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)

SELF PRESERVATION

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

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Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part III)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

Part Three:

Identity /Ideology Bamboozled

 

Mmutle. So would you say the idea of identity in terms of the content of the work started to take shape somewhere during this period, as you were exposed to the work of Spike Lee in comparison to the work of John Singleton?

Vusi. There was another artist, an English-Nigerian who used Elephant dung in his artworks. I forget his name. But like in identity, interrogating the idea of identity you know in the arts Spike Lee’s ‘Bamboozled’ sort of put at rest my anger towards the way blacks were excluded. You know that movie it made sense in a way that entertainment and such things were not something that was reserved for black people in a way. Entertainment wise it was mocking them. That was the entertainment industry and I just wanted to find a way for escaping or teaching [myself] or finding a way to express my anger through specifying that there is a difference between an artist and a black artist. They are two different things.

Mmutle. You mean the difference between a white artist…?

Vusi. No-no, the difference between an artist and a black artist. You know if you are black you are not an artist you are a ‘black artist’. So there is that thing…

[Mmutle. So you are not an artist pure – you are a black artist.]

Vusi. That’s what helped me to interrogate this thing. I have always saw myself as an artist…

Mmutle. And now this dichotomy of

Beauchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. New Industry, 2015. Mixed Media.

Beauchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. New Industry, 2015. Mixed Media.

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Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part II)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part Two:

Intellectual Rebellion/No holes on the Walls

Mmutle. You’ve now moved into an interesting period where you are now studying at University level, at Tshwane University of Technology. If you were to compare your training at Tshwane University of Technology and your exposure to fine arts at high school. What were the differences in these two institutionS?

Vusi. There is a difference, the difference was that in high school I was left to my own devices to achieve freedom that I had and I was passing, I was marked for doing what I was doing naturally. With TUT they were teaching me techniques now, that’s the first time I explored oils, you know, and I was taught how to mix, using oils and the techniques, and applying oil and all those sorts of things and exploring different dimensions that I’ve never experimented with as in using acrylic paints to oil, actually layering the artwork – scumbling and [the] glazing of the artwork. I really enjoyed the paintings of Rembrandts, the van Gogh style, the Vermeer, Dutch painters and stuff. Well, like I said we were exposed mostly to the Europeans [artists]

Mmutle. Of course

Vusi. Style of painting a subject in a way a still life and figurative type of thing…

Mmutle. Did it bode well to you that your training at Tshwane University of Technology tended to focus more on Western Art than it exposed you to African Art or South African Art?

Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.

Beuchamp, Mxolisi Vusimuzi. The Future, 2015. Mixed Media.

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Interview with Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp (Part I)

Location: Pretoria Art Museum, Tshwane, South Africa

Date: Tuesday 17 February 2015 at 09:00

 Part One:

Childhood and Exposure to Arts Education

 

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Good morning Vusi Beauchamp, thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you.

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp: Thanks Mr. Mmutle

Mmutle AK: I just want us to start a little bit at the beginning of your life, when were you born?

Mxolisi VB: 1979 the third of May

MAK: and where did you grow up?

MVB: I grew up in Mamelodi Pretoria and I spent most of life there.

Mmutle: So you are a Pretorian

Vusi. Yes, I was made in Pretoria (Jokes)

Mmutle. (Laughs), if you can just tell me about your early childhood experiences. What was it like growing up in Mamelodi?

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp at work. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

Beauchamp at work on The Great Maestro. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

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Diary Entry: Mxolisi Visimuzi Beauchamp

Mxolisi Vusimuzi Beauchamp at work. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

Beauchamp at work on The Great Maestro.. Image source, the artist facebook profile.

I read elsewhere that writing is a solitary experience. I am agreed thus far because I spent numerous moments hunched alone on my keyboard. I sometimes wonder if anyone would notice my efforts. History is the mess that remains of our ancestors’ endeavors as they try to survive, whatever their motives are. One’s intentions in achieving a goal are not always squeaky clean as far as the ego is concerned and not to mention self preservation. Anyway to chronicle history honestly it would mean not erring as far as taking sides is concerned, but to give as precise a detail as a historian can muster.

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Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part Two): Towards a Concrete Concept

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

 

 

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu I came to Johannesburg with a dream to become a pilot. I spent close to six months looking for academies. Ai I think it was really tough because I applied for bursaries as my father couldn’t afford to pay for the course  because it’s very very expensive. So I was in Johannesburg for six months up until my older brother and Robben Smith, the owner of the house in Kensington, one day asked me why I don’t look for an art school since I drew every day instead of wasting my time to become a pilot.

