Anton Kannemeyer: Such, Such Were The Joy
SUCH, SUCH WERE THE JOY is Anton Kannemeyer’s fourth solo exhibition at STEVENSON Gallery. The exhibition openened to the public on April 10 and runs till May 24, 2014.
As South Africa moves into its 20th year of democracy, Kannemeyer continues to explode the idea of the ‘rainbow nation’ through the incisive satire with which he first eviscerated apartheid’s officials and bureaucrats. Exhibiting new works in his ongoing Alphabet of Democracy series, Kannemeyer observes that the criticisms are increasingly directed towards an inept government which is fixated on the past because it is ‘the only noble aspect of its existence left’ (The New Yorker, 16 December 2013).
The debates around the trauma and legacies of colonialism in Africa are another thread in Kannemeyer’s imagery, as in his book Pappa in Afrika (2010). He is currently working on a companion volume, Mamma in Afrika, and many of these new paintings and drawings will be included in the exhibition. These are often in the genre of extreme satire which can simplistically be described as ‘politically incorrect’, a term Kannemeyer regards as reductive. Transgression of our strong beliefs and the sacred stereotypes of race, sex and politics is unavoidable in order for satire to be both critical and playful about themes that often abound in contradictions that we choose not to see.
The exhibition also displays the launch of The Erotic Drawings of Anton Kannemeyer, a selection of ‘erotic’ works of recent years drawn from his journals, sketchbooks and the commercial work that he did for Loslyf (an Afrikaans version of Hustler, 1995-1997). The title is an obvious reference to, and subversion of, similarly titled collected works by famous artists, yet the iconoclastic assault in Kannemeyer’s work is often not erotic, but rather confrontational towards the values surrounding sex and nudity in the ‘new’ South Africa. Even though these values have changed radically in the last 20 years, Kannemeyer continues to use such imagery because it allows for raw conceptual debates about our values and double standards. As in Kannemeyer’s Bitterkomix work, the target here is mostly the white Afrikaner male. The book is beautifully produced and has a limited print run of 600 copies, bound to become a collector’s item. A selection of works will be on exhibition, offering a view of another thread through Kannemeyer’s oeuvre.
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