Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finissage: APPEAL 2012

Thank you to everyone who helped round off this three-week project, APPEAL 2012, which came to a close last night in Doornfontein. 

This inaugural project for guerilla gallery is a long-running research exploration by Elgin Rust around the notion of judicial versus aesthetic redress and takes the form of a ficitional trial. Rust opened this process up to a jury of participants artists for its Johannesburg iteration: Catherine Dickerson, Amber-Jade Geldenhuys, Ansie Greyling, Kadromatt, Ikram Lakhdhar, Kai Lossgott, Leroye Malaton, Agnes Marton, Naadira Patel, Sandile Radebe, Pauline Theart, Mma Tseleng and Marguerite Visser.

The exhibition continually shapeshifted over its run, as the artists responded to a core installation of 'evidence' by Rust as well as the industrial exhibition space, and these were fully evident at the finissage event on Monday 24 September.

Some of the works were performative and ephemeral. These included a performance piece by Kai Lossgott, including a typewriter, legal statute book and magnetic tape. This relates to another work of his on exhibition entitled truth addicts anonymous where Lossgott has effectively destroyed the page of a legal statute book by overtyping variations on the oath to sworn testimony and presented it on the surface of an LED lightbox. The finissage also included a performance by Pauline Theart, currently completing her MA in Interactive Media at University of the Witwatersrand, who sang a lullaby into the exhibition space in response to perceived trauma in the work as part of a broader artistic exploration of voice and song in sound art. She repeated this performance at the artists' walkabout and the vernissage.

The opening night also featured two performance works: Agnes Marton's unnanounced poetry readings around the exhibition space; and a unique kwaito set by Kadromatt and Mma Tseleng that referenced a legal dispute regarding royalties and copyright issues rendered together with courtroom audio evidence provided by Rust.

Other works were site-specific, such as Sandile Radebe's cardboard column that responded to notions of architectural redress, and Ansie Greyling's 'Gogga' installation that climbed two adjacent walls as well as Amber-Jade Geldenhuys' installation of obsolete surveillance cameras from an existing perforation in the ceiling. Some were collaborative, such as Leroye Malaton's reconfiguration of Elgin Rust's 'The Ship of Fools' into a kind of pscyhogeography of how it feels to be inside a courtroom scenario. Catherine Dickerson's inflatable sculptures also took a cue from the venue, more in form than content, with their materials reflecting a new method of working in stitched refuse bags powered by eletric fans in the first installation and hairdryers in the second. All were set to automated timers that inflated and deflated the sculptures at intervals. Naadira Patel installed a video and sound work projected onto the back wall of a vault-like room and Ikram Lakhdhar participated long-distance from the US with a visual response to the artworks in progress.

Herewith some photos from the closing event:

Kai Lossgott and Pauline Theart 
Guests with one of Sandile Radebe's sculptural installations on the right
Elgin Rust's tower installation of tapes 
The main exhibition space
Elgin Rust's roaming advocate

Acknowledgements started the evening off
Amber-Jade Geldenhuys' installation 'Static Mobile' gets close attention
Kai Lossgott's LED lightbox work 'truth addicts anonymous'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Artists' Walkabout: APPEAL 2012

Interested parties joined artists from 'APPEAL 2012' on 15 September to hear more about the exhibition and research project currently showing in Doornfontein:

Elgin Rust introduces her project in front of her tower installation
Sandile Radebe explains his work in progress
Leroye Malaton speaks about his reconfiguration of Elgin Rust's 'Ship of Fools'
Kim Gurney introduces Kai Lossgott's lightbox work in the 'judges' room'
Leroye Malaton takes a closer look at Ansie Greyling's 'Gogga' installation in the corner of the 'jury room'
Elgin Rust shows what 'The Ship of Fools' looked like before Leroye's intervention
Pauline Theart performs a lullaby into the exhibition space in response to perceived trauma evident in the work. Her piece is part of a broader exploration of voice and song in sound art.
Project website: http://appeal-2012.withtank.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Installation of 'Appeal 2012' underway

Collaborating artists for the forthcoming exhibition 'Appeal 2012' are busy installing their work in a warehouse space in Doornfontein:

Elgin Rust
Amber-Jade Geldenhuys

The 'jury' table (detail)

Sandile Radebe and Agnes Marton 


Judges' room
Photos: Kim Gurney

The show opens on Tuesday 11 September at 18h00 at 3 Buxton Street, cnr 29 Siemert. Visit www.facebook.com/guerillagallery.jhb for updates and http://appeal-2012.withtank.com for more project information.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kwaito set from Mma Tseleng and Kadromatt opens 'Appeal 2012'

Mma Tseleng & Kadromatt return to explore early Kwaito's use of language in Case # 001/05/1994-2004: Sghubu vs The People. Building from Hillbrow: The Map, a mixtape and cassette sleeve publication that looked at royalty and ownership cases in early Kwaito, the duo will perform at the vernissage of the exhibition 'Appeal' a set that investigates music's disregard for morals, the media, academia, hypocrisy and society's double standards.

