RITES OF PASSAGE: “Birth, death and every damn thing in-between”
Co-Curated by Lloyd Pollak
About three months ago I was introduced to gallerist Marita Schneider, the director of Gallery One11, at a dinner party. Usually I detest dinner parties as no matter how lethal the boredom, politeness dictates that you cannot leave before 11.00 pm so that, unlike gaol, you don’t even get time off for good behaviour. However, when your host is the eccentric John Bauer, dreaded dinner turns into a glorious occasion for bibulous uproar, impassioned argument and an insanely good time.
Marita and I clicked instantaneously. Both of us are outrées Bohemian rebels who couldn’t give a toss what anyone thinks, to hell with political correctness, identity politics and all forms of joyless and sanctimonious hypocrisy. By the way this iconoclastic attitude reflects in GalleryOne11’s curation approach and I was only too delighted when she invited me to collaborate. She admired my judgement and “believed I was one of the country’s most perceptive and audacious critics” her words, not mine.
That’s how the fun started! The two of us daintily hitched up our skirts and started kicking ideas around, settling on the theme: Rites of Passage: the title, “Birth, death and every damn thing in-between”, a quote citing the hard-boiled Dorothy Parker’s witheringly cynical observation “The facts of life are birth, death and every damn thing in-between.” The invited participants would be a selection of my favourite artists which include some of the most ground-breaking, earth-shattering talents at work in our country today.
Rites of passage mark any event of major consequence in our life cycle, particularly any change in our social or sexual status. Usually they take place in societally approved ways that involve the community and some ceremony, but they may also take place behind closed doors like sexual initiation, or prove entirely secular like kitchen teas. Birth, baptism, confirmation, puberty, coming-of-age, loss of virginity, courtship (if such still exists), engagement, marriage, old age and finally, death, to name but a few of the most significant rites of passage.
Are such events empty, outmoded formalities? Or do they still possess social, cultural, psychological and spiritual relevance? The brief is inclusive raising all the perennial and most fundamental questions about the nature of human life. The exhibition will showcase some of firm favourites and never shown before work that will guaranteed leave the audience gasping for breath.
The roll call of participating artists includes Andrew Verster, Pierre Fouché, Matt Hindley, Anton Karstel, Daniel Halter, Iaan Waldeck-Pyrmont, Henk Serfontein, Cameron Voyile Voyiya, Gabriel Clarke-Brown, Clare Menck, Verna du Toit, Zeyanda Majoze, Nadja Dhaenke, Cathy Layzell, Arlene Armaler and the freshly shorn and tonsured Max Wolpe. Catherine Ochalla, Khomo Ramalla and Annemieke Engelbrecht are among the exciting additions to the local scene.
Further inspiration for an astonishing intervention was provided by James Webb and Jo O’Connor. Their strategy of subversion was eagerly applauded by no less than Maurizio Cattelan but hush! We must leave you in suspense and reveal no more.
Our directive to the artists was to strive for emotional authenticity and be true to whatever they felt. As such key events are recorded in the family album, we urged all participants to avoid the bland factuality of the “happy snap”, shun the literal, unleash the imagination, push the boundaries and invent the new.
Perch yourself for two wondrous shows Rites of Passage and My Wild Dogs by Jean Theron Louw both opening on the 5th of February at 18h30, 111 Loop st. keynote speaker Marilyn Martin. Cancel all engagements and be there, this is going to be phenomenal.
The Serpent's kiss | Oil on canvas
Pierre Fouche | Cain,2019