Fathom | RHE Water Show | March 2021

Jeremy Wafer / Sue Williamson / Kiluanji Kia Henda / Alfredo Jaar / Dor Guez / Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum 25 March - 30 May 2021 Goodman Gallery, Cape Town

Fathom /ˈfað(ˈ)m/
(noun) a unit of measurement of the depth of water.
(verb) an attempt at making sense of something difficult to comprehend.

Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Galleries Curate: RHE, the first chapter of a collaborative exhibition and online platform that brings together twenty one galleries from across the globe. Water, a universal and unifying subject matter, is the basis and starting point for each of the participating galleries’ exhibitions.

Fathom, Goodman Gallery’s contribution to RHE, takes the form of a group exhibition of artists working across a range of media including collage, land-based intervention and sensory installation. The coastline, seen here as both a physical and symbolic framework, forms the vantage point and undertow of the exhibition. As the intersection between land and sea, the coastline represents both a territoriality, and a boundlessness. Inscribed with stories that bear histories of occupation and freedom, coasts are loaded with cultural significance. As a counterpoint, they also appear to be infinite, extending beyond the horizon.

Alfredo Jaar’s Searching for Spain (2012) reflects the unprecedented immmigration crisis of our time. Jaar photographed the ocean from the viewpoint of an abandoned palace in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria. The palace, today a hiding place for immigrants before a journey across the Meditteranean, faces the direction of Spain. Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s Monolith III is a drawing of a landscape that appears simultaneously imaginative and representational. A precipitous mountain range is delicately mapped along a coastline, enclosing a large polyhedron shape. Beneath the surface and within the body of this central structure are visible traces of pentimenti.

Kiluanji Kia Henda finds a point of contact between an imagined coastal landscape, and a geopolitically laden site. Mare Nostrum (Black Birds), 2019 is an assemblage of black and white inkjet prints, depicting the expansive salt piles in Arles, extracted from the Mediterranean Sea. Historically, the Mediterranean is a site of development for civilizations and solidarity between different cultures. It is also a place of death and disappearance. Kia Henda intervenes with sections of the salt reserves by covering them with a large black sheet. Photographed at varying angles and distances, the sheet appears and disappears, an abstract form that migrates across the horizon.

Through a physical process of fragmentation, migration and collage, Gerhard Marx disrupts the boundaries and hegemonic claims inherent in maps, that allow for a consideration of landscape as social construction. Particles (2020), continues Marx’s engagement with discarded and decommissioned Cartographic Archives, where maps are incrementally cut loose from their original purpose and reassembled into a new and immeasurable spatial imaginary. Within the restrictive surface-area of each canvas, Marx sets himself the task of exploring the possibilities of describing depths, volumes and distances. Jeremy Wafer’s sculpture Fathom (2021), the exhibition’s titular work, is a thirty-meter length of rope upon which plugs of lead are cast in one-meter intervals. The work references a sounding line, a length of gradated line with a lead weight that is cast into water to measure its depth. Fathom is part of a series of ideas Wafer is currently working with that reflect on burials at sea.

Messages from the Atlantic Passage VI (2017), by Sue Williamson, is a large-scale installation based on the accumulated records from both sides of the Atlantic, during the late history of slavery in the 19th century. Suspended from the gallery’s ceiling, engraved glass bottles and fishing nets fall into a pool of water, representing specific voyages from West Africa across the Atlantic.

Dor Guez’s Letters from the Greater Maghreb (2020) will be featured in the online presentation of the exhibition. Born into a family of Palestinian and Tunisian Jews, Guez explores chapters of his own layered history to expose connections and subversive undercurrents. In the work, Guez draws on a precious manuscript, handwritten by his grandfather, in Judeo-Tunisian Arabic. After escaping concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Tunisia, Guez’s grandparents immigrated to Israel. During the arduous journey through the Meditteranean, personal documents were damaged by water leaked from the belly of the boat. Guez creates enlarged scans of the ink soaked pages, bringing the meaning of the original words simultaneously closer and farther away.

