What do painters do all day?

»When I first received the invitation to this exhibition I thought I would perhaps see an array of paraphernalia of what amuses artists when they are at home chilled and not occupied with the uncertain nature of the visual art object. After all can one really work all day long without rest? As an artist, unless you are employed in a dimly lit sweatshop, there must be something else that occupies you during your art practice on any given day. I walked away from my viewing of the exhibition fortified in the idea that artists wrestle all day long with making art; even when they are suppose to be taking a breather«



The Symphony of Line and Colour


Contemporary Outlook

|>>>/ There is something daring about art when it becomes a personal reflection; when it’s thematic considerations are meditations of its maker on themselves. This mode of working which is a tenant of contemporary art is a brave leap as the artist leads the viewer into a personal space both in imagery and a nuanced psychology of the self. If the body of work produced in this frame of mind sees the artist sharing personal anecdotes with the viewer through art making discourses then the viewer can be seen as accessing what can be akin to a memoir through a strewn body of a work that represents a ‘particular period’ in the artist’s life and career. The reader should note that I am saying that the memoir access that they will be subjected to with regard to the artist only represents a ‘particular period’ in the artist’s life because surely the artist focus, if they are constantly searching for new forms of artistic expressions, will shift in time and come to bare on something else \<<<|


INTRAPARADOX: Interview with Nelmarie Du Preez

GUI Interrogations

26 September 2016 at 09:00, Pretoria Art Museum


[Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Nelmarie]/[Nelmarie Du Preez: Good morning Mmutle/[Mmutle AK: It might have been great to see you immediately after the opening of SASOL New Signatures but we know that it is a very busy time with regards to the press the following day and obviously you might be having some works that you need to go back to the following day and so on ]/[Nelmarie dP (Smiles, nods and chuckles)]/[Mmutle AK: yah congratulations on the exhibition, something very different…]/[Nelmarie Dp: Yes (chuckles)]/[Mmutle AK: from what we are used to uhm you are focusing on automation and other things I see


Uhm… automation mostly and how automation influences the way that we as humans communicate with each other and also how we extend our bodies via these machines that are automated or just you know programmed to enhance our daily lives and, so I am interested in what impact that has on our bodies but also on our relationships


Ohh,… it is very interesting that you talk about relationships between machines and human beings and you know I feel when I look at your uhm your artist statement I came across this word which maybe it’s a simple word


Dye My Memories

Say ''Peace''. Hair dye on canvas.2016

Seboko, Thato. Say Peace, 2016. Hair Dye on canvas. Dimensions not available

I spoke to Thato Seboko on Tuesday 12 April ahead of his solo exhibition opening at the Mellow House Factory in Tshwane, Hatfield. The artist was excited about his upcoming exhibition which will feature a new body of work comprising of 16 artworks. Presently he is working with a new media – hair dye, which is a non traditional art making material and can be looked upon as a new vehicle for artistic expression and thematic enunciation as far as new media is concerned. Since the artist retains a figurative approach in dealing with his subject matter something of fine art tradition is retained with regard to form but the accepted media of delivery is challenged and thus the boundary of art production process pushed further.


Intraparadox: Interview with Elizabeth Balcomb

Auguries of Innocence

4 September at 09:40, Pretoria Art Museum

 Elizabeth Balcomb standing next to 'Son of Man, 2015' (3)


Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: I hope you are ok this morning

Elizabeth Balcomb: I’m good very good, yes, yes

Mmutle AK: You slept in Pretoria or in Johannesburg? (laughs)

Elizabeth B: No in Pretoria, geeze just up the road, very closed. I’m fresh

MAK: …yah well I am glad that you are…

EB: close, close

MAK: fresh, you know, after last night’s busy evening.

EB: yes-yes

MAK: And thank you for agreeing to speak to me Elizabeth. Ehhm, I just want us to start right at the beginning. Where were you born, and you know, what was it like growing up where you were born?

