Dorothee Kreutzfeldt

Parking Gallery

Kreutzfeldt once told me that she produces her installation work in much the same way as she paints, collecting bits, and piecing them together until she sees something. “Much of painting has to do with envisioning,” she says. “You sort of look for an image as you paint.” I imagine that she constructs Johannesburg in a similar manner. For this installation, she seeks out the “boy club” rules of the city; is infatuated with its dirty streets; and attempts to make sense of the need for sleekness evidenced by the city’s inhabitants. Kreutzfeldt reads her home as “Becket with a logo.”The result, installed in Parking Gallery’s basement space, is an absurd juxtaposition of disparate objects that Kreutzfeldt feels somehow represent Jo’burg: new and used rear-end car spoilers, flame vinyl and tape drawings, spotlights, racing flags, a car battery, a church poster reading “I Believe in Miracles,” amongst other things. However, the main attraction, on top of all the paint and glamour, is undoubtedly the four professional long-distance athletes. All black men, they run in pairs, back and forth, literally and figuratively connecting the walls of the gallery.My first response was simply to laugh. It was funny. Quirky. Odd. Massive. But in retrospect, two main things struck me. The first was the performance’s resemblance to a motion graphic. Kreutzfeldt had rainbow-coloured paint that disappeared across horizon lines and capitalist cultural products displayed in front of physically fit men. This could easily have been an advertisement for a new Gillette razor or a Nike sneaker. The second strike was the sound of her “performers”, the beating and sliding of their feet, the sound of crackling joints, their even-but-hard breathing.During their performance, the runners (Steve Dikobo and Zongamele Dyubeni of Gauteng Striders, Isaac Masilele of Harmony Gold, and Andries Ramaala) are not adversaries. They do not compete, they do not oppose, but neither do they resolve. The dissimilar images that Kreutzfeldt envisions and pieces together, in homage to Johannesburg, never cohere as symbolic reading. They are kept as a tension, as a dialectic image.Said its creator when it was all over: “I’m still not sure what the thing actually was. I liked its fiction. Perhaps the different elements didn’t come together. Like they were indifferent to each other. Like nothing really happened. But in my head the four runners continue running.”
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