Artworks

About

Jeremy Wafer

Jeremey Wafer (b. 1953, Durban, South Africa) grew up in Nkwalini in what was then Zululand. He studied fine art at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg (B.A.F.A.1979) and at the University of the Witwatersrand (B.A. Hons. in Art History 1980 and M.A. Fine Art 1987).

Wafer has taught in the Fine Art Departments of the former Technikon Natal (now DUT) and Technikon Witwatersrand (now UJ) before being appointed Associate Professor. Wafer received his PhD in 2016 and was subsequently appointed full professor of Sculpture in the School of Arts of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Wafer is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, notably the Standard Bank National Drawing Prize in 1987 and the Sasol Wax Art Award in 2006. His work featured on the South African Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Wafer has exhibited in South Africa and internationally, his work is represented in the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, the South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery as well as in many other museum, private and corporate collections.

Wafer lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sue Williamson

Sue Williamson (b. 1941, Lichfield, UK) emigrated with her family to South Africa in 1948. In the 1970s, Williamson started to make work which addressed social change and by the late 1980s she was well known for her series of portraits of women involved in the country’s political struggle, titled A Few South Africans (1980s). 

Major international solo exhibitions include: Can’t Remember, Can’t Forget at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg (2017); Other Voices, Other Cities at the SCAD Museum of Art in Georgia, USA (2015), Messages from the Moat, Den Haag, Netherlands (2003) and The Last Supper Revisited (2002) at the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. Williamson has participated in biennales around the world, including the Kochi Muziris Biennale (2019); several Havana Biennales as well as Sydney, Istanbul, Venice and Johannesburg biennales. Group exhibitions include, Resist: the 1960s Protests, Photography and Visual Legacy (2018) at BOZAR in Brussels; Women House (2017, 2018) at La Monnaie de Paris and National Museum for Women in the Arts (Washington D.C); Citizens: Artists and Society Tate Modern, London; Being There (2017) at Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris) and Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life (2014) at the International Centre for Photography New York and the Museum Africa (Johannesburg), curated by Okwui Enwezor, and The Short Century (2001-2) also curated by Okwui Enwezor, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and P.S.1 New York.

Williamson’s works feature in museum collections, ranging from the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Tate Modern (London), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), Pompidou Centre, (Paris), Hammer Museum, (Los Angeles) to the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C), Iziko South African National Gallery (Cape Town) and the Johannesburg Art Gallery (Johannesburg). Williamson has authored two books - South African Art Now (2009) and Resistance Art in South Africa (1989). In 1997, Williamson founded www.artthrob.co.za, a leading website on South African contemporary art and the first of its kind in the country.  Awards and fellowships include The Living Legends Award (2020), attributed by the South African government’s Department of Sports, Arts and Culture; the University of Johannesburg’s Ellen Kuzwayo Award (2018); the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship (2011); the Smithsonian’s Visual Artist Research Award Fellowship (2007) and the Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship (2005) from Montalvo Art Center in California.

Williamson lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Kiluanji Kia Henda

Kiluanji Kia Henda (b. 1979, Luanda, Angola) employs a surprising sense of humour in his work, which often homes in on themes of identity, politics, and perceptions of post-colonialism and modernism in Africa. Kia Henda brings a critical edge to his multidisciplinary practice, which incorporates photography, video, and performance. Informed by a background surrounded by photography enthusiasts, Kia Henda’s conceptual-based work has further been sharpened by exposure to music, avant-garde theatre, and collaborations with a collective of emerging artists in Luanda’s art scene. Much of Kia Henda’s work draws on history through the appropriation and manipulation of public spaces and structures, and the different representations that form part of collective memory, in order to produce complex, yet powerful imagery.

Kia Henda has had solo exhibitions in galleries and institutions around the world. His work has featured on biennales in Venice, Dakar, São Paulo and Gwanju as well as major travelling exhibitions such as Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory revisited by Contemporary African Artists. In 2019, Kia Henda’s work was acquired by Tate Modern in London, and he was selected to participate on the Unlimited sector at Art Basel. In 2020, Kia Kenda exhibited at the MAN Museo d’Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Italy, marking his first solo exhibition in a major European museum.

Kia Henda currently lives and works between Luanda and Lisbon.

Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar (b. 1956, Santiago, Chile) is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who considers social injustices and human suffering through thought-provoking installations. Throughout his career Jaar has used different mediums to create compelling work that examines the way we engage with, and represent humanitarian crises. He is known as one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today.

Through photography, film and installation he provokes the viewer to question our thought process around how we view the world around us. Jaar has explored significant political and social issues throughout his career, including genocide, the displacement of refugees across borders, and the balance of power between the first and third world.

Jaar’s work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).

Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994);The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005) and The Nederlands Fotomuseum (2019). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008); Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012); Rencontres d’Arles (2013); KIASMA, Helsinki (2014); and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017).

The artist has realised more than seventy public interventions around the world. Over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. He was awarded the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018, and has recently received the prestigious Hasselblad award for 2020.

His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MOCA and LACMA, Los Angeles; MASP, Museu de Arte de São Paulo; TATE, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MAXXI and MACRO, Rome; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlaebeck; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan; M+, Hong Kong; and dozens of institutions and private collections worldwide.

The artist lives and works in New York, USA.

Dor Guez

Dor Guez is an artist and a scholar. He was born in Jerusalem to a Palestinian family from Lydda on his mother’s side and a family of Jewish immigrants from North Africa on his father’s. Guez’s photography, video installations, essays, and lecture-performances explore the relationship between art, narrative, trauma, memory, and displacement. Interrogating personal experiences and official accounts of the past, Guez raises questions about contemporary art’s role in narrating unwritten histories and re-contextualizing visual and written documents. In the past 20 years, his studies and artistic work focus on archival materials and photographic practices of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as mapping traces of violence in the landscape.

Guez received his Ph.D. from Tel Aviv University in 2014 and earned his professorship from Bezalel Academy of the Arts and Design in 2018. He is the founder of the CPA (Christian-Palestinian Archive), and the Co-director of Seaport: Mediterranean Curatorial Residency.

To date, eight catalogues have been published internationally about Guez’s practice. Publishers include Distanz, New England Press, and A.M Qattan Foundation. Guez’s work has been displayed in over 40 solo exhibitions worldwide; MAN Museum, Nuoro (2018); DEPO, Istanbul (2017); the Museum for Islamic Art, Jerusalem (2017); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2016); the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2015); the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2015); the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Massachusetts (2013); Artpace, San Antonio (2013); the Mosaic Rooms, Centre for Contemporary Arab Culture & Art, London (2013); the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010); and Petach Tikva Museum of Art, (2009). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (2016); the North Coast Art Triennial, Denmark (2016); Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina (2015); the 17th, 18th, and 19th International Contemporary Art Festival Videobrasil, São Paulo (2011, 2013, 2015); Cleveland Institute of Art (2014); Triennale Museum, Milan (2014); Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun (2014); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2014); Maxxi Museum, Rome (2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); and the Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2010).

Guez shares his time between Jaffa and New York City.

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s (b. 1980, Mochudi, Botswana) multidisciplinary practice encompasses drawing, painting, installation and animation. Her work alludes to mythology, geology and theories on the nature of the universe. Sunstrum’s drawings take the form of narrative landscapes that appear simultaneously futuristic and ancient, shifting between representational and fantastical depictions of volcanic, subterranean, cosmological and precipitous landscapes.

One of Sunstrum’s most notable projects in London came in the form of a 2018 mural which wrapped around the exterior of The Showroom. The work was dedicated to South African Novelist Bessie Head and formed part of the exhibition titled Women on Aeroplanes, curated by The Otolith Group, Emily Pethick, and Elvira Dyangani Ose.

Key exhibitions and performances include: All my seven faces at Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA (2019); Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, South Africa; The Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2019); Kunsthaus Zürich (2019); The Nest, The Hague (2019); Michaelis School for the Arts at the University of Cape Town (2018); Artpace, San Antonio, TX, USA (2018); The Phillips Museum of Arts, Lancaster (2018); Interlochen Centre for the Arts, Interlochen (2016); NMMU Bird Street Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth (2016); Tiwani Contemporary, London (2016); VANSA, Johannesburg (2015); Brundyn Gallery, Cape Town (2014); FRAC Pays de Loire, France (2013); the Havana Biennial (2012); and MoCADA, New York (2011).