What a treat in store for art lovers at the moment. We’ve had a guest staying at Liz at Lancaster who comes out from London twice a year – ex-Saffer but has been out of the country for a long time. She always loves Joburg with all its transformations and ‘buzziness’ and is continually struck by the range of visual culture available. Faith47 at David Krut on Jan Smuts Ave is intriguing. Fragments of a Burnt History is Faith47’s first solo exhibition in South Africa and one in which she focuses on her experience in her own country and Joburg in particular. Taking found objects she overlays these with her own marks and meaning, leaving the trace of the people who were there before as poignant and resonating echoes. It’s a ’small’ exhibition but compelling, thought-provoking and very powerful. If you want to get a sense of Jozi ‘re-presented’ this is an exhibition to experience.
Much of the sub-text of Faith47’s exhibition is about layers of mark-making and meaning-making and traces of people who ‘have been here before’. This theme is alluded to in a very different way in Rina Stutzer’s exhibition For the Time Being at Everard Read Gallery down the road on Jellicoe. Many of Stutzer’s work depict temporary shelters – caravans, tents, even protective cloth. There is a sense of the transient , the impermanent, the ever-changing – not only in terms of iconography/ subject matter but also through style and medium. Many of the works use metal filings which will develop a patina that will change and morph over time, so reinforcing, through embodiment, a sense of flux and evanescence. On the walls of the exhibition are quotes reinforcing these themes: ‘The beauty of things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete’ and ‘It’s better to travel than to arrive’. Layers of ‘lived-in landscapes’, function as palimpsests of memory and trace, of overlay and echo, of dream and existence. In representations of dwellings which are abandoned or which have been stylized and frozen in memory, the only constant is change. ‘In truth all sensation is memory’.
Across the road at Circa on Jellicoe, Bronwen Lace’s A Tendency towards Complexity, offers two very different viewing experiences. Upstairs in the main gallery the shrine-like space is used to full effect for the monumental work entitled God’s Finger. As with her work in the Speke Gallery at ground level, Lace works with the delicate and often translucent medium of fishing line, which here radiates from a bright white light source towards the ground, with the rays activated by shards of coloured glass. The effect of the empty cathedral-like exhibition space, the dramatic lighting, and the theatrical setting, are all quite Baroque in feel, recalling in contemporary form, Bernini’s representations of St Theresa’s ecstasies. Even the sense of tapping into the popular, the visually accessible and the emotionally arresting, speak of a Baroque staging and sense of affect. It’s a wonderful work – I loved it. But then I’ve always been a sucker for theatricality and Baroque accessibility!
Bronwen’s works in the downstairs section are more enigmatic and unsettling. Here she works with a sense of intricate delicacy which is at the same time threatening with the potential for menace and destruction. .. along the lines of ‘Welcome to my parlour said the spider to the fly’.
I really enjoyed this exhibition and, as with Faith47 and Rina Stutzer’s For the Time Being – none should be missed. Make sure you get to them before they close.
Faith47’s Fragments of a Burnt History is showing at David Krut Projects Parkwood from 8 November until early 2013. Faith47, a street artist based in Cape Town, who has a well-established international profile. She is increasingly developing a cross-over from street to studio Fragments of a Burnt History and her current show includes both found objects and artwork created in the studio context. She draws particularly on her experience of Joburg and its contradictions with both its ‘energy of transformation and endless possibilities’ as well as a place where the ‘harsh realities of everyday life’ are evident.
Showing at Goodman Gallery is an exhibition of photographs around mining by David Goldblatt and the Chilean-born Alfredo Jaar, whose interest is in the memory and memorialisation of human rights violations. Jaar’s photographs were originally produced in 1985 during a visit to the Serra Pelada mine in north-eastern Brazil, whilst Goldblatt’s photographs are taken from his 1973 book On the Mines (with text by Nadine Gordimer). Rory Bester’s review in the Mail and Guardian is informative and succinct. http://mg.co.za/article/2012-11-01-exploration-of-mining-taps-into-rich-seams
Rina Stutzer’s exhibition For the Time Being opens at Everard Read on 8th November until the 27th November. In this body of work Stutzer develops her interest in the nomadic and the idea of temporary settlement and continual re-settlement.
On until 1st Dec, Bronwyn Lace’s show A tendency towards complexity is showing at Circa on Jellicoe. Working with flimsy materials such as fishing line, the delicacy of medium belies the challenging content and unsettling visual effect on the viewer.
At the Artist’s Proof Studio at the Bus Factory in Newtown (3, President St) there is a sale of works until the 27th November.
