Joburg invades Venice

Joburg’s Biennale: Art collective The CUSS Group will be among the participants taking part in the unofficial Joburg Biennale at the 56th Venice Biennale

A free-wheeling group of South Africa’s leading artists and patrons are joining forces to launch an independent performance  exhibit alongside the South African Pavillion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

This new Joburg Pavilion is according to the organizers, "in no way a response" to the controversy-riddled SA Pavilion, which is funded by the department of arts and culture to exhibit at what is arguably the world’s most important art fair.

Roelof van Wyk, one of the independent pavilion’s founding members, said the idea was to “show the arts establishment what we Africans are made of”.

The Joburg Pavilion involves 12 performance artists and works by 15 film and video artists, “all exploring what Johannesburg means to them”, Van Wyk said.

Athi-Patra Ruga, Anthea Moys, Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Kudzanai Chiurai and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi are among those taking part.

The 56th Venice Biennale, whose theme is All the World’s Futures, opens on May 9 in the Italian city and runs until November.

Members of the Joburg Pavilion are concerned that the government-sponsored and run exhibition doesn’t showcase the scope of South Africa’s emerging artistic talent.

“Performance art and screen-based art, such as film, video and digital arts, are possibly the least commercial art forms, or most difficult to commoditise, in the South [African] art world, which is dominated by the commerce of wall- and floor-based art,” said Van Wyk.

But he said it was in exhibiting these less commercially successful varieties that a new side of South Africa’s exciting art scene would be given a chance to show their work, " we are looking forward to making a strong and surprising South African impact in Venice during the Biennale with the artists participating in the Johannesburg Pavilion performing in the streets of Venice, while  the artists in the SA Pavilion fly the national flag."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Who do you think is going to win the 2020 US election?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Biden is going to take it
47% - 7785 votes
It's four more years for Trump
53% - 8936 votes
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo