Between THE Lines

Cape Times (South Africa), May 2, 2014 | Go to article overview

Between THE Lines


BYLINE: Genna Gardini

ALthough artist Anton Kannemeyer may bristle at being described as "politically incorrect", a term he confesses he finds reductive, the words often appear, like an inescapable hashtag, whenever his work is discussed. The conversations I have heard around his latest exhibition, Such, Such Were the Joys, at the Stevenson gallery, are no different.

Such, Such Were the Joys is mostly paintings and drawings taken from a series of new books. These include Mamma in Africa, a follow-up to Kannemeyer's 2010's Pappa in Africa.

The show also marks the launch of another collection, The Erotic Drawings of Anton Kannemeyer.

By the artist's own admission, most of the works in this collection are not so much erotic as satirical of the value judgements often imposed on ideas around sex.

In a lunchtime lecture at UCT's Michaelis School of Fine Art last week, Kannemeyer explained that the book was a sort of pastiche of similar collections by celebrated international artists, particularly Picasso's famous erotic sketches.

In his own "erotic" works, Kannemeyer appears to be commenting on ideas of conservatism around sex.

He also questions notions of masculinity and power. In Soccer Star (I) and (II) he depicts what one would assume are triumphant soccer players adopting poses of celebration, their genitals exposed and lifting up towards an implied audience.

Kannemeyer's interest and focus on the publishing of books makes sense considering his career trajectory. Along with Conrad Botes, he is one of the founders of the South African comics Bitterkomix.

"Drawing comics for me, still, is the most time-consuming thing I can do," Kannemeyer said at his lunchtime lecture. "Making paintings is much easier."

During my time as an adolescent schoolgirl in Stellenbosch, I can remember being lent copies of the dissentingly political and socially capricious comics by white Afrikaans skater boys from our brother school.

Perhaps it is because of Kannemeyer's heritage, with his often being referred to as "Boer Punk", that his popularity with this crowd - now made up of a new generation - remains intact. …

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