In Context

  • Posted: Nov 8, 2010

This November, In Context will be presented at the Iziko South African National Gallery, as a single and cohesive exhibition. Curated by Liza Essers, the exhibition will present work by a diverse group of contemporary international and South African artists who explore the dynamics and tensions of place, in reference to the African continent and its varied and complex iterations, and to South Africa in particular. The works – wide-ranging, frequently provocative – engage with a number of pressing questions about space, context, and geography.

Featuring work by:

Ghada Amer (Egypt/USA) | Ghada Amer/Reza Farkhondeh (Iran/USA) | El Anatsui (Ghana/Nigeria) | Joël Andrianomearisoa (Madagascar/France) | Kader Attia (France) | Candice Breitz (SA/Germany) | Loris Cecchini (Italy) | mounir fatmi (Morocco/France) Jenny Holzer (USA) | Robin Rhode (SA/Germany)| Yinka Shonibare (UK/Nigeria) | Mikhael Subotzky/Patrick Waterhouse (SA/UK) | Hank Willis Thomas (USA) | Kara Walker (USA)

Overview of In Context

In this gathering of artists – envisioned as a series of conversations and engagements – the question of context is posed once again, but problematised in various ways. Do African artists wish to continue speaking of context? How do artists of the African Diaspora reflect on their distance from and proximity to home? Where is home? How have some artists living in Europe and the Americas inherited and absorbed an African heritage or sensibility, even when they have not visited the Continent?

Rather than present only artists from the African continent in this project, In Context also considers the works of artists who, though they may have some interest in South Africa, have not visited the country or anywhere else in Africa. Their connection to the continent might be one they have inherited from the history of slavery, or from the displacements of Diaspora and exile. The aim is to generate conversations between works and even to assess the relevance of the questions we have raised in the face of the works themselves. We may find ourselves entirely surprised by the answers. We hope to be provoked, to open engagements that overturn the concerns and themes we have offered, that render them more rather than less problematic, or that dispense with them altogether. We may indeed find that individual practice casts an entirely different light on the question of context.

In a review of In Context Steven Dubin wrote in Art South Africa ‘Regular gallery-goers fantasise about walking into a show bursting with a broad array of dynamic artworks, orchestrated to showcase individual pieces while simultaneously drawing them into a coherent whole. In Context was an all-too-rare instance of wish fulfilment.’
In Context was originally conceived as a series of site-specific exhibitions and interventions in and around Johannesburg over the period of the FIFA World Cup in June 2010.

In Context is generously sponsored by Iziko Museums, the Goodman Gallery, the Goethe-Institut, Culturesfrance, the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS), Galleria Continua, the British Council, and the Kirsh Foundation.

Image: Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, Windows, Ponte City, 2008–10, Light box

Text & Photographs © Iziko Museums.
Artworks & Artwork Reproductions © Featured Artists.
No photographs of artworks, images or design components incorporating artworks may be reproduced, sold or transmitted in any form without written permission from Iziko Museums.


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