Apr 3 – May 16, 2020
Everard Read presents
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
Everard Read London brings together a diverse group of 10 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 premise seems all but impossible. We are in an age of ever more production and consumption, relentless communication and sensory overload. With the pressure to capture the essence of everything in a soundbite, tweet or image post, our sensory experience may be duller than ever. But Sontag is right to say that this urge to interpret can detract from and diminish 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 allow ourselves to experience the “luminousness” of the objects in front of us. And while the genesis of an artwork, where and why it originated as well as the context in which we view it, is important, we can nevertheless resist the urge to try and decode its meaning, or neatly catalogue it within the #MeToo movement, or make glib assumptions regarding what it says about race or identity or gender politics. In essence, to be aware of the reductive power that interpretation can bring to bear before we've given ourselves the opportunity of really looking, feeling and hearing.