Opening on 13th November at Wits Art Museum (WAM) Cnr Jorissen and Jan Smuts is New Work by Wits Fine Arts students – the graduating class of 2012. The exhibition closes on the 27th November. See http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=553543754662296&set=a.223448824338459.82165.201807299835945&type=1
Marcus Neustetter’s ‘Without Time and Place’ shows at AOP, 44 Stanley Ave until 24th November . Neustetter continues to develop his interest in the stars, space and the planets. This theme was seen in his last exhibition at AOP where he exhibited 12 digital prints which drew on his research for the stamps designed for the South African Post Office’s celebration of South Africa’s role in world astronomy. The artist will conduct a walkabout on Saturday 10th Nov at 13.00.
Zombi Babylon a solo exhibition by Conrad Botes opens at Michael Stevenson Gallery Juta St on 8th Nov and runs until 15th December. Botes’ dystopian commentary on alienated contemporary life is communicated in a style which uses repetition and the optical effects of intense colour. The imagery in his works ‘serves as allegories of how some dark force has seemingly taken over our minds and left us lost, wandering in malls and trawling the internet for distraction from our intense dissatisfaction with life.’
Showing at Absa Gallery (Absa Towers North, 161 Main Street) is Re-sampled. This exhibition comprises a selection of artworks from the Absa collection which have been re-sampled by a younger generation of artists. The exhibition features the original artwork and the newly re-sampled work. In 2000 I had the privilege of seeing an exhibition at the National Gallery in London where famous contemporary artists had chosen a work from the collection and produced a work of their own in response to it. So this promises to be a very interesting exhibition. Artworks from the Absa collection include: J.H. Pierneef; Anton van Wouw; P.G. van Heerden; Maude Sumner; Irma Stern; Frank Sidney; Georgina Ormiston; John Mohl; Joe Maseko; Eli Kobeli; W.H. Coetzer; and, Bettie Cilliers-Barnard. Participating artists who ‘re-sample’ the old are: Maaike Bakker; Lothar Böttcher; Katherine Bull; Amber-Jade Geldenhuys; Martli Jansen van Rensburg; Sarel Jansen van Vuuren; Fritha Langerman; Nina Liebenberg; Philiswa Lila; Nomusa Makhubu; Amelia Malatji; Maja Marx; Collen Maswanganyi; Mahlomola Nkosi; Stephen Rosin; Bambo Sibiya; and, Jaco van Schalkwyk. The exhibition will run from Monday, 12 November 2012 until Thursday, 24 January 2013.
At the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) selected works by famous French artists in the collection are on show until 10th March 2013. The exhibition entitled French Connections includes an impressive line-up of artsits such as Delacroix, Daubigny, Corot, Manet, Millet, Daumier, Michel, Harpignies, Courbet, Picasso, Rodin, Monet, Masson, Ernst, Man Ray, Leger, Chagall, Braque, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac, Modigliani and Miro.
At Arts on Main until 8th November is Shifting Urbanism http://www.mojaheritage.co.za/article/items/maboneng-shifting-urbanism.html after which it moves to Main Street Life Entrance Gallery. This is an interactive exhibition where members of the public, architects and urban planners strategize ways to activate the surrounding walkable area.
‘We down our tools to serve you art, fashion and delicious summer cocktails’ Now this can’t be too bad as a by-line from the Lilian Rd Studio who have there annual open exhibition on Saturday 17 November @ 3pm 38 Lilian Road ( corner Main Street) Fordsburg. Featuring works by: Hermann Niebuhr, Lou Almon, Dom Tshabangu, Lisa Jaffe of Guillotine and Carl Becker.
And continuing in the refreshment line … From the 15th to the 18th November On Air Studios invites you to: ataya/thé/tea
Where: Hillbrow/Berea Olivia Road between Fife and OTudhope Avenue
When: From 5pm on 15 November
Gifts, clothes, crafts and goodies galore plus a tea garden all in the historic setting of Glenshiel at 19 Woolston Drive Westcliff. The Gleshiel Christmas fair runs for 3 days from 2nd to 4th November and there are always wonderful things on offer.
Yes .. it’s jacaranda time again and already some of the trees along the streets of the older suburbs of the Joburg have a purplish tinge to them. My weekly walks in Westcliff offer glorious views from the top of the famous ‘Westcliff steps’, so loved by mountaineers training for climbing ‘Killi’. (My aspirations are a little less ambitious!) And these views will become even more spectacular over the next few weeks with the jacarandas coming out in bloom. Make the most of this with 2 walks offered by the Parktown Heritage Trust. On 27th October there is a walking tour through Westcliff which will include old houses like Ye Rokkes, Dunreath designed by Baker and Fleming, Ferryvale and the partly modernized Cranborne home of famous Sir Frederick Spencer Lister, the famous medical researcher. Meet the tour leaders Clare Eisenstein and Deanna Kirby at 54 Valley Rd at 2pm on Saturday 27th Oct.
On the 10th November there is a further treat in store with another tour starting at the Ridge School, proceeding to Glenshiel, down Pallinghurst Rd past the Hope Home with its amazing views over the Zoo Lake and back up the hill to The Stables and The Tree House. So it promises to be an afternoon of ‘ lots of jacarandas, fascinating architecture and important pioneering personalities’ . Meet tour leaders Janet Hughes and Raymond Cardoso at the Ridge School at 2 pm.
You can book through Computicket and for more information contact the Heritage Trust office on 011 482- 3349.
Here’s a copy of an Email received from Theresa (booking enquiry) to Chris on Radio Today:
I have been looking for a month’s accommodation for someone and made contact with Liz at Lancaster Guest House. She did not have availability – but she PHONED all the guesthouses in the area in order to be able to get back to me with availability at other establishments! How truly amazing is this! As a matter of fact – all the guesthouses in the Parks area recommended other establishments without hesitation – fantastic service! But thank you Liz! You are just fantastic! Chris – would be nice if you could mention it on your rant and rave programme as a huge RAVE!
So thanks Theresa for the recognition (completely unexpected). I was just happy to be able to help Theresa as well as to pass on a possible booking to others in the Rosebank Region Accommodation Association and fill an empty bed!
Safarinow asked me to write a review of Craighall Park and have just submitted one. I got a a reply saying: ‘We’ll respond to any issues needing attention’ so maybe it will be changed and edited. However here’s the unedited copy:
Craighall Park, an amazingly central suburb in the huge sprawling city of Joburg, is a great mix of urban convenience and suburban (at times almost rural) tranquility. Gerald Garner in his book Spaces and Places Guide to Joburg’s Hidden Gems 2010 labels it: ‘the closest to the countryside you will find in the heart of Joburg.’ Being 10 minutes from Sandton as well as Joburg Central and close to restaurant and shopping nodes of Rosebank & Parkhurst, it’s an ideal base for the business and leisure traveller. The Gautrain Station is between 2 and 3km away making for easy access to O.R. Tambo International as well as Pretoria.
And it’s a suburb where the river runs through it. Despite its central urban location, in the heart of Craighall Park lies Delta Park – 104 hectares of parkland on either side of the Braamfontein Spruit, with lovely dams and bird hides and a well-frequented childrens’ playground area. The park is well-used by a mix of dog-walkers, cyclists, joggers, bird-watchers and even horse riders. I find it amazing that in a suburb less than 7km from Sandton Central Business District there are people who go horse-riding before work! On a Sunday afternoon when small groups of African Independent Church members meet for their open-air ceremonies their singing and dancing to the beat of drums can be heard across the park. And on a quiet summer night we can hear the Cape Eagle Owls calling. Unexpected sounds for a location right in the very heart of Joburg.
Two great short BBC video clips on Joburg. One uses diamond cutting in Joburg CBD , a day in Soweto and a hip young radio talk show host to give a sense of the contrasts and differing social and economic demographics of Joburg http://www.bbc.com/travel/video/one-day-in/20121002-johannesburg
While the other
looks at the regeneration of Braamfontein. Not sure that I agree that businesses started leaving the city centre at the dawn of the democratic era post 1994. The gradual trickle northwards began with the deliberate policy of restricting parking facilities in the centre of Joburg, followed by the the introduction in the 1960s of the motorways. This in turn allowed easy access to the periphery and encouraged suburban developments with malls and office spaces, like Sandton City in the 1970s. The move of the Civic Centre from the Joburg CBD to Braamfontein also in the 1970s was a further blow to the vibrancy of the commercial and civic life of the inner city. But having said all this, the videos give a good sense of the fractured nature of Jozi living. Tough, brash, fast moving, even aggressive but exciting and as the script says : Joburgers are funny, friendly and engaging! Makes for a vibrant and interesting city.
A good place to start on an exhibition ‘trawl’ is in the east of town/Jozi, /Joburg Central/Joburg CBD where you can visit Arts on Main. There are various galleries in this complex, one being Nirox where Richard Penn’s Field of View includes works which refer to different views of the world through telescopic vision. This exhibition runs until 24th October. The new Adidas project and exhibition space, AREA3, on the ground floor of the Main Change opened in early October, and for the next 2 months, will showcase an exhibition of the I ART project with installation work by all artists involved inspired by their Johannesburg experience. Close by, just down Main St, Kevin Brand ’s exhibition Transit comprising 15 pieces, is showing until 25th October at the ABSA Gallery at ABSA towers north 161 Main St.
