Eleven new galleries exhibiting at Jo’burg Art Fair

It was a balmy spring day when Ross Douglas launched the sixth edition of the FNB Jo'burg Art Fair at the Shine Studios in Braamfontein, with a dramatic view over the Nelson Mandela Bridge.

While the core group of organisers, gallery owners, curators, arts reporters and critics remains the same, it is the artists and their preoccupations that change from year to year.

This year there are 33 confirmed galleries that will attend, of which 11 are new galleries showing work at the fair for the first time.

The announcement that this year would be a focus on photography, and that veteran photographer David Goldblatt would be the featured artist, was met with a sense of all-round joy. Particularly since Goldblatt – recipient of the 2009 Hasselblatt Award and the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation Award – has produced a body of work that spans the decades of conservatism and change.

If one thing has been missing from the art fair, in its six years, it has been this: a presentation of work that shows South Africa through the periscope of time as opposed to a summary of the art produced over the past year. Or single coveted items, of historical value, intended for the investor.


"I have chosen to show a selection of work that I haven't yet published or exhibited," said Goldblatt. "My concern for many years has been with values – how we express those values, our ethos in what we build has been the way I have probed this in photographs.

"And so for example, in earlier years during the years of apartheid [I photographed] the Strijdom Monument in Pretoria which was a paean of praise to JG Strijdom. There was an opera house built next to it, and four horses that galloped into the future – the four provinces of South Africa.

"Then here was the dramatic loss of Mr Strijdom’s head when it fell through the back of the floor into the parking garage below.

"These are the things I've looked at. And more recently what to me is a mere fascist structure in Soweto: the so-called Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication. And then travelling the country now, and looking at all kinds of things that denote post-apartheid.

"This is the sort of thing that I'm showing. There will be some pictures from early on and some pictures from post-apartheid South Africa."

The series titled The Structure of Things Then – and After is a furtherance of Goldblatt's earlier collection, published in 1998, simply titled The Structure of Things Then.

Other announcements made concerned the winners of the third edition of the coveted FNB Art Prize. This was given to digital artist Mocke J van Veuren and dancer Nelisiwe Xaba for their video installation Uncles & Angels. In receiving the award, Van Veuren acknowledged that the work examines the role of traditional dance (in this instance the famed Reed Dance that promotes female chastity) in defining "feminine sexuality under patriarchy. But it takes it into a different mode of thinking."

About the digital process Xaba said, "It looks at the challenges between the body and the screen. The dominance of either the video or the body, how video usually dominates when it comes to theatrical performance."

The prize is valued at R100 000 and the work receives a dedicated booth at the art fair.

Other initiatives this year include a new partnership with Samsung for a video art showcase. The chosen artist is Mohau Modisakeng, who will present his work Inzilo, which will also be shown at LOOP 2014 in Barcelona with the support of the Spanish government. This will happen thanks to a partnership that Artlogic, the company behind the art fair, has created with LOOP.

Further special projects include an exhibition of Santu Mofokeng's The Black Photo Album/Look at Me: 1890-1950, and a selection of Roger Ballen’s photographs from his series Outland, Boarding House, Shadow Chamber, Dorps and Platteland.

Photographs from Lagos; emerging photographers from the African Biennale of Photography in Bamako, Mali; a book launch of Art Cities of the Future (Phaidon); video works from the Brics countries and discussions about collecting contemporary African art (sponsored by the Goethe-Institut) make up the rest of the programme.

Finally, the tyre manufacturer Pirelli, that presents a work on the theme "Let's Dance" each year, in accordance with their Formula One campaign slogan, has named Nandipha Mntambo as their commissioned artist for 2013. She has worked on the subject of Spanish bullfighting before, and her new work will focus on the movement of bodies as they dance the famed Paso Doble.

The FNB Jo'burg Art Fair will run from September 27 to 29 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Visit the website for more information.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Matthew Krouse
Guest Author

Related stories

Football legend Maradona dies

The Argentinian icon died at his home on Wednesday, two weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain

Talking Bodies: Photographers use self-portraits to tell stories

Mandisa Buthelezi and Thembi Mthembu are adding depth to the photographic archive through their self-portraits with captions and historical reframing

Mexico with its take on the dead

The celebration of the dead finds a resonance with the works of some of our leading creatives

Football takes a U-turn on its way ‘home’

How an earwormy, tongue-in-cheek song became an anthem of hope for Three Lions believers

‘Umlindelo’ captures the insider’s view from without

Umlindelo wa Makholwa is not a series of images about religion, although it is born of religion

The essayist who froze history’s quiet moments

David Goldblatt has left South African documentary photography incalculably richer, writes Niren Tolsi
Advertising

Subscribers only

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

More top stories

Hope grows on Durban beachfront

Ten homeless men who turned a vacant lot into an organic vegetable garden are now reaping the rewards of their toil

Shabnim Ismail bowls her way into the record books Down...

The night before Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) final, fiery South African fast bowler Shabnim Ismail lay awake pondering how...

Hawks make arrest in matric maths paper leak

Themba Daniel Shikwambana, who works at a printing company, was granted bail and is due to return to court in January

Andile Lungisa: Early parole for the house of truth

Disgraced Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa calls for a change of leadership in the ANC immediately after being released on parole
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…