Gallery News for Willem Boshoff
Various artists at the New Church Museum, Cape Town
Works by Willem Boshoff, Kudzanai Chiurai, David Goldblatt and Sue Williamson are included on the exhibition 50/50, curated by South African art historian Rory Bester at the New Church Museum in Cape Town. Bester has selected works from the museum’s permanent collection and augmented these with loans that reflect on the patterns of repetition and recognition in turning over and overturning of art histories. The exhibition is a collation and juxtaposition of historical and contemporary works, all viewed through a responsive, documentary lens. As these repetitions and recognitions accumulate over time they come to bear on signifiers such as monuments, monumentality and iconoclasm, secrets and lies, the rise and fall of ideas, culture, cultivation, movement and mobility.
Various Artists At Standard Bank Gallery
From Sitting to Selfie: 300 years of South African Portraits at Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg maps the long tradition of portraiture and its changing use and function in society. The exhibition, which opened to the public 25 June 2014, features work by Candice Breitz, Willem Boshoff, Hasan & Husain Essop, David Goldblatt, Haroon Gunn-Salie, Robert Hodgins, William Kentridge, Brett Murray, Walter Oltmann, Mikhael Subotzky, Minnette Vári and Diane Victor amongst others. From 19th century oil paintings to 21st century video installations, the exhibition raises many interesting questions about how and why people make portraits of themselves and others, and how the reasons for this have changed over time. The exhibition runs until 6 September 2014.
Ampersand at Daimler Contemporary
Willem Boshoff, Mikhael Subotzky, Nontsikelelo Veleko and Sue Williamson will participate in Ampersand, an exhibition of works by 16 South African and 13 international artists at Daimler Contemporary in Berlin. The show will juxtapose current performative, conceptual and abstract tendencies in contemporary South African art with selected works from the Daimler Art Collection. 11 June – 10 October 2010
Le Moulin / Spheres
In October 2009, the Goodman Gallery will collaborate with Air de Paris, Galleria Continua, Gallerie Krinzinger, Kamel Mennour, Almine Rech Gallery and Ester Schipper to present Sphères, at Le Moulin, France.
The Goodman Gallery will be exhibiting work by Joel Andrianomearisoa, Kader Attia, Willem Boshoff, Claire Gavronsky, Frances Goodman, Thomas Mulcaire, Rose Shakinovsky, Mikhael Subotzky and Minnette Vári. The exhibition opens 24 October, and runs until 30 May 2010.
Text,context, subtext and pretext are prime areas of concern in the new solo exhibition by Willem Boshoff titled Oh My Word!
As the title implies, taking ownership of one’s actions also involves possessing the power to describe. Beyond the exclamation though we have the simple truth of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s remark, ‘Words are Deeds’.
The exhibition in its entirety addresses the question of whether words give us an acceptable reason to take action, or whether words themselves constitute action.
Fracking, extreme militancy, exploitation of people and land — all relevant issues that give rise to discussion and fury — are pictured in stratified sculptural compositions that combine a simple word or statement with found objects bearing some relation to the themes.
The mammoth site specific land intervention Earth Signal is consciously placed between the remnants of bushman rock art and a site of fracking in the Karoo. Here, in an arid landscape, Boshoff spelled out the words ‘piss off’ in stacks of burning wood.
The work reflects a recurring response that Boshoff received to a question he asked many people: ‘what would the earth say if it could speak back?
According to Boshoff, the reply was, ‘piss off’…or worse.
Now presented on video, the 240 square-metre Earth Signal was filmed with a helicopter drone, with six propellers, hovering 50 metres in the sky. The work took a week to construct out of 160 large bags of wood and 60 bales of straw. The burning involved 110 litres of fire gel and a drum of fuel.
When asked about the motivation for his action Boshoff said, ‘It’s about farting against thunder. Everybody talks about “stop fracking” – I just keep quiet and I go and burn a big thing and I make some trouble, real trouble. And then nothing happens.’
Other topical themes include war in the Middle East. In the collage Human Shield the word is spelled out in shards of broken crockery. Over the word, on a layer of clear Perspex, there are broken metal seals once used to secure armoury and other valuable items. This appropriation of domestic objects that no longer provide any safeguard evokes the remnants of war, both material and corporeal.
The collage Death of African art features a wooden base irreverently dotted with cut-up African craft objects, the kind of which one would find in the ubiquitous tourist market place. The composition of different coloured chips spells out the word ‘Yuck’, aimed at an industry that subsists on the mass production of supposedly traditional artefacts.
Explorations of democratic values, an abstract portrayal of wild game hunting, objectification of the female body and word-research into the limitlessness of language reveal Boshoff to be an artist who has mastered a complex visual and verbal language that collides with the elements it uses to communicate.
The ambiguities of words, playful provocation and grave disquiet are ubiquitous elements in the work of Willem Boshoff. In SWAT, a new exhibition at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg, Boshoff reignites these components in a series of unique works that confront capitalism, religious text, exploitation, globalisation and imperialism, amongst other interrelated concerns. Characteristically, Boshoff does not present a straightforward stance, but rather goads us into asserting our own.
Many of Boshoff’s new works have a simple word or statement that has universal associations as their central focus. In
PIG Boshoff considers the negative associations that have been forced onto the word pig through definitive texts. Here he references Leonard Shlain’s book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, which proposes that “the process of learning alphabetic literacy rewired the human brain, with profound consequences for culture”. In the book, Shlain explores how in pre-alphabetic times, unclean animals were the noble ones. With the advent of the Abrahamic religions, these animals were condemned to be ‘dirty’, and their degraded status was enshrined in scriputure. On a massive sheet of milkweed paper, Boshoff interweaves fragments of texts from the Jewish Torah, the Quran and the Bible. Such definitive texts, Boshoff explains, “are dangerous things … Text makes knowledge permanent”. With this in mind, Boshoff uses text in a way that is deliberately open to interpretation, even if he himself is partial to a particular sentiment.
