#97. Watch the performance. I was at the opening of the Joburg Art Fair last night along with a few hundred other people, all dressed up, mingling, eating teeny weensy snacks and looking at some spectacular pieces from SA’s top galleries and other sellers of contemporary African art. The Fair is worth a visit for many reasons — chief among them Penny Siopis’s haunting works made with glue, the gigantic graphite and wood pencil for R5600 (if I had the cash I would buy two plus the sharpener), Jane Alexander’s Security installation (even more affecting up close as the audience appears to be caged in every direction), Lyndi Sales’ delicate paper cut-outs depicting the world’s flight paths, and Mary Sibande’s “They don’t make them like they used to”, a witty and ironic take on the “maid becoming the madam” and the hands of a domestic worker bringing Superman into being.
The representations so diverse, engaging and smart. I also loved Carl Becker’s Pierneef-like landscape with motocross rider and the brilliant collaborative work of William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins displayed by the Goodman Gallery. Add to that Araminta de Clermont’s Matric Queens photographs and of course the urban hip images of Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko and the Avant Car Guard’s Poor Man’s Picasso (below). Plus the astounding collection of contemporary South African furniture and other design objects — that alone is worth the visit.
There were a few speeches but all I could hear from where I was standing was Barbara Creecy, the MEC for Arts, Culture Sport and other weirdly associated things in the province who spoke about “artistic entities” and other blah blah economic impact blah blah …Gauteng… blah blah. The art had more than enough to say and needed no help in getting a message out.
The performance didn’t end there. A few hours later I was at Parea on Corlett Drive eating not so cheap but very cheerful Greek food (probably Joburg’s best). They turned up the sound system, cracked up some crockery, set the floor alight with methylated spirits and brought in two dancers and a man who balanced on one leg on top of his whisky glass. It was excruciating. The walls were shaking, the paint was peeling from the sound blast of cheap taverna tunes so we fled — not even the baklava could keep us there for dessert. And besides the waitress couldn’t hear our order.
Driving back onto Oxford Road we passed an island filled with Joburg Metro Police who seemed to be just hanging out and one block away two Rubinesque hookers flashed their large boobies at us, winking and smiling. At the robot a poor man danced with a placard asking for change.
And on we drove into the night with me thinking
All of Joburg is a stage ….