Notice, an exhibition of new works by a dynamic group of contemporary artists from around the world. As we advance into a new calendar year, this exhibition gives notice of innovations from some of our artists who are already familiar to you, and of our new ventures into an intellectual exchange with artists with whom we are excited to work for the first time. This show will also give audiences a preview of what is to come, as many of the featured artists have solo shows planned for 2012 at Goodman Gallery spaces and other prestigious South African institutions.
Advance/… Notice introduces newly perfected techniques or processes for some of our well-known artists, such as platinum photographic prints by David Goldblatt, and a completely new turn of direction and field of interest for African American artist Hank Willis Thomas, who first exhibited with us on In Context in 2010, as well as for Sigalit Landau, the acclaimed Israeli artist we co-hosted at last year’s Venice Biennale. These international savants are joined by South African artists such as Hasan and Husain Essop, Moshekwa Langa, Mikhael Subotzky, Sue Williamson, William Kentridge, Rosenclaire, and Frances Goodman revealing either brand new works, or works not yet seen in Johannesburg. Also featured are works by Kendell Geers, whose retrospective exhibition will open at IZIKO South African National Gallery in late March 2012.
Our first show of the year seems an apt time to introduce the novel and the unexpected in the work of a number of artists and to also welcome prominent figures including Liza Lou, a world-renowned American now living and working in KwaZulu Natal; South African Candice Breitz, now resident in Berlin; Chilean-born New Yorker Alfredo Jaar; London-based Iranian Reza Aramesh, as well as Carla Busuttil – a young South African artist based in Berlin who is well-established in the United Kingdom, but has never before exhibited in her home country.
Liza Lou presents a work titled Gather Forty, one of a series of forty individual sculptures made from gold-plated beads that have been expertly threaded onto four hundred individual pieces of stainless steel wire and bound in a sheaf – continuing the shift of the beadwork medium from craft to conceptual art. Alfredo Jaar, internationally recognised artist, filmmaker and architect, celebrated for the public interventions he has created all over the world, shows From Time to Time, a panel of nine Time magazine covers focusing on Africa that either feature animals or malnourished Africans – revealing how the rest of the world often encapsulates its second largest continent. Breitz, who opens a major survey of her work titled Extra! at the Standard Bank Gallery this February, presents The Character, a video installation filmed in Mumbai that seeks to understand the role and influence of child characters in mainstream Indian cinema through interviews with a group of young moviegoers. In Action 78, Aramesh uses familiar scenes from news footage of the first Gulf War to restage, re-present and destabilise any easy readings of the conflicts we think we understand. Oil paintings by Busuttil offer a sinisterly-executed perusal of the exploitation of power and cruelty.
We are also very pleased to present for the first time the work of Nelisiwe Xaba, who will be presenting an interactive dance and video collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren at Goodman Gallery Projects in February. The crossover into visual art is exciting new territory for this renowned performer/dancer.
Goodman Gallery hopes you will join us to be inspired, challenged and excited by this exhibition and its promise of advances in the visual arts of South Africa. We trust you will find the exhibition gives notice of an innovative and exciting programme for 2012 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Goodman Gallery Cape presents Summer Show – opening on 15 December and running until 14 January. The exhibition has been designed as a review, focusing on new and recent work by South Africans artists either represented by or associated with the gallery. Important works from series produced by the artists over the past year are showcased, and the show also features a selection of works recently shown at the gallery’s Johannesburg spaces.
The exhibition includes prints from Siemon Allen‘s Records series, in which the artist explores images of South Africa through the collection and archiving of music records from the beginning of the 20th Century to the present day. Photography is strongly represented, with works from Jodi Bieber’s vibrant, urban-denizen take in her Soweto series, in marked contrast with David Goldblatt’s large-scale colour prints of rural South Africa. Mikhael Subotzky (who recently won the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art) and Patrick Waterhouse show recent work from their ongoing collaboration on the Ponte City project.
A text piece by Stuart Bird is shown in anticipation of his upcoming solo show in January, Gerhard Marx presents exquisitely detailed and artisanally worked surfaces in his new works, continuing his preoccupation with notions of mapping, place and nature, and Walter Oltmann shows a powerful new addition in aluminium wire to his series of insect suit sculptures.
Paintings by Moshekwa Langa, Lisa Brice and Clive van den Berg explore abstraction and gesture in different ways; all three have produced significant bodies of new works which were well received during 2011. Minnette Vari‘s uncanny brush and ink drawings of the goddess/crone Baubo sit in awkward dialogue with Kendell Geers’ La Sainte Vierge.
This exhibition affords a fascinating look at the output of some of South Africa’s major artists, and will also showcase from our Johannesburg spaces works not yet shown in Cape Town, including Kudzanai Chiurai’s Revelations, a series of photographic tableaux exploring politics and power in Africa, new wood sculptures by Willem Boshoff, and a selection of drawings, linocut graphics and sculpture by William Kentridge.
