SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction

Timed Online Auction, 7 - 21 February 2023

SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction

Sold for

ZAR 57 500
Lot 22
  • Conrad Botes; Liberal Communist
  • Conrad Botes; Liberal Communist
  • Conrad Botes; Liberal Communist

Lot Estimate
ZAR 70 000 - 100 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 57 500

About this Item

South African 1969-
Liberal Communist

signed with the artist's initials and numbered 5/12

gold-plated wood and bronze
height: 73cm; width 24cm; depth: 18cm


Artist's Bio

Conrad Botes considers himself to be a comic artist and, even though he may digress into making paintings on glass, or handsome and brilliant objects of furniture and lights, it is the jagged graphic line, the searingly acid, iconoclastic storyline that cuts to the heart of the sacred cows of Afrikaner culture which appeal to him artistically. Together with Anton Kannemeyer, he is one of the founders of Bitterkomix, a rude and cutting publication which the two started as students to jolt the establishment and invigorate the lives of their gleeful peers, and which they still publish regularly. The Bitterkomix publications, still distributed personally by Botes and Kannemeyer, have grown to be something of a national institution. Botes' favourite description of his work reads: "The sharp lines of his figuration coupled with the bold strident colours, the juxtaposition of symbols and subjects, serve to amplify the contradictions and exigencies of South African culture and society. Racial conflict, economic and religious status symbols, false values and cultural mystifications are at the centre of Botes' crude, ironic, yet naïve attacks." This extract comes from the catalogue of In Fumo, curated by Giacinto Pietrantonio.

Botes is part of a media-related show called Shelf Life curated by British duo Smith and Fowle. This opened in London recently and will proceed to Bristol, where The Best of Bitterkomix 2 will be launched (Bitterkomix is not currently in distribution in Britain). At a symposium around Shelf Life, Botes will discuss his master's thesis, which considered photo-comics in South Africa and the manner in which they presented race and gender as structures of dominance. Botes is also included in the important show In Fumo, which opened in September, alongside such international stars as Jean Michel Basquiat, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Keith Haring, William Kentridge, Roy Lichtenstein, Julian Opie, Raymond Pettibon, Cheri Samba, Andy Warhol and others at the Galleria of Modern Art in Bergamo, Italy. In Fumo is a show of work in private collections related to comics. In February, Passport to South Africa will open at the Centro Culturale Trevi, Bolzano, Italy, with Botes, Marlene Dumas, William Kentridge, Willie Bester and others. For this, Botes will present one installation of 46 pieces – paintings on the reverse of glass in various sizes, two lights, and a box with a sculpture. Featuring typical Botes iconography, the piece will be entitled African Renaissance.

Artist's Statement

Liberal Communist is a sarcastic title and inspired to some extent by this quote:

"In Liberal Communist ethics, the ruthless pursuit of profit is countered by charity. Charity is the humanitarian mask hiding the face of economic exploitation. In a superego blackmail of gigantic proportions, the developed countries 'help' the underdeveloped with aid, credits and so on, and thereby avoiding the key issue, namely their complicity in and co-responsibility for the miserable situation of the underdeveloped".
– Slavoj Žižek on 'Liberal Communism'

View all Conrad Botes lots for sale in this auction

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