Arts Reviews: Brazil by Design; Africa Rifting: Lines of Fire, Namibia/Brazil Wolverhampton Art Gallery Contemporary Printmakers RBSA Gallery, St Paul's Square

The Birmingham Post (England), September 29, 2004 | Go to article overview

Arts Reviews: Brazil by Design; Africa Rifting: Lines of Fire, Namibia/Brazil Wolverhampton Art Gallery Contemporary Printmakers RBSA Gallery, St Paul's Square


Byline: Terry Grimley

Most of us can remember where we were on September 11, 2001, and now I know where the South African artist Georgia Papageorge was: she was draping scarlet banners over cliffs on the Brazilian coast.

The photographs she took that day are now on display in Wolverhampton Art Gallery - which is slightly spooky for me, because it happens that on that very day I was in this same gallery, looking at the exhibition Fluid, with which it reopened after a lengthy closure following the last phase of its redevelopment.

The rocky coast of Brazil and the desert coast of Namibia are not usually thought of as having much in common, yet a mere 350 million years ago they were actually joined together. This exhibition reflects Papageorge's mission to reconnect them, at least conceptually, in works spanning photography, painting, film and installation.

The scarlet banners, draped over cliffs, half-buried under sand and raised triumphantly aloft on metal frames, provide the unifying image. They're quite striking, and very red - but pretty soon after I had registered this I started looking for further artistic interest, and found it elusive.

There is a film which edits together images from the two continents, the red banners providing a unifying motif. Some of the images are striking, but with its 'spiritual' ambient soundtrack the overall impression is soporific, like those New-Agey audio CDs which are supposed to make you feel simultaneously warm and anxious about the environment.

In a catalogue acknowledgement to the film editor, Papageorge has incautiously described her own film as 'an unforgettable work of art', but I doubt I'll remember it this time next year.

The RBSA's open exhibition for printmakers is a new addition to its calendar, and ought to prove a popular one. …

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Arts Reviews: Brazil by Design; Africa Rifting: Lines of Fire, Namibia/Brazil Wolverhampton Art Gallery Contemporary Printmakers RBSA Gallery, St Paul's Square
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