This winter the Goodman Gallery will relaunch its Parkwood space, which has been extensively reconsidered, both physically and conceptually. This launch will be initiated with a group exhibition simply titled Winter Show, featuring a range of luminary-status local and international artists. The show will not only present recent works by Goodman stalwarts such as William Kentridge, David Goldblatt, Sam Nhlengethwa and Mikhael Subotzky, but will also reveal a shift in the Gallery’s approach, showcasing work from around the Continent and beyond that is both explicitly and implicitly concerned with synergies and tensions between Africa and the rest of the globe. Some of the participating international artists, such as Ghada Amer and Hank Willis Thomas, are not only being showcased by the Goodman Gallery, but are now officially represented by us.
The Winter Show will act as a confluence of the Goodman Gallery’s top represented artists, as well as artists participating in In Context – a series of exhibitions and interventions currently taking place at Arts on Main and other venues in Johannesburg. Artists such as Jenny Holzer, Amer, Willis Thomas, Bili Bidjocka, Willem Boshoff and Kara Walker will participate in both shows, with the Winter Show presenting some of their more recent work. While In Context manifests an intimate and often candid exploration of the dynamics of the African continent, the Winter Show will offer a broader conceptual platform, covering many aspects of South African, African and global landscapes and conditions.
The Winter Show will elaborate on the thorny notion of the politics of representation, which Brenda Atkinson and Candice Breitz confronted in their 1999 collection of essays Grey Areas: Representation, Identity and Politics in Contemporary South African Art. The book was a direct response to the critique of Nigerian curator Okwui Enwezor, who was the creative director of the Second Johannesburg Biennial in 1997. At the time, Enwezor interrogated the practice of artists such as Breitz, Minnette Vári and Penny Siopis, intricately considering the question of ‘who has the right to represent whom?’ Now, over a decade later, accusations of misrepresentation have been revisited and reconsidered not only by Enwezor himself and those whose essays were included in Grey Areas, but by the art community at large. In Context magnifies these issues, while the Winter Show augments the dialogue, bringing new voices into the conversation.
Compelling features of the Winter Show include two of Walker’s 2009 films – which are based on narratives from archives of a bureau established in 1865 to assist African Americans with the transition from slavery to freedom – presenting the artist’s signature black-silhouette cut-out figures, which almost impossibly convey the complexities of race, gender, sexuality and power in their stilted and provocative movements. Jenny Holzer’s Purple Red Curve (2005) transmits a coalescence of master narratives through a curved electronic LED sign. Jeremy Wafer will create a site-specific wall drawing in the Goodman Gallery specifically for the show. Kentridge will present a series of new drawings produced this year as well as a maquette of the structure World on its Hind Legs, created in collaboration with Gerhard Marx. A large scale, steel version of this work will be launched at the Apartheid Museum on 8 July 2010 as part of In Context. The Winter Show will also feature an ongoing screening of all of the Goodman Gallery’s top art films by leading artists such as Kentridge and Vári.
The Goodman Gallery in Parkwood has undergone numerous physical transformations and now boasts a new showroom and a space dedicated to photographic works. We are in the process of establishing an art library accessible to the visiting public and will offer a range of educational art talks and events during the Winter Show.
With Goodman Gallery firmly established as a prestigious, world-class contemporary art institution, the Winter Show will reveal how the Gallery – beyond representing artists of the highest caliber – is dedicated to bringing an innovative programme of relevant and compelling international works to South Africa, offering audiences exposure to some of the best contemporary work being produced locally and abroad.
Ryan Arenson | Walter Battiss | Deborah Bell | Justin Brett | Lisa Brice | Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin | Adam Broomberg | Kudzanai Chiurai | Marlene Dumas | Claire Gavronsky | Robert Hodgins | William Kentridge | David Koloane | Moshekwa Langa | Alexandra Makhlouf | Brett Murray | Sam Nhlengethwa | Walter Oltmann | Jonah Sack | Kathryn Smith | Jaco Spies | Clive Van Den Berg | Diane Victor | Jeremy Wafer | Sue Williamson
For many artists, drawing forms part of a larger process – a loose way of visualizing an artwork before committing to it in a more permanent medium. But the act of drawing itself remains one of the oldest and most eloquent forms of artistic expression. Goodman Gallery Cape is proud to present a group exhibition of drawings entitled ‘The Marks We Make’, exploring notions of mark-making as assertions of ownership and expressions of violence, memory and play.
