No 3D loaded yet
Goodman Gallery is pleased to present Land Throws Up A Ghost, an exhibition of new paintings by Clive van den Berg that continue his exploration of the landscape of South Africa, both above- and underground, and develop further the notion of a hidden terrain that is inscribed with all that came before. Of the paintings, the artist writes:
“I suppose there is some symmetry in the fact that, as the son of a miner, I would be interested in the underground, the space underneath the visible landscape. In truth I love both the above-ground landscape and the more elusive below-ground space, but for this exhibition I have made paintings that explore the underneath as a place where an archive of our distempers resides.”
To arrive at a visual vocabulary to engage with this archive, van den Berg looked to the diagrams and mapping techniques of archeologists and prospectors, and the resulting landscapes challenge our sense of perspective, and invite us to reconsider our orientation.
Clive van den Berg was born in Zambia in 1956, and lives and works in Johannesburg. He has held six previous solo exhibitions at Goodman Gallery, and his projects include commissions for the Johannesburg Biennale, the Bath Festival in England, a public sculpture in Braamfontein, an award-winning mosaic for Nandos in London and several others. He has contributed as artist and designer for permanent exhibitions at the Workers’ Museum in Newtown, the old prisons at Constitution Hill, and Freedom Park in Pretoria, and he is currently completing the installation of a permanent exhibition at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in Johannesburg. His work is held by numerous public collections, and he was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2010.
Clive van den Berg, artist, curator and designer, works on his own and in collaboration with colleagues in a collective called trace, whose primary activities are the development of public projects. He has had several solo exhibitions in South Africa, and his work is regularly exhibited abroad. His public projects have included the artworks for landmark Northern Cape Legislature and, since he has joined the trace team, museum projects for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Constitution Hill, Freedom Park, the Workers Museum, The Holocaust and Genocide Centre and many other projects.
Van den Berg has much experience working on large-scale institutional projects with teams representing diverse constituencies: urban planners and policy makers, architects, landscape designers, museum curators, historians, community liaison officials and representatives of local and national governments. In the Northern Cape, for example, where he worked with the Luis Ferreira da Silva architects, he pioneered a new strategy for integrating forms of the local landscape and indigenous aesthetics into the overall building design, while also training local artisans as part of a skills transference project aimed at long-term sustainability. The result is a world-renowned and uniquely South African state edifice: a monument to the people of the Northern Cape.
At Constitution Hill, his design ethos strove to fuse old materials with new curatorial strategies: to preserve individual and collective memory about the prisons and experiences that people had in them, while also educating future publics about the place of the prisons in South African history, and creating aesthetic forms appropriate to the institution.
In contemporary South Africa, much public institutional design is aimed at the cultivation of memory and the memorialization of the past. Van den Berg’s integrative approach to art, design and architectural construction has allowed him to produce spaces in which previously unheard or even suppressed narratives can be articulated. His design work on the exhibitions for the Mandela Foundation have been oriented toward this end: in showcasing materials from the Foundation’s archive, he has developed exciting new formats and vocabularies in which to reveal a past that had hitherto remained largely unknown, making it accessible to a new generation of South African citizens.