In new works Boshoff also explores a growing antagonism towards one of the world’s most controversial superpowers – the United States of America. The work SWAT brings together fragments of maps reformatted to form a distorted map of the world. Wooden swatters bearing a cut up US map are superimposed over the larger map. As a whole the work brings to mind SWAT teams, while the plastic insects spelling out the word, prompt the viewer to think of swatting flies. In what he refers to as a philosophical piece, Boshoff reflects on the way in which people are treated in the same unforgiving manner as insects. The work also recalls writer Ivan Vladislavic’s observation that one of Boshoff’s “main aims is recovery – of lost words, sated senses, family unities, broken maps.” In Crusade, Boshoff takes another stab at the United States. Within the work, wooden crosses form the background, while blocks of brown wood spell out the word crusade. Within the word, the central letters USA stand out, as they are made out of dark wooden spikes. Just as PIG refers to subjecting a word to a definitive association, Crusade refers to the imperial process of subjecting the world to a forced notion of what is right.
Boshoff will also take his manipulation of words to a performative level with the piece Burning Bush, the outcome of which will be revealed at the exhibition opening.
Willem Boshoff was born in Vereeniging, South Africa, in 1951 and now lives in Johannesburg. Boshoff studied and taught at the Johannesburg College of Art and the Witwatersrand Technikon (now the University of Johannesburg). He is both a wordsmith and a maker of images and objects. A self-taught dendrologist, his interests range widely across the fields of botany, literature, and geography. He has made concrete poetry; he reads and makes dictionaries; he is a sculptor and makes installations; he is an inveterate seeker of words, names, plants, and objects (both natural and synthetic), from which he constructs his art. Boshoff’s encyclopaedic impulse is evidenced in his collecting and making practices: everything is material for making art, every detail in the natural world is imbued with meaning and can be appropriated or spoken of with fervour. Boshoff’s work has been shown at many major museums in the world and he has been included in biennales in Johannesburg, Havana, Venice, and Saõ Paolo. In a performance at Art Unlimited in Basel in 2009, Boshoff presented Big Druid in his Cubicle, literally setting up residence in the exhibition space provided for the duration of the show. His solo shows and permanent installations include Blind Alphabet; Nonplussed; dictionaries and cryptic writings such as Bangboek; the ever-growing Garden of Words and his massive sculptures in stone.
South African artist Willem Boshoff lived like a druid for much of his life and presents his experiences in person as BIG DRUID. BIG DRUID resides in a custom made cubicle where he battles with shadows, aesthetic constructs and words. He occupies the cubicle throughout the art fair. His irregular sleeping pattern dictates that he sleeps and meditates at unforeseen times of the day or night. He only leaves his cubicle for meals, ablutions and solitary druidic walks in the mornings or afternoons. BIG DRUID works on computer, writing druidic dictionaries, plotting philosophical strategies and documenting his experiences and large collection of diviners’ articles. The cubicle has an area of retreat and contains the divination collection. It is also fitted with exhibition shelves and a work area where BIG DRUID makes and shows artworks and thought processes that reflect on the outcome of his extravagant druidic insights and multivagant itinerary.
WILLEM BOSHOFF / BIG DRUID IN HIS CUBICLE / 2009
South African artist Willem Boshoff lived like a druid for much of his life and presents his experiences in person as BIG DRUID at the Basel Art Fair of 2009. BIG DRUID resides in a custom made cubicle where he battles with shadows, aesthetic constructs and words. He occupies the cubicle throughout the art fair. His irregular sleeping pattern dictates that he sleeps and meditates at unforeseen times of the day or night. He only leaves his cubicle for meals, ablutions and solitary druidic walks in the mornings or afternoons. BIG DRUID works on computer, writing druidic dictionaries, plotting philosophical strategies and documenting his experiences and large collection of diviners’ articles. The cubicle has an area of retreat and contains the divination collection. It is also fitted with exhibition shelves and a work area where BIG DRUID makes and shows artworks and thought processes that reflect on the outcome of his extravagant druidic insights and multivagant itinerary.
Goodman Gallery Cape Town
2 June – 20 July
In 2016, Goodman Gallery celebrates its 50th anniversary – five decades of forging change through artistic production and dialogue, shaping contemporary art within and beyond the continent. From early June, we will host major exhibitions between our Johannesburg and Cape Town galleries featuring significant work, installations, interventions, performances, a video and talks programmes.
Titled New Revolutions, our programme will include prominent international and African artists – each part of the Goodman Gallery’s history, present and future – engaging with the idea of perpetual change, alternative independent movements and the reinvigorating of ideology based upon mutable historical realities. The project as a whole will consider Goodman Gallery’s history as an inclusive space, as well as its approach to showing contemporary art that shifts perspectives and engenders social transformation.
New Revolutions recalls the fulcrum of activity into which the gallery was borne 50 years ago: revolutionary fervour, the gradual decolonisation of African countries and radical responses to the status quo. Locally, the gallery maintained a responsibility to show work by South African artists as museums served the agenda of the discriminatory government. By transcending its role as a commercial space Goodman Gallery rose to prominence as a progressive institution. And, while South Africa was deep in the throes of a draconian era, figures within the fight for African independence trail-blazed the struggle against apartheid. This exhibition reflects on how the events in Africa then, still play a part in the conceptual thinking of artists now. And, beyond that, how artists have responded to new forms of economic colonisation, migrancy, as well as radicalised reactions to economic inequality and lingering institutional racism.
