After six years in abeyance, the Parking Gallery reopens in Johannesburg on the evening of Wednesday 11 April. A non-commercial, artist-run space, the Parking Gallery was founded by Simon Gush in 2006, and operated out of a parking garage in one of Johannesburg’s darker downtown streets.
Today, the gallery is reincarnated in the premises of the Visual Arts Network of Southern Africa (VANSA) a stone’s throw away from the gentrified multi-use complex Arts on Main.
The Parking Gallery re-launches with a series of artists’ discussions, which will take place every Wednesday evening from 6.30pm. This week’s speaker will be artist Kudzanai Chiurai, whose talk will open a group exhibition by Johannesburg-based artists Nadine Hutton and Zen Marie, and Swiss artist, Zimoun.
The original Parking Gallery lasted only six months, but of the handful of fleeting artist-run spaces that have come and gone in South Africa since the 1990s, the Parking Gallery is probably the best remembered (along with Siemon Allen’s legendary Flat Gallery, which he ran out of his apartment in Durban from 1993 to 1995). This no doubt owes much to the fact that Gush ‘s records of the gallery’s pioneering events were thorough, and had a presence online. However, Gush’s curatorial instinct saw to it that each of the eight artists who exhibited there produced shows that were defining for their careers and their positions in the South African art world. Artists to have exhibited in the original downtown gallery were Bronwyn Lace, Ismail Farouk, Marcus Neustetter, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Doung Anwar Jehangeer, Vaughn Sadie and Nathaniel Stern.
Gush is a practicing artist represented by Stevenson, and has recently relocated to Johannesburg after completing a fellowship at the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) in Cape Town in 2011. Prior to this, he completed a postgraduate studio program at the prestigious Hoger Instituut van Schone Kunsten in Ghent, Belgium.