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Amsterdam

Galerie West

Exhibition Detail
23 Kilograms
Curated by: Bettina Malcomess
Groenewegje 136
2515 LR The Hague
Netherlands


January 21st, 2013 - March 9th, 2013
Opening: 
January 25th, 2013 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 
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© Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie West
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© Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie West
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© Courtesy of the Artist and Galerie West
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> DESCRIPTION

The title, ‘23 Kilograms’, is a starting point to ask these questions and about how our practice as artists par- ticipate in the transfers, delays and connections that define the contemporary transfer of images across vir- tual space. Or of our own bodies and works as they travel to participate in the residency or the group show.

In South Africa, two events in the year of 2012 situate the question of information and its transfer: the Pro- tection of State Information Bill and the Marikana Massacre. This project responds to the power of ‘infor- mation’ to project an image of a place or an event, but will also reflect on what it is that does not translate. What exactly does it mean to make work as a South African based artist for a European audience? What are the complexities of that audience’s national identity? Where is the potential for mistranslation and misun- derstanding.

The artists will set up a series of situations, services and exchanges within the exhibition space and in the city of Den Haag. The project will unfold over the course of 6 weeks with the space evolving all the time, with elements (text, objects, pamphlets, printed works) travelling to the gallery from outside The Nether- lands culminating in a publication. The exhibition includes a parallel event in Johannesburg at the Parking Gallery and an exchange with the project ‘Fundburo’ at the University of Lyon.

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A project that engages the question of distance. ‘23 kilograms’ is an allusion to a limit, or the necessity to work within specified limits: the weight of luggage permitted for international travel.

A group of South African artists will work with the question of how distant places are bought closer via the news, information technology, cultural and social media and the ‘network’ that increasingly defines the global and the ‘art world’ as an instance of this. The artists are interested in generating responses to the power of ‘information’ to project an image of a place, but will also reflect on what it is that does not translate.

The concept of the show begins with the work of Joseph Kosuth’s ‘Second Investigation’ (1968). Kosuth published ‘The Synopsis of Categories’ from Roget’s Thesaurus all over the world in advertising space of newspapers and magazines as well as via leaflets, posters, banners and billboards. Kosuth used this ‘Synopsis’, a categorical description of the world ‘to return to the world fragments of its own description’. Displayed in an exhibition space, the international newspapers become bizarre documents of a day in 1968, of the randomness of simultaneous events: some historical, others banal.

‘23 Kilograms’ takes this idea as its starting point to think about the way contemporary information technology and travel has again shifted the ‘description’ of the world, and the means by which we as artists describe it. While conceptual art of the late 60’s anticipated our dependence on information technology, it seems interesting to ask some contemporary questions about how our practice as artists participates in the very transfers, delays and connections that define the contemporary as a transfer of images and texts across virtual space, or of our own bodies and works as they travel to participate in the residency or the group show. What exactly does it mean to make work as a South African artist for a European audience? Where is the potential for mistranslation and misunderstanding. As such, some of the specificities of our own complicated construction of our self-image as South African or as Dutch will be explored.

The show will work with the ideas of travel, transfer, translation, simultaneity and the delay via a series of performances, events and the creation of environments within the gallery. Events will take place in both Den Haag and in Johannesburg, where most of the artists are based. As an extension of Kosuth’s project, artists will use the space of community newspapers in Holland and in South Africa as sites in which works will be published, along with pamphlets, lampoons and advertising notice boards in local supermarkets. The community newspaper becomes a potential site for playing out the terms of the specificity and curiousity of the hyper-local against the generality and accessibility of the global, with names like the ‘Lowvelder’, ‘Klerksdorp Rekord’, ‘Komaro Crossing’, ‘Zululand Observer’, ‘Southern Courier’. This will culminate as a publication in the form of a newspaper.

Siemon Alan will work with a collection of newspaper clippings of South African news in US newspapers. In a piece called ‘Massaging Nationalism’, Zen Marie will work with the idea of national identity. Francis Burger will set up a newsroom collaged out of fragments of printed works, historical and contemporary newspapers and archival material. Donna Kukama will work with performance in collaboration with the curator, Bettina Malcomess, who will present a ‘travel lecture’ at the opening. To produce some of the printed work, the artists will work at one of the last metal type presses in Johannesburg, which had to stop running when a couple of years ago essential parts were stolen to be sold for scrap metal.

The project will unfold over the course of 6 weeks with the space evolving over time, via elements (text, objects, printed works) sent from South Africa.

 

Footnote: In South Africa, two events in the year of 2012 situate the question of information and its transfer: the Protection of State Information Bill and the Marikana Massacre. The country is about to pass what has become known as the ‘Secrecy Bill’ to regulate the classification, protection and dissemination of state information, weighing state interests up against transparency and freedom of expression. This law includes clauses for the prosecution of journalists and the censorship of the media. On August 16 2012, about 47 miners were shot and killed during a strike on a Platinum called the ‘Marikana Massacre’ by local and international media.

Vrijdag / Friday 25 January 19 uur: Opening 
Vrijdag / Friday 25 January 20 uur: Performance 'What is the Way Out?' by Anne Historical
Opening reception + ‘travel lecture’ by Bettina Malcomess:
Friday January 25th, 17:00


Een project dat zich richt op het onderwerp ‘afstand’. ‘23 Kilograms’ verwijst naar het maximale gewicht van bagage bij internationale reizen. Een groep Zuid-Afrikaanse kunstenaars werkt vanuit de vraag hoe verafgelegen plekken nabij komen via het nieuws, de informatietechnologie, sociale media en het ‘netwerk’.

De titel ’23 Kilograms’ is het uitgangspunt voor deze vragen en over hoe onze praktijk als beeldend kunstenaars deel uitmaakt van de uitwisselingen, vertragingen en verbindingen die het heden definiëren als beelden en teksten door de virtuele ruimte (internet). Of hoe onze eigen lichamen en kunstwerken rondreizen om deel te nemen aan een ‘residency’ of een groepstentoonstelling.

In Zuid-Afrika hebben twee gebeurtenissen in het jaar 2012 de kwestie van informatie en de overdracht daarvan in een bepaalde context geplaatst: de Wet op de Bescherming van Staatsinformatie en de Marikana Massamoord. Dit project reageert op de macht van de ‘informatie’ die een beeld van een plek of gebeurtenis kan tonen, maar reflecteert ook op datgene wat niet wordt overgebracht.

Wat betekent het eigenlijk om als Zuid-Afrikaanse kunstenaar werken te maken voor een Europees publiek? Wat zijn de kenmerken van de nationale identiteit van dat publiek? Waar kunnen zich mogelijke misverstanden en miscommunicatie voordoen?

De kunstenaars zullen in de expositieruimte en de stad Den Haag een reeks situaties, diensten en uitwisselingen opzetten. Het project zal zich geleidelijk in 6 weken ontvouwen, waarbij de ruimte zich voortdurend verder zal ontwikkelen met elementen (teksten, objecten, pamfletten, gedrukte werken) die van buiten Nederland naar de galerie reizen en zullen culmineren in een publicatie. De tentoonstelling omvat een parallel evenement in Parking Gallery in Johannesburg en een uitwisseling met het project ‘Fundburo’ van de Universiteit van Lyon.


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