By considering how the roles of artists cross into the realm of activism and socially transformative endeavours, New Revolutions explores historical and contemporary tensions and movements that are unfolding in Africa and around the world, through the panorama of contemporary art.
The 2016 anniversary programme highlights Goodman Gallery’s ongoing affiliation with artists who explore the power of dissent and the importance of alternative factions and cross-disciplinary collaborations in order to engender change and encourage dialogue. A non-chronological, intergenerational but conceptually linked collection of artworks from the 1960s to the present will focus on the spirit of protest, resistance, and revolution, and the way in which South Africa, and Goodman Gallery in particular, has offered an important platform from which to explore such approaches.
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary Goodman Gallery takes pleasure in announcing new partnerships with some of the world’s most significant artists – Sonia Gomes (Brazil), Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola), Shirin Neshat (Iran) – revealing new directions in the gallery’s programme. Locally, we announce the representation by Goodman Gallery of Tabita Rezaire and The Brother Moves On. In addition, the exhibition will include work by international artists Kapwani Kiwanga (US) and Jacolby Satterwhite (US).
New Revolutions will provide an opportunity to exhibit those who have worked with the gallery for decades including William Kentridge, David Koloane, Sam Nhlengethwa, David Goldblatt and Tracey Rose, and some of the most influential younger voices in contemporary art including Kudzanai Chiurai, Hasan and Husain Essop, Mikhael Subotzky, Gerald Machona and Haroon Gunn-Salie. The show will also include artists who have been integral in the gallery’s transformation over the past decade, including Ghada Amer, Candice Breitz, Alfredo Jaar, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, and Hank Willis Thomas. Performances will be presented by local innovators, Nelisiwe Xaba and The Brother Moves On.
Beyond this, the iconic significance of the gallery, and the historical moment necessitates that certain artists whose ideas and actions impacted on society, and on the course of art history, be included. Artists like Walter Wahl Battis, Cecil Skotnes, Ezrom Legae, Leonard Matsotso and Sydney Khumalo are exhibited as part of our endeavour to show how the regeneration of ideas – and the gallery as a repository of change – is not confined to epochs.
With New Revolutions we invite you to celebrate with Goodman Gallery as we pay homage to artists who have shaped the landscape of contemporary art in Southern Africa. These include artists based on the continent, those of the Diaspora, our northern counterparts who have been distanced from sub-Saharan Africa and those from outside of Africa whose work explores territory such as unequal power structures and socio-political constructs.
New Revolutions is curated by Liza Essers and will take place throughout the month of June at our Johannesburg and Cape Town galleries, and with a special selection of works for Art Basel from 16 June to 19 June.
‘Language’ is the system of communication, in the form of speech and writing, employed by a specific group of people, usually originating from a specific geographical area or region. Human language is inseparable from human thought and distinguishes man from animals.
Different aspects of language had become the source for many conceptual artworks by the time the group Art & Language was founded by Michael Baldwin, David Bainbridge, Terry Atkinson, and Harold Hurrell in 1968. These artists considered language to be a crucial aspect of their practice, in which they critiqued the underlying assumptions of modern painting and sculpture, formalist processes, art practices, production, and criticism. Since the 1970s, language has been seen as a means of moving from form and image-based works to a more theoretical and conceptual artistic discourse. This shift, away from the image and towards text, has led to a new relationship between image and text, in which images are translated to symbols, and symbols to text. It has meant that text – rather than image – becomes a basis for art production, which in turn has meant the appearance of ‘art as idea’.
Questioning the process of art production, American artists like Jenny Holzer have built on the traditions of conceptual and installation art of the late 1960s. Holzer developed a mode of textual art during the 1970s, using electronic signs and various printed media to explore language and text as a form of art. Her ‘Inflammatory Essays’, conceived in the late 1970s, are indicative of the way in which she has created a division between text and image. Prior to this, Joseph Kosuth proposed the use of text in his work as means of replacing painting, exploring the production and role of language and meaning in art. Text in Kosuth’s work of the 1960s facilitates a conceptual mode of production and the dissolution of the art object.
Language continued to be fundamental in the work of many American artists during the 1980s. Lorna Simpson, for example, used language as a device to move away from purely image-based photography. Simpson’s combination of text and photography allowed her to construct readings of the black woman as an erotic curiosity and, at the same time, to change the simple reading of images, and to create layers of signification in her work.
In the contemporary South African context, artists such as Willem Boshoff make works which are informed by language. Boshoff’s sculptures and dictionaries suggest a relationship with language that extends beyond the simple use of text, to a specific interest in language itself and what constitutes language as a form.
Similarly, Frances Goodman has explored the desires, compulsions, insecurities, and obsessions hidden in our use of language, saying that ‘After working with a number of media I eventually found that words and language had the uncanny ability to unnerve and get under people’s skins, in a way that visual images and modes could not … sometimes [words] are simple and clear, and yet they are often full of innuendoes and subtexts’.
Language also defines power relations, and in the colonial context, the language of the coloniser reinforced power structures and symbolised authority. Artists have often made reference to this in their works, showing the role that language plays in our relation to society and to power. Brett Murray for example, plays with words in order to critique South African politics. Kudzanai Chiurai uses posters, such as the kind used in political campaigns, , to demonstrate state violence, political unrest, and corrupted power.
Kendell Geers uses language to interrogate the art establishment and society in general, questioning our existing moral codes and suggesting new approaches. He has argued that ‘Language is a self-replicating virus that can only be destroyed by a stronger, more resilient virus. Through the mirror of the colloquial, the tongue gets twisted and forgets its place in collecting our thoughts’, and that ‘language is oppressive for it only acknowledges that which can be named. It is not the result of any particular individual’s design as much as the external manifestation of culture’.