Drawing usually refers to pencil marks on paper. In this exhibition we approach the term more loosely, featuring a range of media to question what constitutes a drawing and what gives it power. Works will include photographs from the Red House series by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, depicting the marks left behind by prisoners of Saddam Hussein in Iraq; wire and sculptural elements by Walter Oltmann and William Kentridge; installations by Jeremy Wafer, Jonah Sack and Justin Brett, as well as more traditional pencil, oil and charcoal drawings by Sue Williamson, Lisa Brice and Sam Nhlengethwa.
‘The Marks We Make’ brings together South African artists to explore the ways in which marks shape our environments and inform our perspectives. Bodies are circumscribed, silenced or marginalized by the invasive marks of violence. But these marks can also be used to express an identity, stake out a position or form communities. Territory is claimed, land contested, and ownership asserted through the use of marks, both physical and symbolic. The exhibition seeks to interrogate the ways in which these marks act to create the contingent, political spaces within which we form ourselves, and the role they play in shaping our personal and cultural memories.
Born in South Africa in 1976. Currently living and working in Cape Town, South Africa.
Marx completed his MA (Fine Art) Cum Laude at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2004). His sixth solo exhibition, Lessons in Looking Down was held with the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2013), followed by The Garden At Night, Aardklop Arts Festival, University of Potchefstroom Gallery (2014). His work was selected for the Venice Biennale 2013. Other recent international exhibitions include My Joburg at La Maison Rouge, Paris and Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Dresden; and The Beautiful Ones, Nolan Judin, Berlin. Marx’s work is shown regularly at international Art Fairs, including Art Basel, Frieze (London) and FIAC (Paris) and features in numerous public and private art collections. During 2009 he completed two large scale public sculpture commissions in Johannesburg, South Africa: The Fire Walker, a collaboration with William Kentridge; and Paper Pigeon, a collaboration with Maja Marx. He has extensive experience in theatre, as scenographer, director, filmmaker and playmaker, including REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony (directed by Marx, interactive film by Gerhard Marx and Maja Marx, composed by Philip Miller), performed at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London (2010), the Market Theatre, Johannesburg (2008) and the 62’Centre, William College, Massachusetts (2007).
Marx is a fellow of the Sundance Film Institute, the Annenberg Fund and of the Ampersand Foundation.
2015 Geometry of Echoes. Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2014 The Garden at Night. Colver Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa
2013 Lessons in looking down, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2011 The Viewing Room, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 Cumulus, Goodman Gallery Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
2007 photo-, Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa
2005 Gerhard Marx, Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary, Johannesburg, South Africa
2003 New Works, Outlet, Pretoria, South Africa
2000 Drawing and Animation, Open Window Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa
1999 You are here, Civic Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2016 New Revolutions: Goodman Gallery at 50 , Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2013 My Joburg, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France
2013 Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive , South African Pavilion, 55th la Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
2011 The Underground, the Surface and the Edges, Michaelis Galleries, Cape Town, South Africa
2011 Life of Bone, Origins Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
2006 Figuring Faith Curated by Fiona Rankin Smith, Standard Bank Art Gallery, Johannesburg and Grahamstown National Arts Festival, South Africa
2004 Ten Years of Democracy Exhibition, Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Oudsthoorn, South Africa
2007 Sundance Fellowship, Sundance Film Festival Screen Writers Laboratory, Utah, USA
2004 Ampersand Fellowship, New York
21C Hotel Museum, Louisville, USA
ABSA Bank, Johannesburg, South Africa
First Rand Bank LTD, Johannesburg, South Africa
2013 Brent Meersman, An Imperfect Past and Its Impact on the Present, Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, South Africa
2013 Chris Thurman, Marx’s Maps Connect the Sky to Subterranean in Unexpected Ways, Business Day Live, South Africa
2011 GavinYounge, Cumulus Review, Design Magazine, Number 19
*2011*Leora Maltz-Leca, Cumulus, Artforum, South Africa
2011 Renee Holleman, Cumulus, Artthrob, South Africa
2011 Bettie Lambrecth
Press for Gerhard Marx
Gerhard Marx / IOL Tonight / South Africa / 17 September 2014Understanding the world through tactile art by Diane de Beer (56.8 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Business Day Live / South Africa / 12 December 2013Marx's Maps connect the sky to Subterranean in unexpected ways by Chris Thurman (418.7 KB)
South Africa's exhibition at the Venice Biennale / Mail & Guardian / Johannesburg / April 19-25 2013An imperfect past and its impact on the present by Brent Meersman (306.3 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Art South Africa / Johannesburg / January 2011Cumulus | Art South Africa (53.3 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Artforum.com / January 2011Cumulus | Artforum by Leora Maltz-Leca (121.6 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Artthrob / South Africa / February 2011Cumulus | Renee Holleman | ArtThrob (346.9 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Die Burger / South Africa / 27 January 2011Cumulus | Die Burger by Bettie Lambrecht (39.3 KB)
Gerhard Marx / Design Magazine / 19 June 2011Cumulus review by Gavin Younge (44 KB)