5 DEC 2018 – 26 JAN 2019
Featuring artists: Zenande Mketeni, Bulumko Mbete, Jessica Bosworth-Smith, Shomtwala Ndeedna Shivute, Nelago Shilongoh, Kirstin Warries, Akudzwe Elsie Chiwa, Shakil Solanki, Haidee Nel
Curated by Lemeeze Davids
WHAT IT IS.
Cataloguing information into neat boxes is what humans do best. We understand the world through names, umbrella terms, and fixed markers of identity because sometimes, it can be difficult to make sense of a world that is constantly changing. Our names are important to us because they are supposed to stand in for everything we are, even representing the things that we do not know about ourselves. While some identify with their given name, others find their real name as life goes on. Either way, we may feel compelled to find a piece of language that is all our own, and that can totally capture our apparent uniqueness.
This exhibition, What It Is, aims to delve into the relationship with one’s own identity, which is the ever-changing set of desires and intentions that we try to name. Instead of placing a solid stake in the ground, this show reflects on the reiterations and overlapping of what we think is ourselves and our world. Are things simply what they are? By hosting a number of works that are series, and/or repetitive, the pieces have multiple representations to voice their message, and provide avenues into different narratives of interpretation.
In its multiples, What It Is, draws a number of artists together that are thinking about how to draw borders around their self and society. The artists’ works are in dialogue with one another, unfolding topics such as personal mythologies, the link between consumer identity and environment, and the names that are monumentalised in a post-colonial society. The work contends with this heavy topic by addressing it from many different viewpoints.
Paris, 9 – 11 November 2018
Featuring artists: Simphiwe Mbunyuza, Gerhard Human, Haidee Nel,
Lehlogonolo Mashaba and Mandlenkosi Mavengere.
We Used to Exist
There is no doubt that globalisation and mass media has had a profound impact on society as a whole. From art, to food to a way of life. The idea of a global village is clear for all to see.
Understanding the issue of globalisation requires an understanding of the role of mass media on pop culture. Looking at the work of Marwan M. Kraidy in Globalisation of Culture through the Media, the general understanding of globalisation refers to the popularisation and influence of American icons like Coca Cola, Beyonce and McDonalds. Only a few would argue against the role of mass media in bringing these ideologies to screens in far-off countries.
Individualism is an idea often paired with western cultures and capitalist environments. This idea of individual initiative, innovation and creativity is the basis of “American-like” societies. As Ayn Ryan puts it, individualism regards every man as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses the right to his own life. In South Africa we find a new generation of local creatives experimenting with their own style. This subculture is a breath of fresh air, offering fresh perspective and a new identity to being South African. Then the question remains, is individualism still relevant or are we driven by the internet and pop culture?
Ross Clark, in his article “The Rise of Crowd Culture…” asks whether we have given in to the attraction of the crowd? In his article on the digital version of The Spectator, Clark suggests that our greatest fear is that of being alone. This idea considers the need of having data on your phone, feeling part of a larger community and contributing to the greater good as realistic drivers in our modern society. Are we seeing a shift towards Ubuntuism or will the individual remain stronger?
Enter counter culture. As a means of understanding one might even call it anti-culture. If the culture is one of populist ideas, big capitalist values being shouted from the media and a move towards Americanisation of a culture far-far away then what would a counter culture look like? Individualism enters as people express their own creativity, find other ways of doing and establish a new norm. However, do we even exist if we’re not wearing Nike apparel, prefer a quarter chicken and chips to McDonalds’ or rather listen to Mafikizolo than Beyonce?
29 September 2018
Featuring artists: Bastiaan Van Stenis, Adele Van Heerden, Leandri Erlank, Ronald Muchatuta, Marguerite Roux, Colijn Strydom, Paul Marais, Kimati Mafafo & Corne Theron.
Between Figuration and Abstraction Catalogue (PDF)
“Between Figuration and Abstraction” is an exhibition about the revival of figure art digital age.
This exhibition interrogates the place of the physical body in a time of developing interest in virtual realities, online personas and digital media slower mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking represent the human figure, the constant subject. With this exhibition we offer an antidote to our current image- saturated culture, in which we obsessively scroll, flick and browse through an online visual world, leaving our physical selves behind.
25 May – 30 June 2018
Featuring artists: Christo Coetzee, Haidee Nel, Carl Buchner, Bastiaan van Stenis, Sam Nhlengethwa, Marlene Dumas, Leandri Erlank, Adele van Heerden, Michal Kruger, Robert Hodgins, Colijn Strydom, William Kentridge, Adriaan Diedericks, San-Mare Raubenheimer & David Tsoka
Face to Face catalogue (PDF)
Walk into any building and you are bound to find at least one portrait. This art form aims to showcase the individual, whether real or imaginary. A well-crafted work is said to portray both appearance and character. Whether realistic or not, a painting or photograph the aim is to represent the feature, personality and traits of the individual. In the words of a well-known Greek philosopher, “The aim of Art is to present not the outward appearance of things, but their inner significance; for this, not the external manner and detail, constitutes true reality.”
The history of portraiture stretches back thousands of years to ancient times, images of Egyptian rulers signalling the start of this genre. Throughout the course of history it was only the rich and famous who were worthy of having their image reflected in a work of art. Among the most well known artist in this genre you are likely to hear the names Velazquez, Holbein, Rembrandt, and Vincent van Gogh, etc..