Works by these artists and the others on this show have been chosen for their engagement with language and discourse. Sometimes this engagement is enacted on the level of form – so that words and characters become images – and at other times the engagement is an interrogation, through text, of what constitutes the image.
In Context presents a diverse group of international and South African artists who share a rigorous commitment to 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.
In this gathering of artists – envisioned as a series of conversation and engagements – the question of context is posed once again, but problematised in various ways. The terms ‘local’ and ‘international’ are given new emphasis (especially at this juncture and in the context of one of the largest sporting events on the planet) and the following questions are posed: What does it mean to be a local artist in this age of the global? 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? Have we reached a point in the story of contemporary art in which the term ‘African artist’ can be dispensed with or do we still require it as a marker of distance from Europe and North America? To what extent does the global art market rely upon or exploit the term to sell art in Europe and North America? Is there thus a distinction to be made between the way in which African artists represent themselves and the ‘Western’ reception of contemporary art from Africa?
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 Context will take place in a number of non-commercial venues and, through a series of talks, walkabouts, and panel discussions, will promote engagement both with artists and audiences. The partners in this project take seriously the need to begin a number of collaborations that can be sustained beyond the events of In Context. They also seek to reach a wider audience than the usual gallery visitors and to promote appreciation of art through unconventional interventions outside of the traditional gallery space.
Sphères 2009 Galleria Continua / Le Moulin
Joel Andrianomearisoa / Kader Attia / Willem Boshoff / Chris Burden / Angela de la Cruz / Carlos Garaicoa / Claire Gavronsky / Kendell Geers / Liam Gillick / Frances Goodman / Mark Handforth / Camille Henrot / Carsten Höller / Ann Veronica Janssens / Christoph Keller / Joseph Kosuth / Ange Leccia / Claude Lévêque / Pierre Malphettes / Thomas Mulcaire / Hans Op de Beeck / Nathaniel Rackowe Anselm Reyle / Ugo Rondinone / Bruno Serralongue / Rose Shakinovsky / Sudarshan Shetty / Nedko Solakov / Katja Strunz / Mikhael Subotzky / Sun Yuan & Peng Yu / Gavin Turk / Minnette Vari
Opening during the FIAC, Saturday, 24th of October 2009.
Preview from 12h00 – 14h30, brunch on the river bank.
For the second edition, the Spheres project re-involves the participation of several contemporary art galleries of international dimensions prompted by one desire: to join their diverse forces and energies to develop a shared exhibition – a new kind of exhibition experience – with no submission to any restricting theme. The Galleries will present artists from the five continents, whose works will be installed in and will relate to various parts of the exceptional complex. In doing so, they will engage with the rich history of the site.
24 October 2009 – 30 May 2010
AIR DE PARIS
ALMINE RECH GALLERY
Willem Boshoff was born in Vereeniging, South Africa, in 1951. His father was a carpenter who worked in and around Vanderbijlpark, very close to where the Sharpeville massacre occurred in 1960. Boshoff studied and taught at the Johannesburg College of Art and the Witwatersrand Technikon, and he lives in Johannesburg. He is both a wordsmith and a maker of images and objects.
A self-taught dendrologist, he ranges widely across the fields of botany, literature, and geography. He has made concrete poetry; he reads and makes dictionaries; he is a sculptor and makes installations; he is an inveterate seeker after words, names, plants, and objects both natural and synthetic, from which he constructs his sculptures and images. ‘One of his main aims,’ says the writer Ivan Vladislavic in the monograph TAXI-11 Willem Boshoff, ‘is recovery – of lost words, sated senses, family unities, broken maps.’ Boshoff’s encyclopaedic impulse is evidenced in his collecting and making practices: everything is material for making art, every detail in the natural world is imbued with meaning and can be appropriated or spoken of with fervour. Many of Boshoff’s works are incomplete, evolving, or in process as long as the world yields some form of knowledge that he can incorporate into what he is making.
Boshoff’s work has been shown at many major museums in the world and he has been included in biennales in Johannesburg, Havana, Venice, and Saõ Paolo. His solo shows and permanent installations include Blind Alphabet; Nonplussed; dictionaries; cryptic writings such as Bangboek; the ever-growing Garden of Words; and his massive sculptures in stone. He exhibited at the Nirox Foundation outside of Johannesburg, and Circa Gallery.
2011 SWAT , Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2011 BLIND FISH , Circa Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2011 SETUPS AND UPSETS , Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 Nirox Project Space, Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa
2009 Big Druid in his Cubicle , Performance/ Installation, Art Unlimited at the Basel Art Fair, Switzerland
2009 Cosmos (with Karel Nel) , Circa on Jellicoe, Johannesburg, South Africa
2007 Willem Boshoff Word Forms and Language Shapes , Retrospective Exhibition, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2007 Epat , Michael Stevenson Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
2004 NONPLUSSED, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2003 LICKED, Michael Stevenson Fine Art, Cape Town, South Africa
1981 Guest artist, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
In a teaching career spanning 23 years he taught various art related subjects to students at all levels of development
2005 interactor with rural beaders at the Mogalakwena artists’ retreat
2004 interactor with handicapped artists in Belgium in an ‘outsider-art’ project
1973 – 1976 part-time teacher, Jeppe Boys’ High School, and Johannesburg College for Advanced Technical Education – Languages and Fine Art
1977 – 1980 lecturer at Technikon Witwatersrand
1980 – 1982 senior lecturer at Technikon Witwatersrand
1983 – 1991 Associate Director and Head of Department, Technikon Witwatersrand
1991 – 1996 Associate Director, Technikon Witwatersrand
1996 – 2001 provider of courses in wood carving to artists in rural South Africa
Guest Lecturer / Speaker:
Regularly presents slide shows on own work at numerous institutions in South Africa and abroad. Frequent guest speaker at exhibition openings and events; Lecture tours: United States of America – University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana; University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale; University of Iowa, Iowa City; University of Chicago
2003 Guest lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution, Washington universities and schools
2000 International Language Congress
1996 Performances of KYKAFRIKAANS and lectures on language, concrete and visual poetry since 1981, especially White Box Gallery, New York
External examiner for a number of tertiary institutions in South Africa
• 1995-1997 External examiner for third and fourth year students at Michaelis School of Art (University of Cape Town);
• 1999 External examiner for Johannesburg College of Education, Department of Fine Art.
