[NetBehaviour] DADA SOUTH?

info info at furtherfield.org
Thu Feb 18 11:06:55 CET 2010


Exploring Dada legacies in South African art 1960 – the present

Iziko South African National Gallery Until February 28, 2010
Exhibition Symposium February 18 & 19, 2010
Closing Weekend February 27 and 28, 2010

The critically acclaimed exhibition Dada South? is one of the first 
locally-produced, independently curated museum exhibitions in South 
Africa that focuses on a major international art movement of the 20th 
century, but from the perspective of recent South African art.

Curators Roger van Wyk and Kathryn Smith present a special programme in 
the last two weeks of the exhibition, including a two-day public 
symposium and closing weekend talks featuring South African and visiting 
scholars, curators and artists.

Drawing together the first collection of historical Dada works ever seen 
in South Africa, as well as an eclectic range of works by South African 
artists representing an assortment of experimental and underground 
positions, the exhibition proposes a review of the ambivalent 
relationship between cultural creation and political resistance, as well 
as how art historical ideas are received and interpreted in response to 
specific, local conditions.

Dada South? also invites consideration of another set of questions: What 
significance did African art hold for Dada and how do we understand 
their ideas about Africa? How are their counter-rational, collaborative 
and interdisciplinary strategies, dating back nearly 100 years now, 
still so resonant in contemporary art today? In particular, what does a 
Dada attitude to the political and spiritual reveal about individualism, 
collectivism and ethics in art today? As Marcel Duchamp said, "When you 
tap something, you don’t always recognize the sound. That’s apt to come 
later." Could Dada be the only 20th century movement that still exists?

As a movement founded by exiles and migrants, Dada challenged notions of 
territoriality, nationality, ownership and prescribed identity. Dada’s 
lack of allegiance to any style or ideology, as well as its political 
and aesthetic contrariness offers an alternative lens through which to 
view creative tactics and tendencies in contexts which have experienced 
radical political change.
Whether we ask ‘What is Dada?’ or ‘What is not-Dada?’ (which is a rather 
Dada question), some of the topics covered include the relationship 
between Dada and Africa; the cultural underground and related 
periodicals; art practice as a tactics of action; relationships between 
forms of art and political agency; the tensions between  institutions 
and experimentation; and counter-rational strategies (absurdism, chaos 
and chance) as methods for innovation.

Keynote speakers include renowned Dada scholar Marc Dachy (Paris, FR); 
curator Susan Hapgood (New York, USA); performance theorist Jean 
Johnson-Jones (Surrey, UK) and artist and social provocateur Nina Romm 
(Johannesburg, ZA). Other speakers include Belinda Blignaut, Willem 
Boshoff, Fred de Vries, Kendell Geers, Thembinkosi Goniwe, the 
Gugulective, Stacy Hardy, Ashraf Jamal and James Sey, among many others.

Adrian Notz (Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich), Lia Perjovschi (artist, Romania) 
and John Nankin (artist, South Africa) will present talks and 
performances at the closing weekend.

Dada South? is presented by the Goethe-Institut, the National Arts 
Council of South Africa, Pro Helvetia, Mondriaan Foundation, Embassy of 
France in South Africa, Institut Francaise d’Afrique du Sud, University 
of Stellenbosch, Iziko Museums of Cape Town, Institut für 
Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart; BHP Billiton, and the generous support 
of private donors.
The Dada South? symposium and closing weekend is made possible through 
the additional generosity of Vivien Cohen, Culturesfrance, Pro Helvetia, 
Goodman Gallery, Iziko Museums of Cape Town and the Romanian Cultural 
Institute, Bucharest.

Lenders to the exhibition include the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, 
Stuttgart; Berlin Gallery, Landes Museum Berlin; John Heartfield Archive 
of the Academy of Arts, Berlin; Goethe-Institut Collection, Munich; 
Kunsthaus Zürich; Bellerive Museum, Zürich Museum of Design; Centre 
Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne collections, Paris; De Stijl 
Archives, Netherlands Institute for Art History, Den Haag; Johannesburg 
Art Gallery; Iziko South African National Gallery; Gauteng Legislature; 
Sasol Museum, University of Stellenbosch; BHP Billiton; Wits Art 
Galleries and private lenders.

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