Steel yourself, there's an awful lot of art to see
Now that Art Week is over, these are the shows that you should get to over the next few weeks
Things always seem to quieten down on the Johannesburg art scene a little after the hectic energy of Joburg Art Week at the beginning of September. Art Week takes in JoburgArtFair at the Sandton Convention Centre and the fringe events that occur over the same weekend in the city’s art hot spots: Maboneng, Braamfontein and Rosebank’s Keyes Art Mile.
But around the country, galleries continue to promote the excellence of South African art and, as we head towards the end of the month, these are the exhibitions you should still try to catch:
Offstage, Frances Goodman
By employing the materials of the beauty industry and interrogating the portrayal of women’s bodies, Frances Goodman’s work draws attention to popular culture definitions that narrow the possibilities of female identity to extremes of consumption, obsession, desire and anxiety. Though her work reflects a society in which these images and objects can define and burden us, it also celebrates the use of these materials and embraces the female body as a tool of empowerment.
On until 13 October at SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg
9 More Weeks, various artists
A book of artist interviews by Sinazo Chiya, accompanied by an exhibition of works by the interviewed artists: Dada Khanyisa, Zander Blom, Bronwyn Katz, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Mame-Diarra Niang, Guy Tillim, Claudette Schreuders, Simphiwe Ndzube and Portia Zvavahera.
9 More Weeks follows 9 Weeks, a series of conversations with artists conducted by visiting writer/curator Hansi Momodu-Gordon and published by Stevenson in early 2016. The first volume, in Momodu-Gordon’s words, “mapped a journey through an artistic landscape, at a particular moment in time”. Now Chiya’s edition reflects rather than maps “the elasticity of artists’ perspectives and practices in an accelerated social moment”.
On until 19 October at Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg
Ruins Decorated, Yinka Shonibare MBE
For Yinka Shonibare’s second solo exhibition in Africa and his first on the continent in 15 years, the British-Nigerian artist presents a new body of work which sparks a state of charged curiosity.
Can an historically dominant culture ever empathise with another culture?
What happens then when former subjects of the British Empire become cultural hybrids themselves?
To what culture do they show allegiance?
Can the hybridisation of icons of power be the solution to breaking down binaries required by dictatorship and prejudice?
Through beguiling sculptures, staged photographs and paintings, film and installation, Shonibare considers narratives of power and reinvention in relation to the rise and fall of Western empires and the struggles for African independence.
On until 6 October at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
Foundry Proof, various artists
A group show exploring the versatility of bronze in contemporary design curated by Julian McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild, Otto du Plessis and Charles Haupt – both of Bronze Age Studio – in celebration of the close working relationship the gallery and studio have enjoyed over the past 10 years.
On at Southern Guild, Cape Town
Heliostat: Wim Botha
Key works from this South African artist’s career spanning two decades organised around the idea of refraction. Refraction, as understood in optics, is the transformation of light, the increasing or decreasing of its wavelengths, as it passes through a material, such as glass or a prism. We perceive this change in wavelengths as either the splitting of light into its visible spectrum, a rainbow, or the bending or distortion of an object.
On at Norval Foundation, Cape Town, until 29 January