2008 Honorary Doctorate, University of Johannesburg
2005 With Ogilvy SA, Winner of the Golden Loerie Award as well as the D & AD Global Award
2001 Honorary medal for visual arts and sculpture, South African Academy for Science
2001 The Helgard Steyn Award for Sculpture
2000 Winner of Aardvark prize, Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa
1999 Gauteng Arts Culture and Heritage Award for Visual Art, Johannesburg, South Africa
1998 Awarded the Ludwig Giess Preis fur Klein-plastik by the LETTER Stiftung, Cologne, Germany
1997 Winner of the FNB Vita Award for Art, Johannesburg, South Africa
1995 Received a research grant from the Foundation for the Creative Arts to continue work on BLIND ALPHABET PROJECT
1995 Received a grant from Anglo American Chairmanís Fund to facilitate exhibition costs for BLIND ALPHABET ABC at Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa
1991 Prize-winner, Sculpture, New Signatures
1974 Prize-winner, Graphic Art and Drawing, New Signatures
2008 Honorary Doctorate, University of Johannesburg
1984 Technikon Witwatersrand, Masters Diploma in Technology in Fine Art – Sculpture
1982-1993 Study visits to England, Wales and Scotland
1980 Technikon Witwatersrand (now University of Johannesburg), National Higher Diploma in Fine Art – Printmaking
1970 – 74 Johannesburg College of Art (now University of Johannesburg), National Teachers Diploma
Billiton, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sandton Municipal Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jack Ginsberg Collection of Book Arts, Johannesburg, South Africa
Gordon Schachat collection, Johannesburg, South Africa
Pierre Lombard Collection of Contemporary South African Art, Johannesburg, South Africa
University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Technikon Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Durban Art Gallery, Durban, South Africa
Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
David Krut Collection of Fine Art, Johannesburg, South Africa
Dimension data, Johannesburg, South Africa
Constitutional Court of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
MTN Corporate Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sanlam Corporate Collection, Cape Town, South Africa
Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ruth And Marvin Sackner Archives of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Miami, USA
Robert Loder Collection of International Art, London, England
ARTSENSE, a group that promotes art among the Blind, Birmingham UK
Sammlung der Stadtishe Galerie, Goppingen, Germany
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Holland
2007 LONG SHADOWS seven granite shadows laid in the floor at the entrance to the Constitutional Court of South Africa
2006 SIGNS OF PEOPLE, a ‘language work’ installed in the central light shaft of the Origins Museum, University of the Witwatersrand; GARDEN OF WORDS III, a memorial garden for 15 000 plants, installed in Cape Town on the main lawn of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden for the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to coincide with the third assembly of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF); CLAVIS SCRIPTORIUM, a large installation in the foyer of the Standard Bank Global Leadership Centre; WOOD CONCERTO IN FOUR PARTS, installed at Black residence, Bantry Bay
2003 PHILOSOPHERS’ AVENUE, a large walkway of ‘prehistoric’ stones in the courtyard, new Dimension Data headquarters, Bryanston; the permanent installation WRITING IN THE SAND, ABSA Bank, Johannesburg; 2004 PRISON SENTENCES, granite plaques commemorating the prison sentences of the eight accused at the Rivonia Trial, installed at the Constitutional Court of South Africa
2002 CHIASMUS, an installation of large glass floor panels with text at the new MTN headquarters, Roodepoort
2001 WINDFALL, an installation of 168 granite tiles depicting financial terms and the names of the winds of the world for the atrium of the new NEDCOR head office in Sandton; UMHLABATHI, a work consisting of 200 handfuls of sand collected from the nine provinces of South Africa and installed at the main entrance of the Mpumalanga Legislature Building
2000 KRING VAN KENNIS – Circle of Knowledge, a 33 ton circle of stones installed at the main entrance to the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and consisting of 11 massive stones with texts engraved in the 11 languages of South Africa
1996 Telkom’s Art and the Internet project – a work entitled DISCUS
1994–95 PSEPHOS, nine panels with 18 pebble types, collected from the nine provinces of South Africa for the Billiton headquarters
