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Re-sampled exhibition: Old meets new

by Marilyn de Freitas posted on November 14, 2012.

The Absa Gallery in Johannesburg hosts a new exhibition titled Re-Sampled that juxtaposes renowned historic artworks within their art collection against the modern interpretations conceptualized by promising young artists. The exhibition features 18 selected historic artworks, dating from the early and mid-1900s alongside modern interpretations of each piece, created by a group of 19 artists selected from the Absa L’Atelier top 10 winners from 2000 to present.

Lila Philiswa, Settle for less (inspired by Eli Kobeli’s Township)

The historic works are reinterpreted to re-investigate the observations and concerns of the original artists that are still relevant in today’s society. Old and new are exhibited side-by-side giving the audience the opportunity to compare and juxtapose the historical with the contemporary work, creating a conversation between the old and new artists as well as the audience and the artists. Paul Bayliss, Absa Gallery curator, explained that the young artists were selected on a basis of ability to interpret complex and controversial ideas represented by the masters as well as a aligning technical skill.

Collen_Maswanganyi, We want your surname only Maria (inspired by Anton van Wouw’s Noointjie)

Collen Maswanganyi uses the ideal representation of the 'ideal' woman referencing Anton van Wouw's Nooitjie van die Onderveld Transvaal by carving seven women who represent different ideas of the ideal women in contemporary culture. Lila Philiswa kept to Eli Kobeli's characteristic figures, colours and mood but referenced the present contemporary culture such as the brand conscious teenagers surrounded by the undesirable environment of crime and apathy present in the townships today.

Jaco van Schalkwyk, Ons het die Land liefgehad: gebaseer op ’n landskap deur WH Coetzer (inspired by WH Coetzer’s Landscape)

Landscape by WH Coetzer (1962) reflects the South African colonial, sociopolitical and philosophical principles of the period depicting idealized landscapes and depersonalized figures. The modern interpretation Ons het die Land liefgehad: gebaseer op 'n landskap deur WH Coetzer by Jaco van Schalkwyk shows his own personal landscape, relationships and beliefs present in society today through urbanization and contemporary culture. Bettie Cilliers-Barnard's Abstraction is represented by Lothar Böttcher through a glass installation sculpture consisting of a centerpiece with a blown, cut and polished glass lens surrounded by a bright yellow neon spiral. Böttcher's Proximity references our quest for knowledge and how our perception has changed through discovery.

Betty Cilliers-Barnard, Abstraction (left) and Lothar Böttcher, Proximity (right)

The idea of re-sampling or appropriation comes from the post modern ideas of borrowing incorporating various elements and ideas to create various new meanings. The exercise of meticulously copying the work of old masters derives from the Baroque era but within today’s contemporary art scene is a dying art. This exhibition will attempt to put the philosophical ideals and principles forward from historic artworks in the Absa collection, with in a contemporary reading of the works within South African history, adds Bayliss. The exhibition runs from 12 November 2012 to 24 January 2013 at the Absa Art Gallery.

Images courtesy of Absa Gallery


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