Gallery News for Thabiso Sekgala
Rise and Fall of Apartheid at ICP
Works by Jodi Bieber, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, Thabiso Sekgala and Sue Williamson feature on Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life at the International Centre of Photography in New York. This photographic exhibition examines the legacy of the apartheid system and how it penetrated even the most mundane aspects of social existence in South Africa, from housing, public amenities, transportation, to education, tourism, religion, and businesses. Complex, vivid, evocative, and dramatic, it includes nearly 500 photographs, films, books, magazines, newspapers, and assorted archival documents and covers more than 60 years of powerful photographic and visual production that form part of the historical record of South Africa. Several photographic strategies, from documentary to reportage, social documentary to the photo essay, were each adopted to examine the effects and after-effects of apartheid’s political, social, economic, and cultural legacy. Curated by Okwui Enwezor with Rory Bester, the exhibition proposes a complex understanding of photography and the aesthetic power of the documentary form and honors the exceptional achievement of South African photographers.
The exhibition runs from 14 September 2012–6 January 2013. For more information click here
RESHMA CHHIBA / GABRIELLE GOLIATH / MURRAY KRUGER / GERALD MACHONA / KYLE MORLAND / MONIQUE PELSER / THABISO SEKGALA
Goodman Gallery Cape presents [Working Title] – a group exhibition of young artists working in South Africa, brought together in a way that allows multiple and perhaps surprising dialogues to emerge, and foregrounding questions of authorship, authority and notions of the relational.
Reshma Chhiba’s Kundalini Shakti and Linga-yoni – a slashed canvas and an unsettlingly organic sculpture, both informed by the artist’s ongoing interest in the Hindu goddess Kali as an embodiment of unbridled feminine creativity – act as a complement and counterpoint to the cool, Apollonian rationalism of Kyle Morland’s Double-Ended Saddle Cut, a suspended sculpture of welded steel. Both are also concerned, in different ways, with the act and effects of making. Murray Kruger, too, plays with concepts of creativity and authorship in his recreation of, and extrapolation from, Walter Battiss’ 1973 performance piece Open tent for contemplating the cosmic origins of art, while at the same time raising questions about the nature of the artwork, its evolution over time, and the ways in which its audiences are implicated in its inscription into history.
Gerald Machona’s origami-based installation Bling Bling: Blood diamonds are a girl’s best friend, a cynical comment on the abuses of power in postcolonial African politics, resonates with Monique Pelser’s Conversations with my Father, a searingly intimate attempt, in an installation and set of photographs, to understand her father’s death and life in the larger context of the dark and complex history of the South African police. A solemn photographic installation by Gabrielle Goliath titled Berenice 10-28 speaks poignantly of personal issues of loss and grief, while uncompromisingly confronting questions of violence and abuse in South African society.
Thabiso Sekgala’s photographs of the workers and inhabitants of a housing estate in Ghent are a refreshing and original take on the questions of identity that inform so much contemporary South African practice, and a provocative inversion of the usual dynamics of ‘othering’, while his stark images of domestic objects, at once intimate and abject, are a compelling reflection on contemporary urban life.
[Working Title] is a showcase of young artists whose work, while ranging in media and crossing disciplines, shares an uncommon and original approach to contemporary practice.
Text by Katrin Lewinsky
The art exhibition Basic Reality is not a curated exhibition. As the artistic
positions existed prior to the invitation, it is the artists’ present context that
relates to this exhibition. The exhibiting group of South African artists provide
examples of contemporary art mainly produced in South Africa between
2010-2011. The exhibition exists alongside current creative processes and
contributes to their development within a public interface. It is at the same
time to be seen as a medium in itself, created and completed by the artists.
This exhibition is unique and can’t be repeated. Goodman Gallery takes the
position of a commercial production partner offering the artists advice and
In this sense Basic Reality is a conceptual exhibition. It is formulating a liberal
progress of reference for contemporary art. It contains a neutral perspective
towards the possibilities of exchange between the media art and public in
order to relate to and establish processes of reality.
In the following conceptual text a theory on reality is introduced as part of a
greater philosophical discourse and as a consideration for statements on
contemporary art, like this exhibition. For the interest of relating to the artists
and the exhibited artwork outside of the theoretical concept on reality, selfreferential
artistic statements form a main component of this exhibition.
Theoretical text as a philosophical background and basis of discussion
The world can be seen as completely catalogued and analysed and then,
almost as compensation, artificially regenerated as if this were the reality. And
it is by these artificial strategies that we, all being specimen of ethnology,
here, in a metropolis, in all forms of society, try to live with representations of
reality. This common state assumes that none of our societies know how to
manage their social self, their power, their reality.
In this sense, the real that we experience is not reality. A basis for the
development of various structures: a growth of the true, of the lived
understanding for anthropological structures such as religion, technology,
language etc. There is a utopian culture that is conditional to human
awareness of, for example, a return of the metaphorical without object and
substance; of creations of idealistic models such as melancholy, of myths of
origin and signs of reality; of truth, objectivity and established authenticity.
Furthermore, a frantic production of the real and the referential exists, greater
than and similar to the madness of material production. We create visible
continua, visible myths of origin as existential evidence for the ultimate belief.
We correlate to productions of systems, commodities, of political economy
and of over-production. This is the restitution of the real that society has
developed to remove itself from. This is a hyperreality.
This hyperreality implicates an anti-form to every principle and objective.
And thus also to an interesting current principle in our society: the code of
capital. Capital is a challenge to society. It was capital that was the first to
feed, throughout history, on the destruction of every referential, of every
human goal, which crushed every ideal separation of the good and the truth
and their counterparts in order to establish a radical law of equivalence and
exchange, its law of power. It was the first to practice abstraction, severance,
deterritorialisation, etc. If capital has generated reality, its reality principle
exterminates the use of value, of real equivalence, of production and wealth.
In this system another evaluating strategy is simultaneously manifested:
power. This capacity shall be mentioned here as for a certain period it has the
disposition to assemble only signs of an affinity and the figure of a collective
demand for its signs. Those signs are equivalent to a setting, which is not a
principle, and more substantially not an ideology, as ideology does not relate
to reality or power, only to its infidelity.
Reality is evident in modes of power, as it is real in anything that is situational.
While ideology aims to restore the objective process, especially those of
common standards, this causes pretentious problems with restoring the truth
beneath a setting. This dynamic leads to the reason why power is so in
agreement with ideological discourses, for these are all discourses of truth
that always establish a good and avant-garde quality.
Art, and contemporary art in this context, of the matter of reality and its
structures of acceptance, manipulation and anticipation in our society, has
the power to create realities. In the existing scenarios art is closer to reality
than any other form of artificial production. Art inherently expresses critical
conditions, abstraction and redemption of the status quo. As a creative selfreferential
system it is not dependant on any form of power, reality, hyper
structure and capital, on any existential and ethnological conditions. Art has
thus by its immanent reduced artificial conditions, have the ability to settle the
basic conditions of the society to participate and create reality. Every art
exhibition is an opportunity to experience the visualised expressions of this