A personal highlight in 2009 was a spellbound lunch hour spent in the company of an extraordinary South African artist, Willem Boshoff. He talked about his life and work at the corporate head offices of a large energy company in Rosebank (see Willem Boshoff: The Word according to Big Druid)
Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows
Alexis Preller: Africa, the Sun and Shadows opened in October 2009 at the Standard Bank Gallery in downtown Johannesburg. The exhibition was an unexpected revelation. I had come across Preller’s work over the years, but was not familiar with the complexity and breadth of his artistic talent and output – what Karel Nel, artist and academic, describes as his ‘incandescent body of work’ (Alexis Preller, Africa the Sun and Shadows ).
Gallery Art on Paper (AOP), 44 Stanley Avenue, Johannesburg, staged a variety of interesting exhibitions of both young and established artists. The delightful watercolour exhibition of Robert Hodgins’ was one of my favourites (read more Remembering Robert Hodgins) .
Mmakgabo Mmapula Mmankgato Helen Sebidi
Johannesburg inner city received a new lease of life with Arts on Main, a multi-purpose art centre in downtown Johannesburg that was humming with creative energy even before the renovator’s dust had settled. The centre has already played host to a number of lively and well attended events including the launch of a monograph on the prominent South African artist, Mmakgabo Mmapula Mmankgato Helen Sebidi, edited by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen and published by David Krut Publishing.
The launch of Sue Williamson’s South African Art Now, published in 2009 by Harper Collins was a lively affair at Boekehuis in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
William Kentridge: Five Tapestries
Another splendid exhibition, Five Tapestries, designed by William Kentridge and woven by Marguerite Stephens studio at Goodman Gallery New Project Space at Arts on Main, Johannesburg. Goodman opened their inner city space with a showing of these imposing tapestries. They form part of a larger body of tapestries that were exhibited at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples in November 2009. The tapestries are based on images from The Nose, the opera by Dimitri Shostakovich, directed by Kentridge, that opened in New York in March 2010. (Read more about William Kentridge)
Sources – Contemporary Sculpture in the Landscape
A Saturday morning outing to the Cradle of Humankind, west of Johannesburg, on a magnificent autumn day was rewarded with an unforgettable exhibition showing many of South Africa’s finest sculptors. Sources – Contemporary Sculpture in the Landscape, was curated by the Goodman Gallery and shown at the Nirox Sculpture Park, Cradle of Humankind. The line up included Deborah Bell, Willie Bester, Willem Boshoff, Norman Catherine, Marco Cianfanelli, William Kentridge, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Thomas Mulcaire, Brett Murray, Walter Oltmann, Rosenclaire, Clive van den Berg and Strijdom van der Merwe (more).
Circa On Jellicoe
One of the best known and well established commercial galleries in South Africa has taken a giant step into the future with its distinctive new art space which has already become a landmark in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs.
Circa on Jellicoe is an African inspired futuristic building adjacent to the Everard Read Gallery on Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank. Designed by StudioMAS architect, Pierre Swanepoel, the elliptically shaped building features vertical aluminium fins of 10 different shades of grey, brown and black, a colour spectrum conventionally associated with the bark of an indigenous tree. The upright panels also refer to the sticks used to build a Zulu kraal. The gallery pathway is reminiscent of the round passages in the Great Zimbabwe ruins.