Jozi’s cultural scene is packed with wondrous offerings this week

Matisse at the Standard Bank Gallery

07 10 July Turbine Art Fair
Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse Picks of the week: Turbine Art Fair; Matisse at Standard Bank Gallery; Wits 969 Festival from Grahamstown Festival

Jozi’s cultural calendar is very full this week with lots of amazing events to choose from.  Apart from all the exhibitions which are on: see last week’s blog, the long-awaited Matisse exhibition ‘Rhythm and Meaning’ opens at the Standard Bank on Wednesday 13th.

Sure to be a block buster (the 2007 Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern in London attracted 500,000 visitors), this is Standard Bank’s 4th international modernist exhibition – the others showed the works of Chagall, Miró, and Picasso along with some of his contemporaries.   Matisse is co-curated by Patrice Deparpe, director of the Musée Matisse in Le Chateau Cambrésis, Matisse’s home town in northern France, and Federico Freschi, executive dean of the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.  

Matisse: from painting with brush to ‘painting with scissors’ 

Woman with Hat 1905 Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
Woman with Hat 1905 Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco

I remember being fascinated as a third year History of art student by Prof Rory Doepel’s visual analysis of Matisse’s great slabs of dissonant colour and ‘wild’ jagged brushwork in his Woman with a Hat from 1905, painted during his Fauve period. I also loved the bold compositions and lyricism of his abstracted dancing figures which prefigured the planar simplicity and brightly saturated colours of many of his later cut-out collages, a technique he developed after 1941 when, following surgery, he was confined to a wheelchair. He called this new direction ‘painting with scissors’.

His assistants would paint large sheets of white paper in very bright gouache, he would then cut out shapes and abstracted images and would arrange them on the wall of his work space until he was satisfied with the final composition. 

Jazz, the full series: the core of this exhibition

Cover of Jazz
Cover of Jazz
Programme of Matisse walkabouts
Programme of Matisse walkabouts

In 1943 he began to work on Jazz, a book with twenty colour plates of his cut-out collage designs interspersed with his written thoughts. Jazz was published in 1947. Its main theme was the circus, with clowns acrobats and animals. There are also however, references to wartime violence in the images of exploding stars and falling bodies.

Most of the works come from the Musée Matisse and while the works on show cover his entire oeuvre, the core is the complete set of Jazz Prints. There will be several lunchtime walkabouts by Wilhelm Van Rensburg.

The show runs until 17th September.

Turbine Art Fair

Turbine Hall
Turbine Hall Liz at Lancaster Guesthouse

As if this is all not too much excitement and activity for art lovers, there is the Turbine Art Fair from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th  (preview on Thursday).  Not only is the Turbine Hall an amazing venue (wonderful adaptive re-use of industrial heritage), but there is always good food provided by the Forum Company, and all the local galleries have stalls so there is a wide range of work to see. Plus there are some interesting talks accompanying the fair including the Matisse curators talking about the exhibition at 1.30-2.30 on Saturday, and at 11 -12 on Sunday, Warren Siebrits will talk about the Battiss exhibition at WAM which he curated.  More

969 Festival at Wits

And then for those who couldn’t make the 969 km trek down to Grahamstown, hot from the Festival is Gauteng’s local 969 festival at the Wits Theatre, featuring 21 theatre, dance and music productions from both the main and the fringe stages.  pay back the curryIt seems Daniel Mpilo Richards is a hit in Mike Van Graan’s new satire which depicts ‘a variety of characters (and caricatures) that comment on all things contemporary, from fees and falls, through sparrows and statues to Zuptas and zombies!’  Tony Jackman’s review of 3 Festival plays (Daily Maverick 8 July) says of  van Graan’s Pay back the curry:

Curry’ is soooo, soooo funny. And this kid [Daniel Mpilo Richards] can act. He can do anything. I cried with laughter as he flipped and flopped in and out of a slew of characters and accents; now he’s a white boytjie, now he’s a black dude, now he’s an aunty, now he’s a kugel, now he’s a singer auditioning for Idols (and yes he can sing too). He is ace at physical theatre, and for something like an hour he blasted his way through an avalanche of lines from Van Graan’s wittily acerbic pen with barely a pause for breath’.

In Unveiled Gulshan Mia plays 5 different Muslim women in a play which deals with Islamophobia.  And Heart’s Hotel looks to be a very interesting production with a stage set of brown paper and some characters played by puppets : ‘A story of displacement, desire and a deadly scorpion. Heart’s Hotel features shadow puppetry and two of the country’s finest physical theatre performers, it  is bleak, comic, and visually thrilling’. It seems there is only one performance however at 13.15 on Friday 22nd July.

See Full  programme

Definitely too many things to do and see and too little time.



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