1989 GAIA I, a triptych of sand and soil collected on a 10 000 kilometre journey allover South Africa, made for the reception area of Rand Merchant Bank
Magazine Articles, Dissertations, Brochures, Catalogues:
2007 CURIOUS CULTURE, SABC Interview
2007 AFRICAN INTELLECTUALS, Interview SABC
2007 RADIO 702 Interview with Jenny Crwys Williams, November
2007 Classic Feel Team CLASSIC FEEL magazine Willem Boshoff – The Forms of Words and the Shape of Language, October
2007 O’Toole, Sean BUSINESS DAY Seeing the Words for the Trees, September
2007 Bester, Martie DE KAT Harthout – Noli turbare circulos meos, November
2007 House & Leisure Team HOUSE & LEISURE – HL NOTES: PROFILE Word Play October
2007 O’Toole, Sean FRIEZE (Magazine) Willem Boshoff – Standard Bank Gallery September
2004 Lamprecht, Andrew ART SOUTH AFRICA Willem Boshoff – Michael Stevenson Contemporary, Cape Town
2003 Van Bosch, Cobus DIE BURGER Woorde, Idees word Visueel – Willem Boshoff Prominent in Kaap, 28 August
2003 Essers, Liza Nicole INTEGRATING CULTURES (Exhibition Catalogue – Bell-Roberts Gallery)
2003 Hobbs, Philippa HELLO THE FUTURE – MTN (Magazine) Chinese, Chiasmus and the Sculpture Commission,May
2003 Catalogue) Human Sciences Research Council, Africa Genome Initiative
2003 Siebrits, Warren THE AMPERSAND FOUNDATION 1997 – 2003 Exhibition catalogue
2003 Siebrits, Warren WITNESS Exhibition catalogue
2003 Carew, Douglas WEEKEND ARGUS Intellectually Challenging Art that pleases the Eye, September 6
2003 Langerman, Fritha LEXICONS AND LABYRINTHS Iconography of the Genome (Exhibition)
2002 Burger, Lucia DE ARTE 65 (UNISA Magazine) Panifice and Writing in the Sand
2002 Shapiro, Leonard WILLEM BOSHOFF’S 370-DAY PROJECT South African Art News, January
2002 Snyman Johan NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art WILLEM BOSHOFF’S PANIFICE – Between Africa and Europe: The Language(s) of Civilization(s), Cornell University, USA Fall/Winter
2001 Van Rensburg, Wilhelm PLUS-BEELD, Boshoff Maak die Wood Vlees, 29 August
2001 Decembristerne DEN FRIE UDSTILLINGS BYGNING (Copenhagen catalogue)
2001 Malan, Christoph, McInerney, Patrick THE MAKING OF AN AFRICAN BUILDING, – The Mpumalanga Provincial Government Complex MPTS Architectural Library
2001 Burger, Lucia DE KAT (Magazine) Laat die klippe praat, January
2001 Rand Afrikaans University KRING VAN KENNIS – Willem Boshoff Rand Afrikaans University
2000 KUNSKAFEE Index of (B)reachings, KYKNET August
1999 Orliange Anthony NEWTOWN ZEBRA A Garden of Words, (Magazine of the French Institute) May-August
1999 Heartley Eleanor ART IN AMERICA (Magazine) Mapping the Postcolonial – Report From Johannesburg, June
1999 Souchon, Natalie REPOSITIONING MARRIANNE NORTH AND BOTANICAL ART (Dissertation submitted at University of South Africa) The Fine Artist and Botanical Subject Matter, October
1999 Vetrocq, Marcia E ART IN AMERICA (Magazine) Conceptualism: an Expanded View, July
1998 Kellner, Clive MARCAS NEWS 3rd Edition Sussuta Boé Johannesburg
1997 Fuller, Natasha (curator) FNB VITA ART NOW, Catalogue Sandton Civic Gallery
1997 Kellner, Clive NKA Journal of Contemporary African Art The 23rd São Paulo Biennale, African Studies and Research Centre, Cornell University, USA Summer/Fall
1996 Rosengarten, Ruth DON’T MESS WITH MISTER IN-BETWEEN 1 Artistas da África do Sul Jornal de Exposição Culturgest Lisboa, Portugal
1996 Anonymous VITA ART NOW (Catalogue)
1996 Artsense Association ARTSENSE AND BLIND ALPHABET B (Promotion brochure) Birmingham, England, January
1995 Jacobson, Dan MODERN PAINTERS (Magazine) The Johannesburg Art Gallery, London Autumn
1995 Carman, Jillian INFAMA (Journal of South African National Council for the Blind) Willem Boshoff’s alternative art, April
1995 Clarke, Sally VUKA SA Right to hope project November
1995 FNB VITA ART NOW, (Catalogue), Johannesburg Art Gallery
1995 Rosengarten, Ruth FRIEZE (Art Magazine) Inside Outside, London Summer
1995 Tromp, Ian RIGHT TO HOPE (Brochure) Five South African Artists, Johannesburg, Commissioned by the United States
1994 Anonymous TWR MAGAZINE By hom kan mens baie leer, June
1994 Burger, Lucia INSIG (Magazine) Obsessies by hom ‘n lewenswyse, May
1994 Read, Trent STATE OF THE ART, Exhibition Catalogue, Everard Read Contemporary
1992 Anonymous STAINLESS BULLETIN After Rubick … the Boshoff Cube, May
1992 Liksky, Jilly CHINESE WHISPERS (Magazine) Willem Boshoff, February
1989 Anonymous TECHNIBRIEF Willem Boshoff – omgewings-kunstenaar, April
1989 Rankin, Elizabeth IMAGES OF WOOD – Aspects of the History of Sculpture in 20C South Africa, Hans Merensky Foundation
1983 Polonsky, Linda LIVING (Supplement to Sunday Express) “Marathon runner completes marathon sculpture, 18 September
1982 Knight, Natalie GALLERY (Magazine) New Names in Art – Willem Boshoff, Autumn
1982 Knight, Natalie HABITAT (Magazine) Art – Willem Boshoff, No. 49
1982 Polonsky, Linda LIVING (Sunday Express) Day after day he’s chipping closer to his one-year goal, 19 December
2010 Jean Philippe, Johannesburg La-Villle Happening, Le Mondial, France
2010 Anthea Buys, Sprawling Tales of Home, Male & Guardian, Johannesburg
2010 Ufrieda Ho, A Nose and a Box to Draw Art Lovers, The Star, Johannesburg
2010 Matthew Pattridge, SWAT: Willem Boshoff at the Goodman Gallery , Artthrob, South Africa
2010 Sean O’Toole, Proud to be Labelled Racist, Mahala, South Africa
2010 Andie Miller, The Big Duids Fingers do the Walking, Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg
2010 Daniel Volzke Status Jo, Monopol Magazine, Germany
2007 Roberts, Oliver SUNDAY TIMES LifeStyle Lost for Words, 14 October
2007 Erasmus, Stephan DIE BEELD Boshoff se Boekhouding, October
2007 Grobler, Lisa DIE BURGER Laat Só Blindes Gidse Word – Boshoff Stel Nuwe Konsepwerke Ten Toon, 13 November
2007 Myburg, Johan BEELD (PLUS) Onsekerheid in Klip Gekerf, 20 November
2003 Medewerkers BEELD (Plus Bylaag) Willem Boshoff Skilder met Woorde, 15 November
2003 Minnaar, Melvyn CAPE TIMES A Knockout Blow to the Senses, 18 September
2001 Pople Laetitia NAWEEK-BEELD – Onder Vier Oë Al Spelend in die Sandput van Taal, 8 December
2001 Pople Laetitia PLUS-BEELD Oorlog en Onthou – Skerwe van Gister Leef in Twee se Kuns, 7 August
1999 Pople Laetitia BEELD Lewende Legendes – Willem Boshoff, 13 August
1999 Sudheim Alex MAIL & GAURDIAN _ Frozen Frames_, 5 November
1997 Pople Laetitia BEELD Boshoff fokus op wat vergeet word, 9 October
1996 Rossouw, Arrie BEELD SA kuns trek aandag in Atlanta – Amerikaners verstom oor Willem Boshoff se Braille alfabet, 25 April
1995 Witthaus, Michelle BUSINESS DAY So beautiful – and yet sight is optional, 28 February
1995 Sack, Ruth MAIL & GUARDIAN Fertile seeds on rocky ground 13 October
1995 Dubow, Neville WEEKLY MAIL & GUARDIAN Cutting edge falls between art and life, 5 May
1995 Kyander, Pontus SYDSVANSKA (Sweden) Afrikansk dialog och jakt efter identitet, 24 April
1995 Pretorius, Willem BEELD Blindes sal siendes lei by die uitstalling, 23 February
1994 Burger, Lucia BEELD Boshoff werk vanuit ‘n holistiese beskouing, 22 March
1986 Harmsen, Frieda PRETORIA NEWS Boshoff’s fantasy bewitches the gazer, February
1983 Terre’blanche, Ronelle Boshoff se lewe in 370 blokkies, 25 September
1983 De Villiers, Ronelle SA VERNUWING My kuns my bede
1983 Dean, Roger STAR A year of life sealed in wood, 21 September
1983 Martin, Marilyn BEELD Willem se evolusie van oertuin tot stad, 26 September
1982 Brits, Marietjie VADERLAND Willem se kuns vertel ‘n eie storie, 4 June
1982 Dewar, John STAR UK and SA meet in combined show, 11 February
1982 Jersich, Berna TRANSVALER Speelse skeppinge van twee skrynwerkerseuns, 19 February
1982 Pauw, Jacques TRANSVALER Willem omskep gemors in kuns, 10 September
1982 Polonsky Linda RAND DAILY MAIL Chair sculptures, 25 March
1982 Raphaely, Rosemary STAR Boshoff’s Cube won’t drive you nuts, 19 February
1982 Viljoen, Deon BEELD Kougom is sy mantra, 2 March
1981 Lambrecht, Bettie BEELD Want daar sit soveel humor in, 17 August
1981 Martin, Marilyn TRANSVALER Willem Boshoff – Voedsel vir die Gees ,16 September
1981 Ozynski, Joyce RAND DAILY MAIL A Book he doesn’t want read, 21 September
1980 Lambrecht, Bettie BEELD Geduld met weggooigoed, 14.January
1980 Liebenberg, Estelle VADERLAND Visuele poësie iets nuut in Afrikaans, 30 September
1980 Pretorius, William RAPPORT Kykafrikaans – woord word beeld, 6 July
1980 Van Wyk, Johan BEELD Klank en patrone, 29 July
1996 WILLEM BOSHOFF Blind Alphabet 23rd São Paulo Biennale. Text Ashraf Jamal, Published by Africus Institute for Contemporary Art
Television and Radio Programmes:
1999 BETWEEN THE LINES Death of the Book E-TV August
1997 SIPHIWE Blind Alphabet, June
1997 FNB VITA AWARD FOR ART October
1995 COLLAGE SABC TV Blind Alphabet Project, April
1995 RISE UP AND READ SABC TV Sculpture for the Blind, July
1982 DIE KRAAINES SABC TV Willem Boshoff Kunstenaar, 20 May
2007 Épat – exhibition catalogue, Michael Stevenson; ‘Language Works’, an article in Inscribing Meaning, Writing and Graphic Sysytems in African Art, a book published by the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art
2007 Willem Boshoff: word forms and language shapes 1975 – 2007. Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2005 Vladislavic, I. TAXI-011: Willem Boshoff. David Krut Publishing, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2004 Boshoff, A; Boshoff, W; Gentric, K. Willem Boshoff: Nonplussed (Exhibition Catalogue). Goodman Gallery Editions, Johannesburg, South Africa.
