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In Artists’ books exhibition, More Than A Page, is on at the Collective in Morningside. The exhibition features the results of a work-shop hosted by Cheryl Penn and VANSA (Visual Arts Network South Africa).
Some of the participating artists include Sarojini Muller, Andrew Swanepoel, Witty Nyide, Minenhle Hlatshwayo, Susie Blanckenberg and Anita Dlamini, to name a few.
According to Penn, artists’ books as a genre are not easily accommodated in public spaces: “The works on show represent intense labour, which is not as easily accessible as two-dimensional works, such as paintings and drawings.
“Somehow, a 2m by 2m painting can have far more impact than a small book, which may have taken even longer to produce. What is interesting is that different mediums can be accommodated in an artists’ book.
“Traditionally books are about sequential narrative. These works are about ideas and the transcript of those into folios, and the folios into books – unique books.”
Swanepoel has documented a performance narrative in his book. “I have huge admiration for performance artists, specifically feminist artists,” he says. “This fascination with their work and processes has led me to explore performance in my own work.
“I think with performance art, more so than in any other art form, the process of creation is as important as the finished product. The viewer is also actively involved in the creation of the artwork. My performance piece Gaze (2012) was performed at the artSPACE Gallery last year. As the artist (Swany), I exposed myself to the gaze that feminist performance artists and women in general are exposed to. I felt the artist’s book would be a fitting way to create a record of this.”
There was also a workshop where the participants made different books: an “Accordion-bound book” and a “Pamphlet Stitch book”. Muller explains: “We were taught to make two types of books, a “normal” hand-bound book and a concertinatype book. With the one book, I included work that I have done from life-drawing sessions.
“I draw with a group of artists that meet weekly at the Westville Library. We draw from real-life models. I chose work that tied in with words of inspiration from great/well-known artists. The second book is work that I did especially for the exhibition. It contains images done in mixed media of the birds and creatures in my garden as well as of the plants and flowers.”
So why should art lovers attend this exhibition? According to Swanepoel, you will get a chance to see art in a form most people have not encountered before. “Also, because of the number of artists exhibiting and fact that they come from varied disciplines, such as printmaking, portrait painting, embroidery or performance art, this will allow for interesting and different pieces.
• The exhibition runs until Saturday at the Collective, 48b Florida Rd, (entrance in 4th Avenue), Morningside. Call 031 303 4891