.In warm water. On Being. A Womxn. Show

Art portfolio- my work

In warm water, cotton thread, doillies and rubber 2017 (photographed by Kleinjan Groenewald)

Did you know that a female octopus is known as a hen? – (source: internet)

“In the octopus world, females are boss. They are often larger than males and can pose quite a threat. The male is in a troublesome position because he wants to pass on his genes by mating with a female, but females can turn on their partner quick, strangling him and bringing his carcass back to her den as a meal.” (source: http://www.study.com)

In warm water = to be in or get into a difficult situation in which you are in danger of being criticized or punished

 “Prioritizing their motherly duties, females stop eating. But she doesn’t starve to death–rather,when the eggs hatch the female’s body turns on her. Her body undertakes a cascade of cellular suicide, starting from the optic glands and rippling outward through her tissues and organs until she dies”. (source: http://www.smithsonianmag.com

“The scientific jury is still out as to why these clever, resourceful creatures meet such an ignominious end, but there are several theories. Octopuses are serious cannibals, so a biologically programmed death spiral may be a way to keep mothers from eating their young.” (Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com)

on being a woman in the arts, on being a woman in South Africa, on being a woman in this world.

ON BEING is a group show featuring some of South Africa’s finest contemporary artists working in a range of mediums: painting, sculpture, drawing, ceramic and mixed media.

Does one celebrate women’s day in South Africa whilst we are facing a national crisis in gender-based violence? Is it tokenism to celebrate women for one day (or a month)? We asked these questions in discussions for this show. Women artists have and continue to hold their own in our space year-round. However, any opportunity to highlight women- we will take. The title of the show aims to speak to the lived experience of women in this country; it calls for celebration and mourning, as being a woman in South Africa means both. 

This exhibition features works not specifically made for a women’s exhibition, but have been selected by the curators as to offer an insight into the interior world of being a woman and to celebrate our artists by highlighting their work. 

We remember the 20 000+ women who marched on the streets in 1956. We pay tribute to them for their courage and strength. We pay tribute to all our women artists. We look to the future, knowing that there is still much to do.”  EVERARD READ FRANSCHOEK GALLERY PRESS RELEASE

The group Exhibition: “ON BEING/A WOMXN’S show” at Everard Read Franschoek openend yesterday and will run until the 7th of September 2020. Please visit their website for more information.

Princess in the Veld

Studio news/blog

As promised…here’s more info about this fantastic group show curated by Adele Adendorff.  Feeling very excited, blessed and thankful that my work is included in this show amongst wonderful fellow female South African artists.

The Princess in the Veld showcases a selection of sculpture works produced by local, contemporary female artists and contemplates the position of women in our current South African dispensation and forms part of the 2015 KKNK arts festival in Oudtshoorn. The exhibition hosts works by Frances Goodman, Doreen Southwood, Reshma Chhiba, Wilma Cruise, Karin Lijnes, Hannalie Taute and Larita Engelbrecht. Despite South Africa’s democratically premised constitution and the passing of numerous revised bills advocating the rights of women, female emancipation remains unrealised: Highlighted by high crime statistics of rape and domestic violence and prejudice against women in the workplace and society at large. Although a far more proactive approach is needed in order to enact real change for women in South Africa, this exhibition aspires to raise awareness of, and stimulate discussion around, the plight of women.

The ‘princess’, as part of the title, is employed as a thoroughly fabled, and somehow condescending, designation for women and underscores the relation between female identity and (gendered) space. The South African social landscape, still dominated by parochial views of women, is viewed as a space riddled with fallacies regarding femininity – a condition that merely serves to perpetuate the oppression of women. As an illustration of these literal and metaphoric spaces evident in society, fairy tales (narratives based on idealised and stereotypical notions of women) are utilised within the context of The princess in the veld as a curatorial slant to mirror these defunct views and abusive practices towards South African women. Fairy tales generally position female protagonists as extensions of particular (gendered) spaces within the narrative – private spaces, the domestic realm and nature) – spaces that are often shaped by (and upheld by) traditional roles assigned to women.

