JAG comes alive with an impressive exhibition of prints: ‘Coming of Age 21 Years of Artist Proof Studio’

Coming of Age opens at the Johannesburg Art Gallery

I haven’t been to an exhibition at the Joburg Art Gallery for ages –  somehow JAG’s PR doesn’t market its events successfully (suffering from the City Council’s budgetary woes?).  So to go to the opening event on Sunday 6th May and see the Gallery literally bursting at the seams with both people and images, was a complete joy!  Oh that it was like this for every exhibition and event.

Kentridge delivers opening talk

Kentridge’s lecture was almost certainly what drew many of the visitors through the Gallery’s doors and as always he did not disappoint.   He consistently presents acute and thought- provoking insights and makes highly original connections in an accessible and fascinating way.   The south entrance hall of the Gallery was jammed to capacity with nowhere near enough space – both seating and standing space was full with many disappointed people having to leave as they could not get into the building  at all and so could not hear anything of the proceedings.   After William’s talk visitors moved into the courtyard where Sibongile Khumalo officially opened the exhibition.

Coming of  Age  retrospective exhibition of Artist Proof Studio

Artist Proof Studio was started by Kim Berman and Nhlanhla Xaba in 199). This exhibition includes many works by now famous South African artists.  With many sub-sections put together by different curators, the exhibition is overwhelming to take in on one visit – and that is certainly no complaint!  So be prepared to go back twice and more.

Demonstrations of printing processes

Printing demonstrations are really helpful
Printing demonstrations are really helpful Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse
Life returns to JAG
Life returns to JAG Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

Also the printing processes are many, varied and complex and it really helps to see the actual processes before going round the exhibition.   So before starting to view the works, my advice would be to make your way down to the basement level and turn left (ie to the eastern part of the building) where,  in the far corner, you will find artists from the Studio demonstrating  the various printing techniques.  For a non-printmaker to begin to internalize the complexities of the processes before confronting the works is really valuable.  And once one has only the most superficial of insight and understanding into the consummate skill of these artists, the images inspire even greater awe.   It is a real gem of an exhibition NOT to be missed. With another two months to go make sure you leave time to go back 2 or 3 times.   The exhibition runs until the 6th July. You are in for a treat – enjoy. I certainly will be going back.







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