Against Interpretation - 10 Artists
Apr 3 – May 16, 2020
Everard Read presents
AGAINST INTERPRETATION - 10 ARTISTS
3 April - 16 May 2020
SANELL AGGENBACH | BONITA ALICE | EMALIE BINGHAM | WILMA CRUISE | CLAUDE JAMMET | KILMANY JO LIVERSAGE | TURIYA MAGADLELA | LUCINDA MUDGE | TANYA POOLE | LADY SKOLLIE
Against Interpretation brings together a diverse group of artists, from a range of backgrounds, geographies, ages and ethnicities, living and working in South Africa or its diaspora today.
The exhibition takes its title from the essay by Susan Sontag written in 1964. In it, Sontag’s argues that by “reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art.” She exhorts us to pay more attention to “form in art” – to the appearance of a work of art, and to “experiencing the luminousness of the thing in itself”.
More than half a century on, Sontag’s writings seem acutely relevant. In an age of ever more production and consumption, relentless communication, sensory overload and the pressure to capture the essence of everything in a soundbite, tweet or image post, our sensory experience may be duller than ever. Sontag is right to say that this detracts from and diminishes a work of art. Its power lies in how a work of art makes us feel; what emotions, images and ideas it evokes for us; what effect it has on “our nervous system”.
It is the exhibition’s hope that we try to experience the “luminousness” of the objects in front of us and resist the urge to decode their meaning, or neatly catalogue them within the #metoo movement, or make assumptions regarding what they say about race or identity or gender politics. In essence, to avoid interpretation which, inevitably, is reductive and gets in the way of really looking, feeling and hearing.