• performance detail - 'The Studio'
  • performance detail - 'The Studio'
  • Installation detail, 'The Station and The Studio' (2014)
  • Installation detail, 'The Station and The Studio'
  • Installation detail, 'The Station and The Studio'
  • performance painting detail, 'The Studio'
  • performance painting detail, 'The Studio'
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The Station and The Studio
2014

Title:
The Station and The Studio

Year:
2014

Format:
HD digital film, colour with sound

Acrylic and Indian Ink – 21 pieces at 330×61cm

Running time:
‘The Station’ – 7 minutes, 56 seconds

‘Taxi’ – 6 minutes, 53 seconds

Location:
Johannesburg

Credits:
Produced in association with Goethe-Institut Johannesburg

Supported by Goethe-Institut, Arts Council England and British Council

Photos – John Hogg and Nathi Khumalo

Press:
Podcast via South African FM

Interview on Africa News Network – ANN7, Johannesburg

Interview Classic Feel Magazine –  Words by Nondumiso Msimanga, Johannesburg

ACE_BritishCouncil_Black_RGB_web use

 

At the heart of Johannesburg’s bustling inner city throbs the Bus Station, gridded with queues of anticipating passengers. Buses lurch impatiently, engines roar, exhausts splutter.

Gridlock. Bottleneck.

But in this seemingly chaotic urban space, there are rules and expectations. Aboard the bus (taxi), trust is the code as money changes hands, incrementing from passenger to passenger before reaching the driver intact.

‘The Station and The Studio’ is a performance, painting and film project exploring social constructions of public and private spaces in Johannesburg, and possibilities for correlation between these spaces. The project centres on ‘Noord Taxi Rank’ (The Bus Station) in the inner city, and the artist’s project space (The Studio) at ‘Arts on Main’, a recently gentrified hub in a deprived neighbourhood.

At the Bus Station, the artist secures a digital camera to her thigh with the handcrafted ‘Camera Tracing Mechanism (part 3)’. The mechanism dictates a sort of ‘knee jerk’ action to allow the camera to capture, and a performance of circumstance ensues. The resulting work is the film ‘The Station’. Every raise of the artist’s knee paces the scene, and notions of endurance are present as she sustains the strain of holding this position to capture the moving image.

 

In a second film titled ‘Taxi’, the ‘Camera Tracing Mechanism’ is transformed as the artist secures it to her head. She boards a taxi and sits at the back with the camera and mechanism atop her head. The heads of her fellow passengers bob, jerk and roll with every road bump as if in chorus, their movements unintentionally choreographed.

In the meditative quietness of her studio space, the artist creates a series of semi-choreographed movement paintings on paper and acetate inspired by her encounter with the Bus Station.

Titled ‘The Studio’, these paintings are colourful and dynamic, conjuring the energy of Johannesburg’s inner city. They communicate buses brightly hued, or spiritedly emblazoned with the vibrancy of the South African flag. Occupying the gallery space from floor to ceiling, the paintings relay themes of territory, as they grid the space like the passengers at the Bus Station. The significance of territory is deeply embedded in South Africa’s history.

‘The Station and The Studio’ proposes a dialogue between contrasting territories of our contemporary time. And in this dialogue, similarities emerge between these very different spaces – the precise chaos of the Bus Station and the contained changeability of the artist’s studio.

Read more about the process behind ‘The Station and The Studio’.

Exhibition runs until 7 September, GoetheOnMain, Johannesburg 


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