Writing Art History Since 2002

First Title

History and language are a strange pair of beasts. Like a river history twists and turns through barren landscapes and deep canyons, experiencing times of drought and heavy flood. And just like a river history is susceptible to the guises of those who drink from it, either changing its flow or damming it up, ensuring longevity.

In this formulation, language is our mode of transport carrying down the river, forever influenced by the journey already travelled. South Africa’s boat has some holes in it that require some mending. No Longer At This Address co-curated by Brenton Maart and Peter Machen, currently showing at the Durban Art Gallery, represents an attempt to patch some the historical ruptures left by the drought of apartheid left in our hull. To change a name is simple. To do this cohesively however is another issue. Divided into two facets the exhibition addresses both the visual and formal aspects around the process of this metamorphosis. Machen’s black and white, textually orientated installation gives the figures whose names are the subject of this change a context.This formal approach is juxtaposed to the images and graffiti hung and sprayed in the circular gallery by the Imvunge Street Photographers and the Africa Raw Talent Crew. If Machen’s texts are a preparatory sanding down of the gashes in our boat locating the material they are to be filled with, then these images represent the course to be travelled. Maart places particular emphasis on this bend in the river when he describes the photographs as depicting the ‘social architecture’ in which the name changes will serve to reflect. In doing so the everyday finds itself as depicted, not as banal trickle, but as a river in flood, gushing over rapids and charting new courses.

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