More recently the band of Dutch artists from the 17th, English and American artists from the 18th and 19th century and the well known figures from the modern portraiture movement have defined our understanding of the genre. From the latter, names like van Gogh, Manet, and Ganguin come up while the revival of the 70s is associated with name like Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and David Hockney.
Portrait art can take on many forms, from a painting to a sculpture to a photograph. The essence of art is to give expression to that which is unseen, the same goes for this genre. Many well-known voices from the art world has offered their opinions in this regard, mostly highlighting the role of expression, features and mood in pre-empting interpretation for the connoisseur.
Sequence & Formation
An Exhibition of Abstract Art
13 April – 12 May 2018
Sequence & Formation catalogue (PDF)
Featuring artists: Leandri Erlank; Dirk Meerkotter; Ben Eagle; Paul Marais; Klara Christen, Christo Coetzee & Strijdom Van Der Merwe
Letterlik / Literally
1-29 March 2018
Letterlik / Literally catalogue
Featuring artists: Corne Theron, Leandri Erlank, Gerhard Human, Roger Hopley, Paul Marais, Haidee Nel, Marlene Dumas, Maritha Van Amerom & Nicola Roos.
Cape Town Art Fair
16-18 February 2018
Cape Town Art Fair catalogue (PDF)
South Africa has a rich history of phenomenal artists, often characterised by the political, cultural and religious ideas of the time. For a long time artist have been the soul of society, some of the most important people on earth. Absolut Art markets South African masters and contemporary art and is ideally situated in Stellenbosch, one of South Africa’s oldest towns.
Absolut Art is proud to showcase the works of Pierneef, Dumas, Preller, Hodgins and Battiss at the 2018 edition of the Cape Town Art Fair. Among this list of very well-known South African artists, Pierneef enjoys almost iconic status. His career as an artist started taking shape soon after the Anglo-Boer War, thriving on the influence of Anton van Wouw and Frans Oerder. Many critics agree that one thing that made Pierneef unique was his ability to paint with ‘different eyes’.
The list continues with some of South Africa’s greatest modern artists in Walter Battiss and Alexis Preller, praised by many as an imaginative genius and master colourist. He had such magical abilities that he was even dubbed the ‘South African Gauguin by some. Robert Hodgins, another acclaimed artist, comes from an era where artists were known for making socially conscious statements and satirising those in power. Browsing through some his art one is sure to find these themes repeated throughout his work.
There aren’t many people who can claim the accolade of being credited with most expensive art by a living female artist. Her 1987 work, “The Teacher” fetched $ 3.3 million. The South African born Marlene Dumas, is not one to shy away from controversy. Her paintings are often borderline shocking and offensive. Dumas’ works such as ‘Naomi” (1995) and ‘Dead Marilyn’ (2008) are perfect example of her willingness to toe the line.
On the timeline of South African art there are many highlights and standouts. Absolut Art is proud to present the works of some of South Africa’s legendary artists. Enjoy a company of creatives sure to create some excitement for years to come.
– Written by: Martus Greyvenstein
19 January – 17 February 2018
Nature Morte, finding its roots in Greek mosaics of the 16th Century, this art genre is still very popular. Still lifes are known to depict a thought full composition of everyday objects, however they are often filled with great personal or cultural significance. Living Art exhibition will pose Nature Morte and collection of living art in contrast to each other. On show will be a collection intricately crafted bonzai trees.
Nature Morte Exhibition Catalogue (PDF)
Terrain – A Group Exhibition
13 October – 4 November 2017
Capturing the beauty of an open terrain or untouched plain is no easy task. The term landscape, originating from the dutch word ‘landschap’, is usually thought of as a scene of nature. It is a a traditional concept has certainly evolved to include other scenes including urban settings and a variety of human elements. In similar fashion a terrain speaks of a stretch of land, notably looking at its physical features.
The ‘terrain’ exhibition will primarily focus on landscape art, dating back to the 17th century when this form became important historical features. Art during this time is generally considered to subscribe to a specific style, earning it the name of classical landscape. As a result art graduated to becoming the subject itself as opposed to merely a background. Landscape art gained popularity throughout the 18th century but it wasn’t till the 1800s that this art form saw a dramatic increase of landscape paintings which depict nature. In this time the art became a clear depiction of the natural surroundings, allowing us to ‘explore’ foreign lands. As people began to appreciate these aspects of nature the effect of man on nature also became apparent, leading to industrial and urban focused landscapes.
Black and White
27 July – 29 Aug 2017
Black and white. Few phrases in the English language are more loaded than these three words. Putting something in black and white means we know exactly where we stand, it creates distinction. The metaphorical value of these words go as far back as the beginning. When there was light and dark.
For the artist, black and white means clarity. Favoured by the minimalist. A cleaner canvas means the viewer has more space to appreciate the beauty. The profile and texture underscores the beauty of the brush. Picasso was a proponent of the idea that colour weakens. An observation of his works shows his obsession with line and form.
While colour is by no means the dark horse in the art family, it is obvious that the absence of colour plays an important in role in one’s perception and attitude towards the picture. The absence of colour opens the door to our own imagination.
Elliott Erwitt is credited with the following wise words: “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”
Black and White Catalogue (PDF)