Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present

Live Virtual Auction, 19 February 2024

Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present
About the Session

From Thomas Baines to Jake Aikman, Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present will showcase art by pioneering modernist and trailblazing contemporary artists, spanning 175 years of visual landscape painting on the African continent. This comprehensive auction reveals a nuanced understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, and environmental contexts that have shaped artistic representations of the landscape. Through an examination of various themes, the auction seeks to engage viewers in a dialogue that transcends time and space, connecting past representations to contemporary perspectives. The auction attempts to engage with the diversity of artists that have shaped and continue to shape the depiction of Africa through time.

The auction invites viewers on a captivating journey through the artistic expressions that mirror the multifaceted nature of African terrain. Through meticulous  curation and insightful analysis, the catalogue aspires to be a valuable resource for scholars, art enthusiasts and anyone eager to embark on a thought-provoking exploration of Africa’s rich and complex artistic heritage.

Curatorial Voices
Recognising the dynamic discourse surrounding African Landscape, both past and present, the auction features texts by invited contemporary curators responding to the auction selection and themes. As external voices, they provide critical insights into the complexities of the landscape theme. By amplifying these contemporary perspectives, the exhibition seeks to bridge the gap between traditional representations and the ever-evolving discourse on the role of African art within the global art market.

Azza Satti, Independent Curator, Kenya
Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), Nigeria
Camilla van Hoogstraten, Head of Sales, Latitudes Online
Ugoma Ebilah, Curator, Gallerist & Founder of Bloom Art
Nkgopoleng Moloi, Independent Curator, South Africa


Sold for

ZAR 93 800
Lot 91
  • Wayne Barker; Chris Hani
  • Wayne Barker; Chris Hani
  • Wayne Barker; Chris Hani


Lot Estimate
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 93 800
Location
Johannesburg

About this Item

South African 1963-
Chris Hani

signed with the artist's initials and dated 08; dated, inscribed with the artist's name, the title, and medium on an Everard Read Gallery label adhered to the reverse

digital print and enamel on canvasboard
55,5 by 55,5cm excluding frame; 87,5 by 87,5 by 5cm including frame

Notes

JH Pierneef’s iconic landscape paintings became the subject of parody and hijack by counter-cultural artists in the 1980s. Wayne Barker was not the first artist to lampoon Pierneef’s stylised compositions, but he was arguably the most merciless. In 1989, he destroyed a parody work depicting Pierneef’s Apies River scene from his celebrated Johannesburg Station Panels (1929-32) during a SABC television show devoted to artist Braam Kruger. At the time, Barker was living in the Famous International Gallery in central Johannesburg. The area’s working-class consumer culture greatly invigorated his pop-influenced paintings.

Barker’s earliest process involved projecting Pierneef’s works onto a canvas and completing them paint-by-numbers style. “His paintings were easy to copy because of their Tintin comic vibe.”1 Barker then applied various motifs and objects, including commercial brands, painted targets a la Jasper Johns, rudimentary figures in the style of Jean-Michel Basquiat and found objects that evoked the assemblage paintings of Robert Rauschenberg and David Koloane. “The works bristled with relevance, and Barker expected them to be greeted more favourably than they were by the art establishment,” his biographer Charl Blignaut noted.2 Undeterred, Barker persisted with Pierneef. A durable antagonist, Barker has deployed Pierneef’s work to comment on globalisation, history and memory in a changing South Africa

His post-2000 output includes large glass-bead compositions made in collaboration with artisans, as well as works incorporating oil, enamel, printed vinyl and neon. The distinctive modes of laying down his source image matter less than the animating idea. Barker considers Pierneef a pop artist and his much-debated Station Panels as South Africa’s “first pop images”.3 “I was brought up with his iconography. He was a target I could attack. He was employed to paint this beautiful landscape to get the Afrikaans nation to say who they are, which, in a way, is quite charming in retrospect, but during the apartheid years I was f—furious.”4

A diminishing rage underpins this tribute work, which centrally depicts murdered political activist Chris Hani against Pierneef’s stately Rustenburg Kloof. It pre-empted a series of similarly styled works from 2010-12 that memorialise, even lionise Black artists, musicians and politicians against Pierneef’s resplendent nature.

1. Chad Rossouw (2010) ‘You are super Boring’, in Art South Africa, No. 8.3, page 61.
2. Charl Blignaut (2000) Wayne Barker, Johannesburg: Chalkham Press, page 28.
3. John Peffer (2009) Art and the End of Apartheid, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, page 227.
4. Rossouw, page 61.

View all Wayne Barker lots for sale in this auction



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