Posts by Mitchell Messina

Dolcefarniente: Sweet Doing Nothing
by Matthew Freemantle

  I arrived at David Krut Projects’ unlikely suburban bureau in Newlands on a wintry night and, parking between two swaying pine trees in the pitch dark, I half wondered whether I’d made a wrong turn. Crunching my way towards a soft murmur that had all the trademark intonations of artspeak, I was glad to…

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On The New Parthenon
Khanya Mashabela

I walked into a little side room. A woman saw me enter and followed behind with interest. On two tables were two screens. I walked around them and then stopped, standing next to her, watching a Lo-Fi video of a woman throwing plates across a room. A silent minute passed, us strangers standing together attempting to parse the work’s meaning. She turned to me, “Do you understand what’s going on in this exhibition?” suppressing frustration, “I can’t make sense of any of this.”

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The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Tymon Smith

Director Carol Reed will always be remembered for The Third Man but his portentous and slow and very sexless, sanitized version of this particular chapter in the life of an artist who continues to inspire awe and amazement in those bitten with the artistic bug is not his finest moment. Props though to the art department who, not permitted to film the actual Sistine ceiling, recreated it on a sound stage at the Cinecitta studios.

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Non-people people: Elize Vossgatter’s ‘Limp’
Ashraf Jamal

It is whiteness which Vossgatter considers – a whiteness reduced, repackaged, strung together along a conveyor belt. As to where these limbs are destined is unknown – they simply hover, mute, as if frozen in place. The simplicity of this spinal installation is unsettling.

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Pre-requisites to the Human Chain
Amie Soudien

It’s worth a reminder that advertising has long flirted with the aesthetics of collective activism, stirring our inner insecurities and hopes for a better future with the purchase of a perfect ice cold beverage. While it is easy to lament the mis-steps of Kendall Jenner, no stranger to the exploitation of personal or collective fame, one might do better to examine a history of advertising designed to co-opt and manipulate idealism.

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Widget: Jake Singer’s RGB Sky
Ashraf Jamal

This age, our age, the post-post-industrial digitised age, now possesses its own timeline and geology – The Anthropocene – which defines an earth and a civilisation governed by human impact. It is this man-made morph which Singer places centre-stage. His combines – which includes rocks – reveal the new splice of Man and machine, geology and polymer, which Wired magazine dubbed the ‘Plastiglomerate’.

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Art Films: An Introduction
Tymon Smith

Staid, socially functional, artists are of no use to filmmakers – you’re far more likely to see a Wayne Barker biopic than you might a film about William Kentridge any time soon. Dionysian impulses and antisocial behaviour are what will get your artistic biography the seventh art treatment – audiences want to see you drinking yourself into a stupor at 11am surrounded by empty wine bottles and unpaid rent bills rather than calmly sipping tea in Constantia contemplating your next still life with cosmos.

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Big Ideas & Vague Sentiments
Mitchell Messina

There are certain traces, scars even, left behind when a work uproots itself from the contexts of one space and installs itself in another. While the historical figure of the explorer might still hold some credence in the artist’s native Italy, in South Africa we’ve grown a little more wary of the idea over the last 529 years.

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