TRANSITIONS: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Portfolio Gallery, Edinburgh until Sat 30 Mar.
Transitions is the first touring exhibition of contemporary photographic works from South Africa since the democratic elections of 1994. Bearing the weight of its country’s political history it can only begin to satisfy curiosity about how South Africa’s past and future will be questioned and challenged by artists. The photographers Lien Botha and Santu Mofokeng, currently showing at Portfolio Gallery, are two of the
original group shown at the 1995 Bath International Festival.
Santu Mofokeng attacks a tradition of documentary photography which portrays black people either as villains or heroes and therefore distorts and oversimplifies the history of townships. From the violence of a street fight to the ioyfulness of two women dancing in their dining room, his photographic work attempts to capture a more human and truthful picture of township life.
Botha in turn, works from the perspective of Africaaner history. Borrowing its relics and imagery and using fragments of her own history, she pieces together mini-stage sets of symbolic memorabilia. From photos of Dutch presidents, colonial plantations, to a woman posing voluptuously for the camera, she creates photo-
Photograph by Santu Mofokeng from the series Dlstortlng Mirror/Townships Imaglned
collages which mimic the 19th century Western obsession with collecting and appropriating.
Combining the political and the personal the work of Mofokeng and Botha is curiously both romantic and poignant. Though the work may leave you wanting more information and further insight than is available, Transitions is an intriguing taster of new art emerging from post-apartheid South Africa. (Tanya Stephan)
[EEK— scomsu PRINT OPEN 5
Glasgow Print Studio. Glasgow until W’d 27 Mar.
When is a print not a print'.’ Selectors Julian Spalding. Elaine Shemilt and Stephen Lloyd had to wrestle with this conceptual headache in choosing 45 prints from a submission of over 500 for Scottish l’rint ()pen 5 at Glasgow Print Studio.
All areas of traditional printing are represented. from lithographs and monotypes to woodcuts and mezzotints. with every print available for sale. prices ranging from £95 for Sarah Ogilvie's humorous l:'.t'prcsso Epic to £640 for Peter llowson's tragic Road to Zenic. While the show is unashamedly conservative (the impact of newer photographic printing techniques. such as laser transferring. barely register, despite the catalogue‘s
claims) there is enough quality and diversity to attract the art lover.
On any one wall juxtapositions of works as eclectic as Murray Roberston‘s Tolkienesque Navigators Dream. Caroline Wendling‘s
leaflantl by Adrian Wiszniewski at the Scottish Print Open 5
graphically bold ('as/i In Hand and Joyce C‘airns‘s painterly monotype Fair [fir/range can be found. lilsewhere vying with the big guns of Barbara Rae. David March and Adrian \\'is/niewski are works such as Nichola Cooper‘s li'ntit/cd etching. which deservedly won the Highland Printrnakcrs liditioning Pri‘rc. displaying as it does a developed sense of the subtleties of mark making.
The show provides clear confirmation of the continued high standard of printmaking in Scotland. and highlights how the many open access workshops across the country are directly responsible for this. The exhibition also offers. with its accompanying technical information. an introduction and insight into the an of printmaking. (John Beagles)
British Art Show questionnaires
Behind the art there’s always an artist. The List asks questions and ﬁnds out more about these creatively-
Untitled (Model For A Diving Pool 2) by Marcus Taylor
Belfast-born Marcus Taylor makes cuboid shapes in space out of perspex. scuffed with sand. His work is on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern A rt.
What made you become an artist? All of our family did an as children. My father was an art teacher. So it was a progression, I suppose I always wanted to be an (mist.
Where do you live? In London. the only place to move to from Belfast as far as I am concerned. 1 can‘t imagine moving on.
Your work has been described as Inspired by modern day appliances -
fridges and freezers — is that true? The measurements are taken directly from fridges. But there‘s ambiguity — how to read the space and the interpretation. I employ a minimalist aesthetic. But my language is 3-D form not words. It‘s very difficult to pinpoint or say exactly what it is about and no amount of description will replace seeing the work.
Where do you get your materials from? I get the perspex from lCl along with perspex glue. I am now working in stainless steel. l shift medium if it‘s appropriate.
What artist most intrigues you? Bruce Nauman who manages to combine and bring down to a complete essence.
Do you ever destroy your work?
Sometimes. but normally there‘s no
flame an artist you feel is over-rated David Hockney — it‘s slight work. What are you currently working on? 1 am using an entire building and making a glass corridor which will project out of it.
How do you relax? i watch TV.
Do you make enough money? Usually i sell enough work to keep my head above water. but my girlfriend does give me some financial support.
Self Portrait As Emily Davidson by Mark Wallinger
Sports-crazed Mark Wallinger: an early pioneer of video installations. blends satire with social comment. teases the British obsession with the nionarcliv and loves horse-racing. His work is on show at the I’ruitniarket Gallery.
When did you decide to become an artist? I have always wanted to be an artist.
Are you a political artist? I am fascinated by politics. I couldn't make a work easily eradicated of politics, Do you think the monarchy should be abolished? I am a republican. Britain needs to grow up and this can only be done by getting rid of the monarchy. It‘s also a government of heritage. it‘s tea towels from abbeys. There's no vision. no notion being striven for. this
.s ‘ \ ‘u l. -\
is personified by the monarchy.
At which football match are you photographed in Mark Wallinger, 31 Hayes Court . . . Galaxy, Universe? England v Poland at Wembley. That name is magic for footballers. but it's an arsehole of a venue. i felt this was a dangerous piece to make. The Union Jack is tainted by far right causes. To put my name against that would be provocative for some.
flame a sporting all-time high The biggest aesthetic buzz was watching John McEnroe at Wimbledon playing Borg. i slept on the pavement overnight. McEnroe had a bad boy image. but the personality is important, everybody‘s eyes were on him.
If you weren’t an artist would you like to be a sportsman? I am a spectator. I don't play football. but I would like to be a golfer.
72 The List 8-21 Mar 1996