Mmutle AK. So now, here we are moving into a situation whereby you are actually coming into contact with art formally.

Senzo NS. so they just ask me that question ‘why don’t you

Mmutle. pursue art?

Senzo. …pursue art, Yes, it was like they just opened up something for me. The following day they advise me to walk around Newtown and check Art Schools en go to UJ (University of Johannesburg) to check if I can apply for a fine art qualification. I woke up, came to town, went to Newtown. But before I found my way to Newtown I had to start at Carlton Center. At Carlton I met a group of artists by chance drawing in the open space. They also had an exhibition as well. I spoke to them about my interest in an art career and they told me that there were some art classes offered by the Johannesburg Art Gallery on Fridays and Thursdays. I went there to enquire, but it was easy, the moment you arrive there they just said ‘sit down’ and gave you paper to start drawing….

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Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu (Part One): Today, Tomorrow, Everyday

Location: LL Editions Fine Art Printing, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa

Date: Friday 28 November 2014 at 09:00

Mmutle Arthur Kgokong: Well I just want to thank you Senzo for giving me the time to talk to you especially here in the studio, not at your home where you will be bombarded with house chores (jokingly).

Senzo Njabulo Shabangu: (laughs) true

Mmutle AK: Yah, here it’s much better because it is your work space.

Senzo NS: Yes we can, …I understand, we can…

Mmutle: At the moment you are here at The Bag Factory neh?

Senzo: Yes

MAK: You are working on a new body of work? Tell me what is the work about actually in terms of the content of what you are dealing with for this new body of work?

Senzo. It’s like, I have been dealing a lot with issues of Joburg pressure because to me it is easy to realize that pressure the city has. So since I came here (in) 2006 I have been feeling that pressure like …at home when you are in the city they have their own expectations and as an artist it is also difficult. It is difficult for everyone the way a city designed because it’s got that pressure and for me as someone who comes outside of the city it’s easy for me to feel that pressure.

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Intraparadoxical contemplation

ïntraparadox is a coinage for the phenomena that occurs during an interview with an artist. Like any human being out there an artist has their own convictions and contradictions; for they are social animals. So intraparadox, as a dialogue produced as a result of an interview with the artist, is like an x-ray process that reveals the nature of the artist, their life and their art practice. It is important then that it, intraparadox, be written word for word based on the audio file gathered during the moment of interview with the artist, for I would like to present as closest an account as possible of the artist’s persona to the reader – a portrait of the artist. The reading must produce a reflection of the personality of the artist as it is, as it would be encountered when the reader, should the occasion present itself, meet the artist in person! The interview should be an intimate encounter of the artist in conversation about their work – this is the first task of writing the text. Secondly, during the interview as the ideals upheld by the artist emerge, teased out and made bare as the conversation develops around pertinent issues the artist is preoccupied with in their art production or practice; issues which might emerge during the dialogue, it is hoped, that an opportunity will be afforded the reader to delve deeper into the conception of the visual art object apropos to the  artist undergoing the interview

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Diary entry: Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu#28/11/Twenty14.

Senzo@work

Ï spent part of today’s morning at the Bag Factory, LL Editions Fine Arts Printmaking Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg, interviewing Senzo Njabulo Shabangu. He is currently working on a new body of work for an upcoming exhibition next year in September. ‘The exhibition is both here and in New York. I have decided to work in different spaces in order to broaden my horizon as an artist’  he states as he looks around him.

His studio is in Jan Smuts Avenue at David Krut Print Workshop. It is always such an honor to be afforded the opportunity to be immersed in the life of an artist. The next step is to make the interview accessible to you. This means the wordathonian chuchu train will be churning away behind the wordmachiniacon over the next weeks. If there is anything that emerged from my interview with Senzo was a sneak behind the vanishing corner of what theoretically his work could be about; Although I cannot speak with authority at the moment, but what emerged was an interrogation of the dwelling space, the apartment, the urban flatlands, as a contested space between those who rent and those who lease. I hope that later on, your reading of the interview will help us make headway either towards affirming this theoretical perspective or its refutation.

Interview with Senzo Njabulo Shabangu @BagFactoryII 28112014

Summer

28 November

© Mmutle Arthur Kgokong 2014

mmutleak@gmail.com

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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)

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