Vusi Beauchamp / Jaco Bouwer / Tegan Bristow / The Brother Moves On / Cuss Group / The Frown & Vintage Cru / Haroon Gunn-Salie in collaboration with Dereleen James / Murray Kruger / Gerald Machona / Misheck Masamvu / Tiffany Mentoor / Thenjiwe Nkosi / Johan Thom / MJ Turpin / Jessica Webster / Nelisiwe Xaba & Mocke van Veuren
In July this year Goodman Gallery Johannesburg will present the group exhibition [Working Title] 2013. This is the second installment of the annual group exhibition of the same name, the first of which premiered at Goodman Gallery Cape Town in 2012 and was curated by Federico Freschi. The [Working Title] exhibitions are part of a new initiative by the Goodman Gallery aimed at supporting young artists, curators, independent projects and major installations and performances.
In the past Goodman Gallery has collaborated with independent curators such as Simon Njami and Bettina Malcomess, who curated the US exhibition, part of which was shown at Goodman Gallery Projects at Arts on Main in 2009. In 2010 independent curator and academic Nontobeko Ntombela curated the exhibition Layers at Goodman Gallery Projects as part of her ongoing research into the creative strategies of women artists, in particular those that aim to contextualise socio-political issues. In 2011 Goodman Gallery curators Tony East and Claire van Blerck produced The Night Show, a 3-part exhibition staged at Goodman Gallery Cape Town, which sought to destabilise the notion of the white cube and to engage with contemporary art practice on its own terms, courting the spontaneous and embracing the ephemeral.
Previous projects also include the site specific street performance Cut / Cute by Joel Andrianomearisoa, which premiered in Johannesburg as part of SA Fashion Week, and Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke van Veuren’s performance Uncles and Angels, which was presented at Goodman Gallery Projects as part of the Dance Umbrella.
Goodman Gallery continues to collaborate with academics and theorists, and has hosted lectures by Jane Taylor, Federico Freschi and Alfredo Jaar – whose lecture coincided with his 2012 exhibition at the Goodman Gallery Gold in the Morning – and panel discussions with David Goldblatt, Ivan Vladislavic and Marlene van Niekerk.
While Goodman Gallery Projects closed at Arts on Main in 2012, the [Working Title] exhibition series exists as a resolution to the Goodman Gallery’s continued interest in independent and collaborative projects and allows for the continuation of previous projects and relationships, as well as the introduction of new artists, theorists and creatives into the Goodman Gallery. Each year the [Working Title] exhibition will have a new curator, either from the Goodman Gallery or through collaboration with an invited external curator.
This year’s [Working Title] is curated by Emma Laurence and includes artists who are pushing the limits of the contemporary South African art scene and who have produced work that is at the cutting edge of current art production. The exhibition is concerned with works that are born out of dynamic and independent practice. Included in the exhibition are artists who work across disciplines and who bring into the perceived elite gallery space sub-cultural aesthetics and standpoints.
The show incorporates artists working in various and perhaps unconventional media such as 3-D cinema, interactive gaming, short stories and punk inspired performance, as well as artists who begin to interrogate modes of representation and viewing in painting and photography. During the run of the show, a series of scheduled events will take place as part of [Working Title] and will include an off-site project by Cuss Group called Video Party, a performance after the opening by The Frown and The Brother Moves On and an opening address and lecture by distinguished theorist Achille Mbembe, who will speak on “The Postcolony Revisited”. Professor Mbembe’s lecture is co-sponsored by WISER (Wits Institute for Economic Research).
Jessica Webster (b. 1981) was raised on the mines of the Free State and in Benoni. From a young age her proliferate painting and drawing practice was recognised as provoking the stranger qualities of the everyday: at sixteen, she sold her first major painting to the MTN Gallery in 1997. Webster entered Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2002 where she studied painting under established painters Malcolm Payne and Virginia MacKenny, attaining the Judy Stein Prize for painting upon graduation in 2005, and coming first in her class for academia and practice. In 2006, Webster survived an act of extreme violence in a shooting which left her paralysed from the waist down. Within six months of the shooting, she was being wheeled from hospital into Master’s supervision and mentorship with Penny Siopis at the University of the Witwatersrand, which resulted in her first solo show in 2009 at David Krut Projects in Johannesburg.
