Magazine article Artforum International

"Memorias Intimas Marcas"

Magazine article Artforum International

"Memorias Intimas Marcas"

Article excerpt

MUKHA

The fourth installment of a series that saw the light of day in 1997 in Cape Town, "Mem6rias Intimas Marcas" is an exhibition that continues to evolve, with each incarnation offering different works, artists, and modes of presentation. Starting with concepts such as amnesia and autopsy, the project as a whole aims to analyze the artistic responses to the war and violence linked to the history of South Africa, but also to similar events in Africa and elsewhere. The outcome of a dialogue among artists, the exhibition is at once marked by the violence of lived experiences--tombs, deformed bodies, and barbed wire are among its salient signs--and by a complex formalization that places this work in a contemporary aesthetic discourse. On the cover of Marcas News Europe 4, published on the occasion of the show at MUKHA, we read, "The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living." The tone is set. Far from capitalizing on cultural authenticity or compassion, the exhibition e xplores the encounter between a specific political and historical reality and its inscription in the context of contemporary art.

Kendell Geers, for instance, has juxtaposed Self-Portrait, 1995--the broken neck of a Heineken bottle (a Dutch export)--with an enormous barrier of barbed wire, behind which a black wall bears the inscription of a war story (T.W [Exported]. As direct as possible, Geers's installations are so many high-speed metaphors whose fearsome efficacy is tinged with an assumed craftiness. Gast Bouschet's film, Listen to your holes, 1999, sets images of military camps against those of civilian constructions. Apparently shot in secret from a moving car, the video seems to be utterly inhabited by military secrets, an imminent and underlying danger. A work that is unsettling and paranoid, yet funny in its confusion between normality and a state of siege, Listen to your boles is both a part of the exhibition and a commentary on it. …

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