The finalists of the 2015 Sasol New Signatures Competition were Nelmarie du Preez, Mareli Janse van Rensburg, Colleen Winter, Sethembile Msezane, Bronwyn Katz, Nazeerah Jacub, and Rory Emmett. View more about their winning works below.
Nelmarie du Preez
to shout (2013), Single-channel video with sound, 71 seconds
Du Preez/GUI* as a 'collective' presents a computer and Nelmarie du Preez as equal actors in a performance-based artistic collaboration.
*GUI is the abbreviation for Graphical User Interface commonly found on any electronic device. In the documented performance entitled to shout (2013), these two performers re-interpret the work of Marina Abramovic and Ulay entitled AAA-AAA (1978).
Du Preez pre-recorded herself screaming the word
'aaa' at different intensities, but here she is dressed
as her male-other GUI (representing Ulay's role). These
recordings are filtered through algorithms, which
listen for intensity of sound-input volume. The 'live'
shouting is firstly sent through a filter which records
and shifts the pitch of her voice to a lower register in
order to create a 'male' sounding voice. This audio is
sent to the visualisation of GUI on screen and, through
a set of instructions within the program, the forward
and backward movement of GUI's face is controlled in
relation to the volume of the recorded screaming.
Therefore GUI's voice and movements are directly
dependent on the volume of du Preez's 'live' shouting.
When the shouting reaches a certain threshold the
representation of GUI on screen begins to show
digital 'glitches' while GUI's voice is also distorted.
This creates a continuous feedback loop by means
of interaction between du Preez and GUI who aim
to generate new meaning with regards to social
constructions of the self and the other, and create
spaces for 'bodies' to meet/collide.
Transcending, Single-channel video, 180 seconds
This piece comes as a result of a sitespecific
a loaded and contentious space in
Cape Town. District Six, a former innercity
residential area in Cape Town,
South Africa, has been a desolate space
since the events of the forced removals
that occurred during the 1970s, under
an unjust regime.
"Colourman," my avatar, activated the
space by constructing a 2.1m x 2.1m
wall there; he then plastered it and
painted it. "Colourman" - a title for
traditional artisans in the history of
painting becomes a visual and textual
pun, a play on the term "coloured man."
The performance is done as this person
"of colour" clad in paint, figuratively
and literally becoming "coloured", a
The figure enters the frame and starts
attacking the wall. Therefore the figure
performs the painting process by
deconstructing the colour field whilst
remaining a painting himself. The gradual
demolition of the erected structure
makes the background more and more
visible. The site becomes evident.
"Colourman" walks out of the frame
after tearing the wall down, leaving only
the rubble behind before the video fades
Identity origins, Paint on fabric (195 x 95cm)
Being a young Muslim female growing up in South Africa, I consider
myself a hybrid of influences. On the one hand that of Indian culture,
and on the other a practicing Muslim. I am intrigued by origins and
that of pattern as it holds great importance amongst Indian females.
Within this artwork I have used the representation of a carpet, a
Muslim prayer matt (Mus'Allah). This carpet is something personal
to every Muslim individual as it is used five times a day in prayer.
Therefore the carpet appears used and is fading.
The embodiment of constant praying and usage is reinforced by the
worn away piece of fabric that appears to be unraveling in certain
sections. I have also introduced Islamic pattern in combination with
Indian patterns as a means of embracing this rather odd identity. The
medium in which the carpet is represented is through paint processes
as a means of introducing the love for praying within a confined space
and that of something which is frowned upon, so that the two may
provide a compromise.
Mareli Janse van Rensburg
The final moments of Immanuel Sithole, Photography (54 x 102cm)
This work comments on the Xenophobia attacks, specifically
the death of Immanuel Sithole, and how these media images
of his death influenced me as an individual. I took the images
of his death that were posted in newspapers and wove a mask
with them, I then took 'selfies' with this mask. These selfies
show how media is constructing the view of the public and
how they desensitise the public against traumatising images.
This mask shows me as an individual shielding myself against
these images by totally embracing myself in them so they do
no longer have an effect on me.
Grond herinnering (2015), Video, 228 seconds
Grond herinnering (2015) engages with my memory
of place. In the video I perform the washing of my
feet with soil from the part of the land from which I
originate. I do this as a way of reminding my feet of
where they come from. I perform childhood games I
remember playing. These performances are done in the
current space I occupy, as the remembering of my place
of origin is only required outside of my place of origin.
Untitled (Youth Day), 2014, Photography (70 x 50cm)
There is a shift in awareness amongst the youth (15 - 35 year bracket) of South
Africa where there is an attempt to transcend the legacy of apartheid and
colonialism by transforming contemporary South African society through art,
music and public debates - music such as the Rhodes Must Fall movement. As
a woman born in the 1990s, I investigate myself in relation to space and time.
In The Public Holiday Series (2013 - 2014) my aim was to highlight the
significance of black women in the South African (political) landscape by
asserting my body in public spaces, as a living sculpture, through the process
of temporary monumentalisation. This further alludes to women's unwritten
(or limited) participation in the liberation of the country within memorialised
public spaces by performing on South African (political) public holidays.
Historic events are contrasted with current issues in an exercise of memory,
and through this process expose how history often repeats itself. For
example, Human Rights Day in 1960 (previously known as Sharpeville Day)
can be closely aligned with the massacre in Marikana (2013).
The characters I have created engage the significance of these holidays
combined with similar western histories through iconic imagery, i.e. Lady
Liberty that, re-imagine these histories within a global context, and include
'Zulu' motifs and dress, as these form a strong part of my identity.
PUPA, Paper and pins (13 x 35 x 13cm)
There was a time in my life when I underwent many changes
and I needed to withdraw and re-assess all the values I had
previously upheld. It was a time of great emotional upheaval
and confusion. I felt as if I was inside a cocoon, and always
held on to the fact that one day this metamorphosis would be
complete, and I would re-emerge, equipped and empowered
and ready for a 'new' kind of life.
Cocoons relate to metamorphosis and transformation.
When a caterpillar spins a cocoon and pupates within it,
it undergoes drastic changes, and becomes what I call
'cosmic soup'. All the life systems that enabled its previous
functioning dissolve into an amorphous mush, and then,
slowly, new systems begin to form and come together to
produce a new entity. Many times I felt like this cosmic soup,
and had to wait it out until the process, often painful and
difficult, was over.
My artwork is a response to this experience of transformation
and to the ongoing changes in one's life.
The Sasol New Signatures exhibition runs from 3 September - 4 October 2015 at the Pretoria Art Museum.
Images and text courtesy of Sasol.
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Book Launch: Acts of Transgression: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa