On the artist Tshepo DD Maponyane’s development

The aim of this essay is to trace the development of the career of Tshepo DD Maponyane based on an extensive interview that I conducted with him in 2011 shortly after his return from Bali. Already at that time plans were underway to mount an exhibition of his work at the Pretoria Art Museum to afford his home town to his oeuvre in one space. It is my hope that the reader will come to realise the conditions within which this artist has emerged. The critical assessment of the work of the artist is not part of the current essay but will form part of a separate essay entitled ‘Self Introspection – A critical assessment’ therein his visual art output selected for his solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum will be discussed.

INTRODUCTION:

Our neighbourhoods, our townships, our urban areas bustle with talent. Some of this talent will sprout on fertile soil that has readily available resources that will help nurture it to reach its full genius through access to academic training. But some of this talent will fall on barren soil with no potential for survival due to lack of financial nurturing, however because within those unfortunate seeds lurks innate survival drive, the inevitable drop of water or treatment of that barren soil that imbibe the environment with fertility; with potentiality for growth and development can help unlock the talent.

Such a change of prospect privileges the world to have the chance to come into contact with the innate creative force that battle the odds to emerge victorious as it speaks the gospel of art through form, colour, line and volume witnessed in the art object that grapples with the issues of the artists time; personal or worldly. Unlike his contemporaries Tshepo DD Maponyane developed from a barren environment that I have hitherto referred to and claimed his place within the contemporary art scene in South Africa.

The aim of this essay is to trace the development of the career of Tshepo DD Maponyane based on an extensive interview that I conducted with him in 2011 shortly after his return from Bali. Already at that time plans were underway to mount an exhibition of his work at the Pretoria Art Museum to afford his home town to his oeuvre in one space. It is my hope that the reader will come to realise the conditions within which this artist has emerged. The critical assessment of the work of the artist is not part of the current essay but will form part of a separate essay entitled ‘Self Introspection – A critical assessment’ therein his visual art output selected for his solo exhibition at the Pretoria Art Museum will be discussed.  

Continue reading “On the artist Tshepo DD Maponyane’s development”

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For Sale Project Exhibition 2012

However if I may be allowed the privilege to give a general commentary on creativity itself I would like to offer that the artist, the creative person whatever the vocation of creativity that they are grappling with, for them concentration is everything. For in their pursuit to reach the original artwork the artist must work hard ceaselessly. Then I believe that they will reach a state wherein there is a ceaseless stream of consciousness towards creative art production. It is in that state that the artist will produce remarkable work that can claim a place in visual art history. In the future students of the arts will come across their names and work. And this is the highest ideal that art energy should try and attain through the life of the artist. The artist can channel it only without compromising hard work.

NOTE

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.

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Neo Resistance Art and its Fallacy (final edit!)

Now as I jot this article that artwork has evolved from being an aggravating work praised as brave and avant-garde to a vandalized artwork following two men who entered the gallery, apparently total strangers to each other, and took turns defacing the painting. While the white man crossed both the face and the genitalia with red paint the black man smeared black paint both on the face, part of the right side of the figure and the genitalia area. While the black man who vandalized the artwork after the white man was the first to be arrested the white man almost fled the gallery uncaught if it weren’t for the press that pointed out he should be also be arrested. I shall stop here with this description of the work and the incident surrounding its defacing lest I lose sight of what I am concerned with here. But I wish to venture that the artwork now has attained a state of a performance piece with the added actions of the two men. Though defaced, it has not lost its gravity as offensive and vulgar. It has now being relegated to a pseudo avant-garde by bourgeois standards but far from kitsch considering its genesis and the new meaning it is pregnant with.

/a mistaken reasoning which makes an argument invalid/

/the ability not to be affected by something/

/skill, especially human skill as opposed to nature; skillful execution as an object in itself/

 

Take note that…

This is the final edition of an essay that I first published on 23 May, there have been a few omissions and additions made here and there, all done with the effort to zoom clearly on the preoccupation the essay raises. The original  work is still available in this blog.

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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 and operating along racial lines, though covertly, when one looks at the so call liberal arts, even before consider such art as liberal, we must go to the beginning of the conception of an artwork which is in itself a problematic journey in itself. 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 not from freedom of speech. Actually freedom of speech is the desire to share with everyone around you your fundamental concerns.

  Continue reading “Neo Resistance Art and its Fallacy (final edit!)”

Neo Resistance Art and its Fallacy

Let us acknowledge that once the artwork goes public and holds its attention the artist is grabbling with external stimuli however the mode within which the artist is grappling with the issues concern shifts and heightens from personal to public. When the ground on which he operates shifts and heightens unfortunately for him He is no longer a private person entitled to their personal views, he speaks to the people for the people. The artist is no longer on a personal journey but he has harnessed the interests of the people. Positively he will be seen as endorsing the interests of those whose values he upholds and negatively he has taken a confrontational stance towards those who are opposed to the ideals reflected in his work. By hook or crook he now represents the ideals of a particular group of the society within which his practicing exists. He is positioned.

/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.

Continue reading “Neo Resistance Art and its Fallacy”