2003 Willem Boshoff: Licked (exhibition catalogue). Michael Stevenson Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa
2001 A publication of the writings of international artists, Waasmunster, Belgium – the original text of Bangboek (1977–1980), with notes and key for decipherment
2000 Huet, Wilfried (ed.) Gagarin – The Artists in Their Own Words GAGARIN, Waasmunster, Belgium
1997 ‘Aesthetics of Touch – ¬notes towards a blind aesthetic’ – Published by University of Pretoria, Department of Visual Arts and Art History
1995 Third National Sculpture Symposium Technikon Pretoria ‘Aesthetics of the Skin’
1992 Second National Sculpture Symposium, Technikon Natal, Durban: ‘Change of Mind in South African Art Education’
1991 First National Sculpture Symposium, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town: ‘Judging Art Competitions in South Africa’ – Published in symposium record
1984 Willem Boshoff ‘Die Ontwikkeling en Toepassing van Visuele Letterkundige Verskynsels in die Samestelling van Kunswerke’ – Verhandeling vir Nasionale Diploma in Tegnologie
2016 New Revolutions: Goodman Gallery at 50, Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2015 South African Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale, What remains is tomorrow, South Africa
2014 From Sitting To Selfie, Standard Bank, South Africa
2013 My Joburg , La Maison Rouge, Paris , France
2011 Water, the [Delicate] Thread of Life , Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 In Other Words , Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 In Context , Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 Johannesburg Art Fair , Guest Artist, Johannesburg, South Africa
2010 HAPPY END , Kunsthalle, Goppingen, Germany
2010 A Group Exhibition of South African Art , Ampersand at Daimler Contemporary Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2010 Currencies in Contemporary African Art , Museum Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
2009 Armory Show , New York: Goodman Gallery, New York, USA
2009 Sources , NIROX Sculpture Park, Lanseria, South Africa
2008 WINDWOORDE , Arnhem, Netherlands
2007 Group Exhibition of Three Artists, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
2007 Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa
2005 TEXTures Exhibition , Guest Artist, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA
2005 Group Exhibition, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa
2003 Camouflage Observatorio, Brussels, Belgum; Switzerland
2003 Coexistence, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis, Boston, USA
2003 Coexistence, National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2003 Coexistence, Sted/Place, Galerie Asbæk, and Kastrupgårdsamlingen, Museum Copenhagen, Denmark
2003 Kykafrikaans, National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2003 Déchirures de l’histoire , Champlitte, France
2002 Vandskel, Kunstcentret, Silkeborg Bad, Denmark
2002 Mission Antarctica, 2002 WORLD SUMMIT, Johannesburg, South Africa
2001 Den Frie Udstillings, Copenhagen, Denmark
2001 Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, Munich, Germany
2001 Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
2001 Authentic/Ex-centric: Africa in and Out Africa, 49th Venice Biennale curated by Olu Oguibe and Okwui Enwezor, Venice, Italy
2001 Unpacking Europe, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Holland, Netherlands
2000 Memórias Intímas Marcas, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium
2000 Translation/Seductiion/Displacement, White Box Gallery, Chelsea, New York, USA
2000 Urban Futures 2000, MuseuMAfrica, Johannesburg and Aardklop art festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa
2000 Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba
2000 Umea, Northern Sweden
2000 Mostra d’arte Contemporanea Atmosphere Metropolitan, Gallery Via Cesare Correnti,
2000 Visiones del Sur: No es sólo lo que ves: pervirtiendo minimalismo, curated by Gerardo Mosquera, Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain
1999 Conceptualist Art: Points of Origin 1950’s – 1980’s, Queens Museum of Art, New York and Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA
1999 8th Floralies Internationales, Nantes, France
1998 BLIND ALPHABET C: 77, National Library for the Blind, Birmingham, England blind members of ‘ARTSENSE’ have, since 1998, exhibited the work in many venues in Scotland and England
1998 Íntimas Memórias Marcas, Museu da Cidade, Pavilhão Branco, Lisbon, Portugal; Brussels, Belgium
1998 Dreams and Clouds, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden, Göteborg, Sweden, Triennale der Kleinplastik Stuttgart, Germany
1997 Important and Exportant, curated by Gerardo Mosquera 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa
1997 Purple and Green, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa
1996 Common and Uncommon Ground, Atlanta, USA
1996 Groundswell, Mermaid Theatre Gallery, London, UK
1996 Don’t Mess with Mister In-between, Culturgest, Lisbon, Portugal
1996 23rd International Biennale of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
1995 Inside/Outside, Africus Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa; Siyawela, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, England
1994 State of the Art, Everard Read Contemporary Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
1985 Tributaries, South Africa
Press for Willem Boshoff
Stormy Waters Notes from a superexhibition / Mail and Guardian / South Africa / 24 May 2015stormy Waters notes from a superexhibition By Linda Stupart (4.8 MB)
South African Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale: Artists Announced / Art South Africa / South Africa / 17 April 2015South African Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale: Artists Announced By Art South Africa (1.1 MB)
Willem Boshoff / Mail and Guardian / South Africa / 24 - 30 October 2014Oh my, Willem gets his words' worth by Charles Leonard (960 KB)
Willem Boshoff / Artthrob / South Africa / 18 August - 24 September 2011SWAT; Willem Boshoff at the Goodman Gallery by Matthew Partridge (191.6 KB)
Willem Boshoff / Mahala / South Africa / 8 September 2011Proud To Be Labelled Racist by Sean O'Toole (487.8 KB)
Willem Boshoff / Mail & Guardian / 18 June 2010The Big Druid's fingers do the walking by Andie Miller (4.9 MB)
In Context / The Star / Johannesburg / South Africa / 20 May 2010A nose and a box to draw art lovers by Ufrieda Ho (3.3 MB)
In Context / Le Mondial / 5 July 2010Johannesburg la ville-happening by Jean-Philippe Rémy (321.4 KB)
Willem Boshoff / Monopol Magazin / June 2010Status Jo by Daniel Völzke (3.3 MB)