About Alex Trapani | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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About The Artist

Artist Photo

Artist Statement

I live and work in Johannesburg, South Africa. My art making reflects my position in society and, specifically, the art establishment.

Thinking influences behaviour. Since I believe that art is a way of being, my praxis embodies a critical investigation of mundane human behaviour. As a result, I embody a subversive temperament which results in a record of absurd yet familiar activity.

As Bruce Nauman in the 1960s commented on Duchamp’s Fountain (1917), so I comment on Nauman’s fountains. More specifically, I comment on the mind-set of a productive and sustainable system, which the fountain represents. The fountain is without consciousness. When I, as a conscious being, behave as a fountain, I comment on this 'non-conscious' state and subvert a rational existence.

I interrogate the artist’s worth as mediated by precarious recognition, but, paradoxically, my engagements mirror my personal aspirations to make sense of my own being as an artist. Like a fountain, this pursuit continues cyclically. As Sisyphus finds his purpose in incessant duty, the artist responds perpetually, but non-sensically, to an over-rationalised world.

In order to be a true artist I strive to be an absurd fountain.

Under the artist's direction all photographs and videos were shot by Mark Fegen and all video edits were done by Daandrey Steyn.

Artist CV

Born 1972


  • Masters in Visual Arts (with distinction) (2017), University of South Africa

  • Title of dissertation: Bruce Nauman: A True Artist is an Absurd Fountain
  • 1998: Reel Creative Pictures, Course: Film making
  • 1995 – 1996: National Higher Diploma Fine Art, Technikon Witwatersrand (now University of Johannesburg), Completed with Distinction
  • 1992 - 1994: National Diploma Fine Art, Technikon Witwatersrand (now University of Johannesburg), Completed with Distinction
  • 1991: Matriculated, JHB A.B.D.M. School (National School of Art) Distinctions: Painting, Sculpture

Research Papers

  • 2016: In Progress: Bruce Nauman: A True Artist is an Absurd Fountain (Dissertation)
  • 2014: Research Paper and Presentation: Istanbul, Turkey, at CONTEMPART’14 – Contemporary Arts and Art Theory Conference: 'A Playful Subversion: Reinterpreting Bruce Nauman'
  • 1995: Research Paper and presentation: 'Fact or Truth: Seeing past the obvious as opposed to seeing is believing'
  • 1994: Research Paper and presentation: 'Earth Art/Robert Smithson'
  • 1993: Research Paper: 'Guy du Toit'

Professional Experience

  • 2018 - present: St Peters College, Johannesburg, HOD Creative Arts
  • 2015 - present: Artist, Creative Consultant
  • 2012 – 2015: Creative Development Lecturer (1st and 2nd year), Vega, School of Brand Leadership
  • 2003 - 2012: Visual Arts Subject Head and Teacher (Gr. 8-12), The King’s School, Robin Hills
  • 2006 - 2007: Part-time Lecturer (1st and 2nd year Multi-Media Design), Damelin
  • 2003 & 2002: Part-time Lecturer (1st, 2nd and 3rd year Visual Studies), LISOF
  • 2002: Part-time Lecturer (3rd year Installation Art), University of Pretoria
  • 2002: Part-time Lecturer (1st year Volume Design), Technikon Witwatersrand (now UJ)
  • 2001: Part-time Lecturer (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year Sculpture), University of Pretoria
  • 2000 - 2001: C-Kruis Ministries
  • 1998 - 1999: Teacher, Art, Design & Sculpture (Gr 9 to Gr 12), Damelin High School
  • 1998: Reel Creative Pictures
  • 1997: Teacher (N2 & N3 Drawing, 2D Design & 3D Design), East Side College
  • 1997: Industrial and Commercial Design, Sculpture, Four Heads Design
  • 1995 - 1996: Part-time Lecturer (1st year Volume Design, Figure Drawing & Sculpture), Technikon Witwatersrand (now UJ)


  • 2014 - 2015: NAFSA Full Bursary for Masters in Visual Arts (awarded in accordance with UNISA Post Grad requirements through NSFAS)
  • 1998: Awarded a Fellowship by the Ampersand Foundation: Three months in New York
  • 1997: Kempton Park Competition: 2 Works Selected as 2 of the Top 100 works
  • 1996: Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement (82% Academic average), Technikon Witwatersrand National Higher Diploma
  • 1993 Best Student in Art of Drawing II
  • 1994 Best Student in Sculpture III

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2016: Solo Exhibiting Artist: neither art nor art (MVA Exhibition) – UNISA art Gallery (Pretoria)
  • 2005: PREtension. Celebration of Hypocrisy – The Premises Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 2005: Co/Con. Prefix to Perfection – Gordart Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 1996: Back to Back: A Two Part Focus – Generator Art Space (Johannesburg)

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2013: Exhibiting Artist: The Seven Deadly Virtues – KKNK (Oudtshoorn)
  • 2011: Head Curator/Exhibiting Artist: Exquisite Corpse, The Happening - Old Parks Sports Grounds (Johannesburg)
  • 2008: Exhibiting Artist: AfroVibes – Galerie Chiellerie (Amsterdam)
  • 2008: Exhibiting Artist: Heptad – ArtSpace Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 2007: Exhibiting Artist: Rendezvous – Gordart Initiative (Johannesburg)
  • 2004: Exhibiting Artist: The Record Show – Gordart Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 2003: Exhibiting Artist: Grime – KKNK (Oudtshoorn)
  • 2003: Collaborative Artist: (out of) Community of Property – The Art Space (Johannesburg) [with Jennifer Lovemore- Reed, James Reed and Antoinette Murdoch]
  • 2003: Exhibiting Artist: Pure/Pop – Merely Mortal (Johannesburg) [with Antoinette Murdoch]
  • 2003: Exhibiting Artist: The Ampersand Foundation – Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Gallery (Johannesburg) [with: Willem Boshoff, Wim Botha, Retha Erasmus, Antoinette Murdoch, Ian Waldeck, Usha Siejarem, Abrie Fourie, Marlene Tosoni, Guilio Tamberlini, Sonja Strafella, Gordon Froud, Diane Victor, Stephen Cohen, Norman Cathrine, Kim Lieberman, David Paton, and others]
  • 2003: Exhibiting Artist: Christmas Exhibition – Gordart Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 2002: Exhibiting Artist: Grime – Bell-Roberts Gallery (Cape Town)
  • 2002: Contributor: Art Auction (Proceeds to the Friends of the Gallery) – Johannesburg Art Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 2002: Exhibiting Artist: Christmas Show – Merely Mortal (Johannesburg) [with Antoinette Murdoch]
  • 2000: Collaborative Artist: After New York – Civic Gallery (Johannesburg) [Fellows of the Ampersand Foundation]
  • 1999: Exhibiting Artist: Renaicide/Mortenaissance – Millennium Gallery (Pretoria) [with Wim Botha, Stephan Erasmus, M J Lourens, Antoinette Murdoch, Ilse Pahl, Konrad Schoeman, Kathryn Smith, Jacques van der Merwe]
  • 1999: Exhibiting Artist: Babel Tower – JHB Civic Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 1998: Exhibiting Artist: Tongue in Cheek – JHB Civic Gallery (Johannesburg) [with Stephan Erasmus, Valisha Gwintsa,Victor Makubalo, Farrel Ngilima, Konrad Schoeman]
  • 1998: Exhibiting Artist: Mutual Pasts – National School of Arts Gallery (Johannesburg) [with Brad Hammond, Elizabeth Litton, Nicole McDonald, Dale Newton, Chris Watson]
  • 1998: Exhibiting Artist: Buttons – JHB Civic Gallery (Johannesburg) [Curated by Gordon Froud]
  • 1998: Exhibiting Artist: 4 Rooms – JHB Civic Gallery (Johannesburg) [with Henti van der Merwe, Carla Dawson, Antoinette Murdoch, Steven Hall, Inayet Motara]
  • 1997: Exhibiting Artist: No. 4 – Constitution Hill (Hillbrow, Johannesburg)
  • 1997 Exhibiting Artist: Baggage – Mega Music Warehouse (Johannesburg)
  • 1997: Kempton Park Competition: 2 works Selected as 2 of the Top 100 Works
  • 1996: Exhibiting Artist: Four Young Artists – Newtown Galleries Johannesburg) [with. Brendan Dickerson, James Reed, Hentie van der Merwe]
  • 1995: New Signatures Competition: Pretoria Art Museum [1 Work selected for show]
  • 1995: Exhibiting Artist: Body Politics Johannesburg Biennale – Gertrude Posel Gallery (Wits University, Johannesburg)
  • 1994: Exhibiting Artist: Wits Tech Student Exhibition – Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery (Johannesburg)
  • 1993: Exhibiting Artist: Wits Tech Student Exhibition – Market Theatre Gallery (Johannesburg)

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