EB: Alight, I was born in Westerneria, but ehhm when I was not even three months old my parents moved to Howick in KZN, ya, and then we moved to Pietermaritzburg after, …my father was a minister of a church, but this was during apartheid days, and he was part of the underground [movement] to overthrow the government and in his church he wanted black people to come…and and just start changing South Africa but [the church] elders kicked him out as a result and so we had to leave Howick and moved to Pietermaritzburg and he started lecturing Theology and so yah that was very part of my life was that experience, Yah…

MAK: So (interrupts)

EB: but, about, I wanted to beno, I was told the moment I started drawing pictures that I was talented and I had always had that encouragement my whole life and when I was about eleven years old I saw a sculpture and I wanted to start sculpting from about that age


Speech: The Nature of an Artist’s journey

ON the 7 February 2015 at about ten in the morning I was about to read the prepared speech below at the opening of Tshwane University of Technology Department of Fine and Applied Arts BTech exhibition while I noticed, in the sea of the crowd nestle here and there serious looks including a couple of people who rolled their eyes upwards in the ‘here it comes’ attitude. This together with the occasional air blows from the nearby air con which ruffled my prepared speech papers in its duel against the onslaught of summer heat convinced me to ditch the speech and speak from an improvised angle. I doubt if anyone ate from my palms. Contrary to popular believe of the little circle I belong to, I am never comfortable speaking in public, even if it’s about what I feel passionate about, art. I find solace in the written text. Presently I hope that the speech below does justice to my improvised performance.



Intraparadox – Interview with Dot Vermeulen: POSTING PRESENCE

Winning SASOL New Signatures 2013

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Dots, It’s a privilege to be with you at the Pretoria art museum and to look at the exhibition having won SASOL New Signatures 2013   Dot Vermeulen: Thank you it’s a privilege to be here [SMILES]   MAK: With the video installation, I can remember of the lady paging through a magazine or a book   DV: Yes   MAK: …and there was also a painting behind that animation of the exact image, but you know there was a stillness of the painting and there was an animation with the computer image or the images that was shown on the computer. One may wonder and say what were your thoughts when you won the SASOL New Signatures 2013, what went through your mind when you were told?   DV: I did not expect it at all, I was absolutely stunned and quite overwhelmed, feeling extraordinary, it was a very big surprise, very big surprise, yes.   MAK: Before then did you enter other art competitions or it was the first time?   DV: I took part in the SASOL New signatures twice before, and in the hundred finalists round, but I have never before become a finalist.   MAK: let alone a runner up?   DV: Yes   MAK: So you just went on to become the winner in 2013   DV: Yes totally surprised by that

posting presence, dot vermeulen (3)


For Sale Project Exhibition 2012


What follows is a speech prepared to open officially the For Sale Project Exhibition 2012. Due to the hype around the exhibition at the evening of 1 August and the throng of people who responded to the opening I never gave this speech. Avoiding the heavy burden of history I instead improvised and picked up the most salient ideas around the exhibition and its aims. The speech as it is reproduced below serves to pay homage to my contemporaries in Pretoria/Tshwane within the visual arts who have been involved in this project over the last decade. It is reproduced herein for all to gain an understanding of our attempts to move visual  art forward in the City of Tshwane.


Good evening ladies and gentleman. Artists. Thank you for joining us this evening as we open this year’s installment of the For Sale Project Exhibition. My name is Mmutle Arthur Kgokong, I am a Culture Officer for the City of Tshwane and I am responsible for Education and Development at the Pretoria Art Museum. I feel honored to share this evening with you. I shall not  give a critical commentary on the work that is on show for I believe that criticism in itself is designated to individual speculation as to what art concepts work better than others or which artwork is successful in a given context. Tonight I let you, in your personal capacity to be the judge – to be the connoisseur of fine art.


Neo Resistance Art and its Fallacy

/a mistaken reasoning which makes an argument invalid/

/the ability not to be affected by something/

*(first draft)

I was going to title the present article artwork. That title would not have encapsulated the issues that I would like to tackle presently. In a country that is divided economically as well as operating along racial lines when one looks at the so call liberal arts, even before we consider such art liberal, we must go to the beginning of the conception of an artwork which is in itself a problematic journey. Yet its locale is quite clear, the conception of an artwork takes place within the exercising of freedom to respond to stimuli either internally or externally to the artist.


A gentle invasion of Auke De Vries

The Holland born Auke de Vries is firm in his stance as to what the intention of art should be with regard to the public. He insists that art should complement the space it occupies. By this insistence he alludes to both the public’s mind as well as the actual space where art can be experienced. His work in particular is intended to be installed and viewed in public spaces especially the cities. He affirms that his art is not influenced by any artist in particular however he admires the work of Richard Serra.

I’ve had the opportunity of meeting the 73 year old in the district of the Cradle of Mankind at Nirox Foundation on 2 March while attending a writer’s workshop on Art Reporting: with him as a subject. The present jots are results of my impression of the artist.

Nirox Foundation is an expanse of nature reservation cum Sculpture garden. It is here that Auke is presently having 11 Sculptures entitled – A Gentle Invasion on show. The fact that these sculptures are inspired by birds nest is quite apparent to the viewer.

Surprisingly, contrary to the number of sculptures that the invitation purports to being on show – the body of work on show exceeds 11 if you take into consideration the work in the Cool Room exhibition space as well as in the Studio Gallery where there are what he calls proposal commissions which in essence are a cluster of miniature sculptures which one day may become huge gigantic sculptures in public spaces. On the walls there are preparatory drawings of these sculptures on show. Outside above a flowing river that feeds the ponds and lakes of Nirox a robust metropolis nest sculpture made out of stainless steel is suspended. And still outside there are several sculptures, about three meters high, across the green pathway that leads to the Studio Gallery.

Humorously, as we sat down in the studio gallery on that Tuesday afternoon to do my interview exercise, I noted an artwork, in the form of the motif of bird-nests, on exhibition that resembled a security camera. It was actually the second time that I saw this kind of sculpture. There was another one outside the studio gallery. I asked him whether I was off the mark in thinking that the artwork has any reference to a security camera.

‘Oh ya, with this work in particular I am paying homage to South African society by playing with issues of security. High security (security cameras) in South Africa was one thing that struck me the first time I came here’ he responded.

When I asked him whether there is still a demand of public art he points out that the demand is still there because the Cityscape is not complete without people and that public art is there to complements the interaction between the city dwellers and the city itself.

He points out that his art is inspired by the city itself. Ironically he was born in a rural area of Holland. When he was 16 years he hitched hiked to Paris and there began practicing art as a self-taught artist by making etchings. He constructed models from which he made his etchings and apparently someone at some point drew his attention to the fact that the small models could also be regarded as art – as sculpture. This sparked his fascination with three-dimensional form.

His birdlike colony sculptural form is actually a metaphorical reference to the form of the cityscape. He does not feel that titling the artworks is an important aspect of the work for the viewer inevitably brings their own meaning into the work of art, as such most of his work is untitled. By leaving the work untitled he sees this as an invitation to the viewer to participate in the creation of the meaning of the work. In the light of this, having done commissions in Germany, Amsterdam as well as Bangkok – he does not believe in holding public discussions of his commissioned work that occupies public spaces. However in a setting where he is having an exhibition, like the resent show at Nirox, he is open to do walkabouts and give talks of his work.

I ask whether he has ever done a collaboration work with another artist of artists working on the same piece. He is strongly opposed to the idea of corporations, organizations or cities giving commissions to two or more artists, who may not even work within the same concept or share concerns, one commission to work on.

He argues that the selection panel that is tasked with awarding the commission should choose one artist whom they think is the best to work on the commission. Each artist has their own unique concepts and concerns that they address creatively through their work.


Auke de Vries 11 Sculptures for S.A.- A Gentle Invasion runs until 2 MAY AT Nirox Foundation. Then 16 May – 1 July at Seippel Gallery, Arts on Main and comes to Tshwane/Pretoria 19 August – 26 September later this year at the Pretoria Art Museum.

14 March

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2010