Despite the signs of prejudice scripted within the pages of these tales, alternative readings could, adversely, offer opportunity for transformation: The conventional fairy tale plot leads the heroine (usually spurred on by curiosity or emotion) into unfamiliar (and often forbidden) territory – a space generally designated by the forest, or in the case of indigenous tales, the veld. The word ‘veld’, as part of the title of the exhibition, suggests uncultivated, leveled grasslands associated with the South African landscape, in particular, the Karoo. The curated space therefore acts as a metaphor for the veld, wherein positive accounts of heterogeneous and transformative female identity could be shaped, illuminated by the selection of artworks, expressive of an empowered sense of femininity. As part of a kind of ‘corrective’ curatorial approach and the desire to reconceptualise female identity, the veld is conceived of as a space that engenders freedom from the constraints persistent in society, and serves to revise perceptions regarding female identity. The fairy tale is then employed as a curatorial mechanism that, on the one hand, emphasises the pervasiveness of conventional and essentialised notions of femininity and, on the other, promotes the emancipation of women that exist within the interstices these binaries yield. The bodies of work of the artists selected for this ensemble allude to the underlying notions prevalent in fairy tales of European and African origin in order to align with the premise of the show. words by Adele Adendorff as well as images below.

The world at her fingertip

Art portfolio- my work

I am pleased to announce that this work is currently on show at the KKNK (Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, in Oudtshoorn (South Africa) until the 11th of April.  It is part of a fantastic group exhibition called “Princess in the Veld”, curated by Adele Adendorff.

I will post more about this specific group exhibition as soon as I can but in the mean time you can look at all the work and read more about each of the artists  here

The world at her fingertip 2015 (cotton thread, rubber/inner tube/ batting and wood. (photo courtesey of Adele Adendorff

The world at her fingertip 2015 (cotton thread, rubber/inner tube/ batting and wood. (photo credit: Adele Adendorff

From the curator’s pen:

Opting for rubber tyres and coloured cotton thread, Hannalie Taute’s engaging artworks weave a feminine narrative that re-stages parochial views and prevailing stereotypes of local women through her careful selection of medium, content and treatment. Taute’s practice is largely inscribed by a feminist agenda which aims to break down essentialised notions of female identity and offers, instead, an alternative view of the roles women play in culture and society with particular reference to the South African milieu. Drawing her inspiration from cultural myths, fairy tales and social constructs that often frame women as demure, subservient, fragile beings, Taute’s pieces aim to dismantle delimiting notions of femininity through the use of irony and pun. Similarly, the format of Taute’s artworks also negotiate the traditional boundaries imposed between so-called high art and craft which furthermore conflates Western and non-Western notions of art.

Taute’s incessant search for the regeneration and review of the female self is not merely explored thematically but also underscored, conceptually, through her unique selection of materials. The artist makes use of harsh, masculine associations evoked by the rubber tyres. This, juxtaposed alongside the labour-intensive and elaborate stitching of imagery and text, questions traditional associations of the domestic realm and so-called ‘women’s work’. The employment of the craft of embroidery, evident in The world at her fingertip (2015), situates Taute’s interpretation of female selves as simultaneously alluding to and resisting traditional notions of femininity. The artist’s often tongue-in-cheek approach subverts traditional notions of femininity and, instead, yields an interpretation of female identity that is liminal, empowered and engaging.

detail of work (The world at her fingertip)

detail of work (The world at her fingertip)

So if you are in the Oudthsoorn area, you are welcome to go and have a look.  The exhibition is at the Prince Vincent building in Baron van Rheede street, Oudtshoorn.


(B.Y.O.I.D) Bring your own identity

Art portfolio- my work, Studio news/blog

(B.Y.O.I.D) Bring your own identity – The emergence of individualization is a group show which opens today at Knysna Fine Art.  This is what the gallery has to say about this exhibition:

(BYOID) – Bring your own identity

The emergence of individualization

Society’s changing lifestyle and attitude trends affect the aesthetics in which and with which we surround ourselves every day. Recent research both locally and internationally shows that one of the central trends today in society is “Style Nomadism” (or “Fashion Nomadism”) and globalisation has only increased the need for individuals to redefine themselves.

Viewers express themselves by interpreting art, choosing to acquire it and creating themselves in the process. Searching for shorter text and deeper images means they give themselves credit for their own intelligence. Thus (BYOID) hangs on not just what your work reveals about yourself but equally the fulfilment the viewer experiences in its presence.

These following works will be on exhibition:

"In the days when Bertha spun) golden thread, cotton thread, oil paint, rubber 2015

“In the days when Bertha spun) golden thread, cotton thread, oil paint, rubber 2015 (detail)

Bertha is not my name, but I like her story.