The show met with great acclaim: the Johannesburg Art Gallery acquiring the centrepiece painting of the exhibition and the bulk of the work being sold to experienced collectors. Art critic Michael Smith described her work in Mail & Guardian (2009) as ‘light years ahead of the simply sensational’. At the same time, Webster embarked on an in-depth study of painting and philosophy for her Master’s degree that has resulted in the expected fulfilment of her PhD in philosophy and painting in 2017. The relationship between writing and practice has been an intensive aspect of Webster’s career thus far, which has gained her critical recognition in the form of awards from both the Oppenheimer and Mellon Foundations. In 2013, Webster was assigned as part of the Goodman Gallery’s stable of artists, upon which they have published a number of her creative writings in 2013 and held her first solo show with the gallery in 2015. Referring to the intensity of the affect from the show, art critic Sylvia McKeown writes that ‘Some objects are steeped in emotion that is so powerful that onlookers can sense the soul of the object’s creator…in everyday life we call it great art.’ This relationship between states of consciousness in painting and the power of life experience to affect form was continued in her show Wisteria at Goodman Gallery Cape Town in April 2017, a year which proved to be full of success for Webster ,who also curated the ‘Emerging Painter’s exhibition at the Turbine art Fair, and was awarded her her PhD in Philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand with no corrections.
Part of Zimbabwe’s ‘born-free generation’, Misheck Masamvu (b. 1980 in Penhalonga, Zimbabwe) explores and comments on the socio-political setting of post-independence Zimbabwe, and draws attention to the impact of economic policies that sustain political mayhem. Masamvu raises questions and ideas around the state of ‘being’ and the preservation of dignity. His practice encompasses drawing, painting and sculpture.
Misheck Masamvu studied at Atelier Delta and Kunste Akademie in Munich, where he initially specialised in the realist style, and later developed a more avant-garde expressionist mode of representation with dramatic and graphic brushstrokes. His work deliberately uses this expressionist depiction, in conjunction with controversial subject matter, to push his audience to levels of visceral discomfort with the purpose of accurately capturing the plight, political turmoil and concerns of his Zimbabwean subjects and their experiences. His works serve as a reminder that the artist is constantly socially-engaged and is tasked with being a voice to give shape and form to a humane sociological topography. Masamvu will be taking part in the 22nd Biennale of Sydney in 2020.
Masamvu’s work has been well-received and exhibited in numerous shows including Armory Show 2018, Art Basel 2018, Basel Miami Beach 2017, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair New York 2016, São Paulo Biennale 2016, and the Venice Biennale, Zimbabwe Pavillion 2011.
Gerald Machona is a Zimbabwean born Visual artist with a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from Rhodes University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town, completed at the Michaelis School of fine art. Machona’s work has been included on several prominent international exhibitions, which include the South African Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale in Italy, All the World’s Futures and at the 20th Biennale of Sydney, The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed. Machona’s work has also appearedin exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum in New York and at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town.
Machona works with sculpture, performance, new media, photography and film. The most notable aspect of his work is his innovative use of currency—particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars—as an aesthetic material. Machona’s current work engages with issues of migration, transnationalism, social interaction and xenophobia in Africa.
In 2013, Machona featured in Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South African’s supplemental and was selected by Business Day and the Johannesburg Art Fair in 2011 as one of the top ten young African artists practicing in South Africa. In 2019 Machona was included on the group exhibition Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town.
Born and raised in Dube, Soweto, Nelisiwe Xaba began her vibrant career in dance almost 20 years ago. In the early 1990s she received a scholarship to study at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation, as well as the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. Returning to South Africa in 1997, Xaba joined Pact Dance Company and later launched her solo career, and began working with a variety of esteemed choreographers, including Robyn Orlin.
Since then Xaba has been involved in various multi-media projects, collaborating with visual artists, fashion designers, theatre and television directors, poets and musicians. Xaba’s seminal works such as Plasticization and They Look At Me & That’s All They Think have toured to various parts of the world for the past several years. The latter piece, inspired by the Hottentot Venus (Sara Baartman) saw Xaba collaborate with fashion designer Carlo Gibson of Strangelove. In 2008, Xaba collaborated with Haitian dancer and choreographer Ketty Noel to create a duet titled Correspondances – a satirical look into the politics of women to women relationships, which toured to various countries in South America, Europe and Africa. Her piece Black!..White? premiered in Paris in 2009. In the same year Xaba produced The Venus, combining two of her solo pieces, the earlier work They Look At Me and Sakhozi says non to the Venus, originally commissioned by the Musee du Quai Branly. A performance by Xaba formed part of Imaginary Fact – Contemporary South African Art and the Archive at the South African pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2013.