Exhibitions | Conversations In Texture2019-03-21T11:40:30+00:00

Exhibitions

CONVERSATIONS
IN TEXTURE

CURATED BY
KHUMO SEBAMBO

Berman Contemporary
14 March – 6 April 2019

Berman Contemporary is proud to present Conversations in Texture, a group exhibition featuring eight artists, currently practising within South Africa.

Zyma Amien
Bev Butkow
Lizette Chirrime
Sarah Grace
Odette Graskie
Kresiah Mukwazhi
Mark Rautenbach
Lebapalo Tsiki

Introduction to Batik: a workshop with Lebapalo Tsiki at Berman Contemporary on 23 March 2019 from 10h00 – 15h00. Reserve your place by emailing bookings@candiceberman.co.za. Price R350. Children welcome.

Live weaving and talk with artist, Bev Butkow at Berman Contemporary on 30 March 2019 from 11h00-13h00.

Exhibition walkabout with the curator on 6 April 2019 at Berman Contemporary from 11h00-12h00

Exhibitions

CONVERSATIONS
IN TEXTURE

CURATED BY
KHUMO SEBAMBO

Berman Contemporary
14 March – 6 April 2019

Berman Contemporary is proud to present Conversations in Texture, a group exhibition featuring eight artists, currently practising within South Africa.

Zyma Amien
Bev Butkow
Lizette Chirrime
Sarah Grace
Odette Graskie
Kresiah Mukwazhi
Mark Rautenbach
Lebapalo Tsiki

Introduction to Batik: a workshop with Lebapalo Tsiki at Berman Contemporary on 23 March 2019 from 10h00 – 15h00. Reserve your place by emailing bookings@candiceberman.co.za. Price R350. Children welcome.

Live weaving and talk with artist, Bev Butkow at Berman Contemporary on 30 March 2019 from 11h00-13h00.

Exhibition walkabout with the curator on 6 April 2019 at Berman Contemporary from 11h00-12h00

Conversations In Texture | Kresiah Mukwazhi
Conversations In Texture | Zyma Amien
Conversations In Texture | Kresiah Mukwazhi
Conversations In Texture | Zyma Amien
Conversations In Texture | Zyma Amien
Conversations In Texture | Bev Butkow
Conversations In Texture | Zyma Amien
Conversations In Texture | Bev Butkow
Conversations in Texture | Lebapalo Tsiki

Textiles are ubiquitous in character – they provide comfort in our homes and they are the fabric that adorns our bodies. Through the colours, patterns and styles, textiles give away something of our identity and group affiliations. Historically and in the present textiles have had a significant influence on South African and African art practices with recognisable figures such as Mary Sibande, Billie Zangewa and Igshaan Adams counted among artists working in this medium. The exhibition’s title, Conversations in Texture, indicates that the artists use textiles as a common material in their practise to engage one another in conversation about the various connections between textiles and memories.

The artworks are in dialogue, listening to one another and engaging in social commentary, interrogating one another and exchanging ideas. What the artists share is a rich understanding of the historic and social currency of textiles and the ways that they engage in memory. What emerges from the conversations are connecting themes between the artworks – the relationship between textiles to gender, specifically femininity, commercial exploitation and post-colonialism, as well as childhood nostalgia and futurism. In Conversations in Texture, the artists use textiles as the material expression of individual and collective memory and the gallery becomes a space in which collective and individual memories are shared and transferred between artists and audiences.

Zyma Amien’s practise reflects her exploration of family, background and origin. She preserves the collective memory of Cape Town’s textile industry and workers such as the women in her family. For this exhibition Amien presents Inaudible, an installation of three long-organza overalls. The thin translucent organza illustrates how alienated, overlooked and forgotten these women were. Using materials that are commonly used in this industry such as pins, dress patterns and thread, Amien ascribes textiles with a vivid connection to her past. Amien also presents a mixed-media work on paper that incorporates dressmaking patterns, gauze, embroidery and handfuls of sewing pins. The artist likens the techniques and actions required to create this artwork to the repetitive motions that seamstresses perform to complete a garment.

For Conversations in Texture, Odette Graskie has created mixed-media works that experiment with the conceptual and technical method which combines an assortment of pen-drawn faces and embroidery on paper. When looking at the drawings and the perfectly stitched faces within the pen marks, it is apparent that Graskie employs embroidery as a form of drawing. She uses textiles and thread in her practice because of its ability to engage audiences on a tactile, olfactory and optical level. Her other multi-sensory works include interactive installations made of textiles that allow audiences to enter the artwork. She says that textiles are “so much more than just a material, [they] speak to everyone.”

Bev Butkow is similarly interested in technique as it relates to the repetitive interlacing motion required to create her woven sculptures. Butkow is also interested in carefully selecting materials for their cultural significance before weaving them together. She commonly uses materials such as torn dishcloth, string, beads, glitter and pearls – materials chosen for their relationship to domesticity and femininity and memories that the materials evoke. Through her sculptures, Butkow questions the historical stereotyping, objectification and exploitation of women.

Combining soft faux feathers, bright orange wooden beads and welded-mesh commonly used in fencing, Sarah Grace creates mixed-media sculptures that resemble indoor plants. Her works are inspired by nature and the strong emotional hook of childhood nostalgia. If Sarah Grace looks back to childhood memories, then Lizette Chirrime is interested in future memory – a mode of futuristic awareness. Chirrime uses offcuts of Shweshwe and Dutch wax print and other fabrics to create abstract patchwork patterns and in so doing, “stitch together [her] new reality”. She likens the method of stitching pieces of fabric together to stitching herself up and re-fashioning her self-image after her personal traumas from the past.

Kresiah Mukwazhi also incorporates the patchwork technique in her practise together with other techniques such as painting, tie-dye and printmaking. Mukwazhi’s work titled The Grinch, paints the tale of a stolen treasure and speaks to the Zimbabwe of both past and present. The mixed-media painting addresses her current frustrations of living and working in the country characterised by political and economic unrest. Her second work Nokuti kuchamuka zvitendero zvenhema (For there shall rise cults of deception) was inspired by the rape and human trafficking trial of Timothy Omotoso, a Nigerian pastor based in South Africa. The elderly-women congregants of his church were accessories to the pastor’s crimes and so Mukwazhi questions the role of feminism in the church. Her use of sequins, women’s undergarments and old handbags echoes her attempt at creating conversation about women’s radical resistance to patriarchy.

Shamiela and the Forty Thieves by Mark Rautenbach uses materials that are paradoxical to the idea of the treasures found in Mukwazhi’s. He uses materials that are regarded as dispensable, such as discarded and used clothing, paper detritus and other materials which cannot be reused. Rautenbach takes these seemingly banal domestic materials and binds them together to create new works and themes of cycling and recycling appear in his sculpture. The textiles retain their past form through repurposing and remaking.

It would be remiss to exhibit textiles works without considering the implications on fashion. Cape Town-based artist Lebapalo Tsiki takes textiles “out of fashion” and creates three-billowing cloaks that subvert the idea that the human wears the garment. Instead, Tsiki translates the concept of fashion so that the garment wears the human. The installation titled Cloaking Identity comprises three cloaks each dyed and decorated in pink, yellow and green Batik. Tsiki uses the Batik method in her practise, a fabric dying technique she  learned after visiting Baobab Batik, a social enterprise based in Swaziland that supports women in the area. In Tsiki’s work, fabric, fashion and the living body become sculpture.

Khumo Sebambo, Johannesburg 8 March 2019