Moving across to the west of town to the Standard Bank Gallery , there is an exhibition opening tonight 15th October . Entitled The art of banking – celebrating through collections, it runs through November, closing on 1st December.
Also showing in Joburg CBD but in Newtown is Carla Frank and Jan Tshikuthula’s exhibition, Freedom, at Artists Proof Studio at the Bus Factory, Bree St. There is a walkabout on Saturday 20th October from 11-12 and the exhibition closes on Wednesday 7th November. Moving further north to 44 Stanley Street, Bonita Alice has her 3rd solo show at Arts On Paper [AOP]. Entitled Beast in a Dangerous Landscape it runs until 27th October.
Moving to the Parks Galleries: Zwelethu Mthethwa’s exhibition Altered Spaces runs at the Everard Read Gallery until 3rd November. The style of his bold large scale works is unmistakable.
Bronwyn Lace’s show A tendency towards complexity opens at Circa on Jellicoe on 25th October and remains open until 1st December. One of the works on show was on the Southern Guild exhibition – an ethereal slightly discomforting sculpture using fishing line and flies – beautiful and evocative yet also unsettling in its reminiscence of a spider’s web with imprisoned prey.
‘Concerning Preciousness’, Linda Ballen’s show at David Krut (142 Jan Smuts Ave Parkwood) includes work which comments on the role of mining, making reference to the drawings by the Renaissance geological scientist and theorist Georgius Agricola. Using recycled archival paper, Ballen works in ink and glitter rather than in the traditional woodcut medium. Her show closes on 3rd November.
Blessing Ngobeni’s On this Earth at Gallery Momo, 7th Ave Parktown North Opens at 6.30 on Thursday 18th and runs until 12th November.
And finally in the Parks area, Jane Eppel and Cathy Abrahams exhibition Trace is showing at In Toto in Birdhaven until 7th November.
Getting around Joburg without your own car is a challenge. For more on this see http://www.lizatlancaster.co.za/info/transport.html. However, various initiatives and infrastructural developments have been introduced with varying degrees of success. The Gautrain running between the airport, Pretoria and Joburg Central, with stops on the way, is very fast, clean, safe and effective but unfortunately quite expensive for daily commuters (although still way quicker and cheaper than using a car daily for the same trip). There is excellent parking at Gautrain stations and a bus service which covers selected routes from the Gautrain stations to surrrounds (sadly this bus service is still hopelessly under-utilized – empty buses travelling the routes is a very common site).
Liz at Lancaster website talks about the local mini-bus taxis and the local grass -roots knowledge needed to understand how to catch the right taxi and how to communicate where you want to go. So complex is the signage system (all hand signs) that the City of Joburg has created a guide of the taxi signals. Have a look and see why it requires lots of hands-on experience (forgive the pun) to know which finger to raise in order to get to your destination!! http://www.joburg-archive.co.za/2005/pdfs/taxis1.pdf
Kelly Kidson has written a great article about public transport in Joburg: http://www.jhblive.com/live/kultcha_view.jsp?kultcha_id=46843 . I have taken the liberty of quoting what she writes about using local mini-bus taxis.
Probably the most intimidating form of transport for a newbie traveller is the taxi. However, Yongi, a Soweto Tour guide with Past Experiences tours says taxis shouldn’t be seen like this at all. “They are the best way to travel,” he says. He explains that there are three major taxi ranks in Johannesburg: Park Central (Noord Street), Metro Mall Taxi Rank (Corner Bree and West) and Park City (opposite Park station). These and other ranks feed taxis to the different sectors of Johannesburg and across our borders into neighbouring provinces and countries. Yongi says you need to be sure of which area you want to get to before you start your taxi search. He suggests asking the commuters waiting for taxis at the ranks. They will help you and send you in the right direction. He says, “For precautionary measures, ask the people inside the taxi too so you are sure you are on the right one.” In terms of payment, the passenger who sits in the middle front of the taxi deals with payments. “He becomes the accountant,” says Yongi. This passenger helps the driver by dealing with the money.
Fares are set per route. For a breakdown of these fares follow this link: http://www.joburg-archive.co.za/2005/pdfs/taxis2.pdf. To give you an idea of pricing, a trip from town to Northcliff will cost R7,50. [NB This fares date to 2005 so will be outdated].
Yongi promotes taxis further by saying, “An advantage to using a taxi is that you will never get lost because there are always people to ask. This is not the case on a train. People and drivers on the taxi are mostly friendly so you can just ask.” Another advantage to taxi travel is that you can hail a taxi from anywhere on a street and it will pick you up. The driver will also drop you off wherever you ask him to stop. It’s convenient.