The title of this work: “In the days when Bertha spun” is inspired by the mythical figure Bertha who was renowned for her spinning and regarded as the special patroness of female industry. She has many different names in various regions, but is mostly known as the mythical mother of Charlemagne.  In France and Germany it is still custom to say: “In the days when Bertha spun” when speaking of the Golden Age.

"A thread" textile, found objects, thread, rubber 2014

“A thread” textile, found objects, thread, rubber 2014

“The most miserable and dangerous among us are those who try to be what they are not” Jeanette Winterson.

For those who can’t be at the opening…here is a link to the digital catalogue: https://www.yumpu.com/en/embed/view/9kwyEEL7sGVzIQIh


For those in the Knysna area today please:

Join us for

champagne    &     shooters

at the opening of this exhibition of recent
paintings, sculpture, photography & ceramics
by some of South Africa’s finest artists.

 Date: Thursday 26 February 2015
Time: 5:30 pm

Before Rubber Ever After

Art portfolio- my work

Talking about collecting (see previous post) made me think about collectors.  I feel blessed, fortunate and delighted to still have contact with a collector whom I met at my first ever gallery show in 2003.  He made this beautiful gesture to write a letter on facebook after the “Rubber ever after show at the KKNK:

What Came Before “Rubber Ever After” : Who is Hannalie Tauté?

photo by Stephan Erasmus

photo by Stephan Erasmus

For the past year I have been writing principally about Estonian artists with a nod here and there elsewhere. I was not even in Estonia for half of the past 12 months but again and again my interest was piqued by what I have experienced here in museums and galleries. I have also been been buying Estonian art over the past few years.

I had previously collected contemporary South African art, all of which remains in my abandoned South African home in the Klein Karoo region of South Africa. I was not shy about talking about art; I just didn’t write about art and artists, except in passing.

The one South African artist that I would have written about was Hannalie Tauté.

I was fortunate to be at her very first commercial group showing, (“Siembamba the toys are us” “, Knysna Fine Art 2003) and at its opening I promptly bought up a wall of Polaroid artefacts that the then 26 year old had created, each one bearing a homily to the role of little girls. We’ve been friends ever since!

I have continued to add works by her. Some quite large scale, others in between such as a group of fragile plaster dolls, almost voodoo in nature that I eagerly hung from a prominent beam in my house to ward off would be housebreakers. I was also able to attend her first major solo show at the prestigious KKNK festival in Oudtshoorn, South Africa in 2008.

"Skip the pattern"

“Skip the pattern”

Hannalie may look positively metropolitan but she has always led a very normal, down to earth existence as a boerevrou, though without the farm. Her drop dead gorgeous husband, Hendrik Carsten is a diesel mechanic, having to travel over the western Cape to earn sustenance for his growing family. He and Hannalie are the parents of 2 young boys and Hannalie feels strongly that mothers should stay at home for a child’s first 5 years, until they start school.

Yet Hannalie has never shied away from addressing feminist issues in her art. And it is her very good fortune to have found a partner who respects her art and herself as a person, not common traits in provincial South African society.

As a person I find Hannalie quintessentially South African, fiercely proud of her heritage. Resolute. As an artist, she has remarkably always been of the world, even though she has been confined to a very small geographical area, even within a South African context, with infrequent forays to Cape Town and Johannesburg. If she were not so pleasant a person, I might describe her as a bête noire. Her art provokes effortlessly.

I have thus followed her peripatetic moves in the western Cape, much I have myself moved during the early years of this century. She has lived in the communities of Prince Albert, George, Oudtshoorn and now Still Baai, all due to financial necessity, never achieving a financial breakthrough with her art despite consistently picking up admirers along the way.

Until now.

Her 3rd show under the KKNK auspices, 2008, 2011 and now this year in 2014, “Rubber Ever After” was a bona fide hit with Hannalie all but selling out her show and receiving a nomination for and still in the running for the preeminent Kanna visual art prize. The following digital calling card from 2013 gives a more rounded approach of Hannalie’s recent exhibited work.

It is not surprising to see Hannalie making a virtue out of necessity using recycled rubber from inner tubes as a backdrop for her mixed media works. She probably has quasi secret sources for the yarn she uses for her telling embroidery.

The next, long overdue, step for Hannalie Tauté is to receive international recognition. She’s been ready for a good 10 years.

Written by Robert von Anzen 2014

Wow! Thank you Robert!