STEVENSON is pleased to present Anton Kannemeyer's fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.
E is for Exhibition takes us deep into Kannemeyer's thought processes and studio practice, bringing together his range of working methods that include comics, sketches, text-based works and large-scale paintings. Partly autobiographical and resolutely observational, Kannemeyer continues to draw attention to our perceptions of difference, the power of the image and the insidious potential of language.
Satirising everything from himself to commodity fetishisation, many of these works use the day-to-day realities of South Africa to shine a light onto universal issues, such as systemic racism, religious dogma, power and censorship. Never hesitant to offer a counter-perspective, E is for Exhibition engages the larger themes of race, sex, class and politics, reminding us that even though the times have changed, many debates have not fundamentally evolved.
Take politics for example. In the sketch P is for Pretoria, from the ongoing Alphabet of Democracy series, we read a quote, hovering above the Union Buildings, in which President Jacob Zuma explains democracy to the National Assembly, 13 September 2012:
You have more rights because you're a majority; you have less rights because you're a minority. That's how democracy works.
In the autobiographical comic strip My Nelson Mandela, we learn about the dawning of Kannemeyer's political consciousness at a rock festival in Dortmund, Germany, in 1986. 'Who the fuck', he asked, 'is Nelson Mandela?' Ridiculed for his ignorance during an event characterised by 'shitty reggae music' and 'a false sense of freedom', he recalls: 'I went home depressed and confused. South African censorship had made a fool of me.'
Accompanying this exhibition is Kannemeyer's latest book, Pappa in Doubt, (Jacana), a follow-up to Pappa in Afrika (2010). In this collection of new and recent works, interspersed with earlier comics, Kannemeyer's Tintin-esque stand-in and a cast of inevitably stereotypical figures either parade their imbecility and blatant retrograde attitudes, or offer us insights into a host of pressing topics for the burgeoning Africa. Pappa in Doubt will have its Jo'burg launch at the exhibition opening and Kannemeyer will be present to sign copies of the book; a Cape Town launch was held on 9 September as part of the Open Book festival.
Kannemeyer (aka Joe Dog) is co-editor, with Conrad Botes, of the satirical Bitterkomix series. His work has recently been included in Africa: Architecture, Culture and Identity at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark; The Global Africa Project: Political Patterns, Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea (2014); Color Theory, MUAC (University Museum of Contemporary Art), Mexico City (2014); Public Intimacy: Art and Social Life in South Africa, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014); Meeting Points 7 at M HKA in Antwerp, Para Site in Hong Kong, Beirut Art Centre and 21er haus, Vienna (2013-14); Taboo, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2012); Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); and Les Afriques de Papa at l'Espace du Collectif Sadi, Kinshasa, DR Congo (2010).
Anton Kannemeyer artist page.
Related press: Lwandile Fikeni reviews for
City Press (1 November 2015); Layla Leiman interviews for Between 10 and 5 (13 October 2015); Gabriel Crouse article for The Johannesburg Times (12 October 2015); Tymon Smith's article for Sunday Times Lifestyle (11 October 2015); Anton Kannemeyer talks to Kyknet TV (9 October 2015); Jody Nel writes for netwerk24.com (7 October 2015); Graham Wood reviews for Times Live (6 October 2015); Sarah Cascone reports for artnet.com (5 October 2015); Charl Blignaut for City Press (5 October 2015); Times Live reports (3 October 2015); David Smith for The Guardian (2 October 2015)