Nelson Mandela University’s Bird Street Art Gallery is set to reopen to the public after months of standing idle due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Intern manager Jonathan van der Walt said it was exciting for staff and students to be able to welcome visitors from Monday.
“We will probably continue offering the online virtual experience as this was very well received the first time we did it during the National Arts Festival,” Van der Walt said.
The physical exhibition titled Materiality<>Temporality, which is available to view online, showcases a variety of works created by both staff and master’s students.
Van der Walt said the concept of materiality was relevant in art theory as well as law.
“In law, materiality refers to something having relevance or significance.
“In art theory, materiality refers to the physicality of the art object.” Van der Walt said.
He said materiality in works of art extended beyond the simple fact of physical matter but also encompassed all relevant information related to the work’s physical existence.
“The work’s production date and provenance, its history and condition, the artist’s personal history as it pertains to the origin of the work and the work’s place in the canon of art history are all relevant to the aesthetic experience,” Van der Walt said.
Made up of works created by 20 staff members and 10 master’s students, the exhibition aims for the viewer to think more critically about the art as well as themselves.
“When engaging with the idea of materiality, we considered materiality not only as the physicality of the art object, but also as the experiences enabled through the materiality of the work,” Van der Walt said.
HONOURING GENERATIONS: Mieke Janse van Rensburg’s ‘Lillian, Lynette and Me’ is made from fabric and embroidery
Artist Mieke Janse van Rensburg’s artwork Lillian, Lynette and Me uses fabric and embroidery to showcase the intertwined identity of generations.
“Using fabrics from personal items from each generation, the silhouettes of myself, mother and grandmother are intertwined with embroider detail,” Janse van Rensburg said.
“Threads of the previous generations bind me to them by their ever-present maternal influence.”
Sonwabiso Ngcai’s Uncharted 1 & 2 uses ceramic and glass.
“I have likened this experimental exercise to present uncertain and unpredictable times during the Covid-19 pandemic, and how vaccine trials are at times put on hold due to suspected adverse and negative reactions.
“Similarly for me, while kiln-firing these artworks I was filled with apprehension and a suffocation anxiety,” Ngcai said.
The Materiality<>Temporality exhibition opens to the public from October 5 between 11am and 2pm daily and will run indefinitely pending further announcements.
The virtual exhibition can be viewed online here.
Large group and student viewings need to be made by appointment. Call 041-504-3293 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.