Join Mma Tseleng & Kadromatt to celebrate the opening of Elgin Rust's exhibition and research project that together with a dozen participating artists explores the intersection of art, law and the media and related notions of redress.

The exhibition is the inaugural project of guerilla gallery, which eschews its own bricks and mortar to host projects in makeshift city spaces.

Date: Tuesday 11 September
Time: 18h00
Venue: 3 Buxton Street, cnr 29 Siemert, Doornfontein, Johannesburg - courtesy The Living Artists' Emporium

w: http://www.appeal-2012.withtank.com
f: www.facebook.com/guerillagallery.jhb

Hillbrow: The Map (detail) (2012)
Installation towards a cassette sleeve and mixtape publication, 
part of the Independent Publishing Project, April 2012
Mma Tseleng and Kadromatt
Image credit: Francis Burger

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Full jury for 'APPEAL 2012'

The forthcoming exhibition 'APPEAL 2012', opening on Tuesday 11 September in Doornfontein, has a full participating 'jury' of a dozen artists. They range from a poet to an artist inspired by graffiti and rap, to another whose signature is inflatable sculptures. 

The participating artists are: Catherine Dickerson, Amber-Jade Geldenhuys, Ansie Greyling, Ikram Lakhdhar, Kai Lossgott, Nelson Makamo, Leroye Malaton, Agnes Marton, Naadira Patel, Sandile Radebe, Pauline Theart and Marguerite Visser. 

They will respond in their chosen medium broadly to the notion of judicial redress, more specifically triggered by a core installation from Cape Town-based artist Elgin Rust. At the heart of 'APPEAL 2012' is a centrepiece of 'evidence' in diverse media including found courtroom furniture reconfigured into installations. There is also photographic evidence, audio recordings, documentation and an online archive of case material.  

The project has a roll call of fictional characters headed by Advocate Alice who leads the evidence. The collaborating artists are in turn imagined as a jury and their aesthetic responses will be assembled into the group exhibition at different points over its two-week run. The finissage on 24 September could be understood as a composite statement about emotional transformation. 

Planned works range from narrative text and poetry to video, found objects such as surveillance cameras, resampled sound and more. One participant is interacting with the project long-distance from the US in an experimental profiling exchange. 

The exhibition is preceded by a workshop where participants are invited to refine their responses and collaborate. 

A dedicated exhibition website has more information: http://appeal-2012.withtank.com

Exhibit C  (2010)
Elgin Rust
Sixth in the Series, Edition ⅓
Photomontage, collaged, archival ink on photolustre paper
84 x 147cm

Vernissage: Tuesday 11 September @ 18h00
Venue: 2nd floor, Warehouse Building East, 3 Buxton Street, Doornfontein
Viewing hours: 10h00-14h00
Finissage: Monday 24 September & 18h00

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'APPEAL 2012': Artists collaborate in Doornfontein exhibition spanning art, law, & media

Exhibition venue
'The Living Artists' Emporium'
3 Buxton Street, 2nd floor, Warehouse Building East, Doornfontein, Johannesburg
A constantly morphing exhibition that explores ideas around art, law and the media opens next month on 11 September in a pop-up event at an inner-city warehouse. 

'APPEAL 2012', the culmination of a long-running research project by artist Elgin Rust, incorporates over its two-week exhibition run the creative responses of a dozen other artists to existing 'evidence' around notions of the judiciary and related issues of redress. 

Rust says: "Much like a trial gets re-opened for an appeal where evidence is re-evaluated, the project is re-opened and investigated. And like a case that goes into an appeal moves between courts, the project now moves location from Cape Town to Johannesburg."

Invited artists will respond in their chosen medium, ranging from sculpture to video, photography, sound and text. Planned artworks include inflatable sculptures, obsolete surveillance cameras, singing and graffiti. These will be integrated into the composite installation by the exhibition close, into what Rust terms a final 'judgement'. The joint collaborative visual statement regarding emotional transformation will be fully evident at the exhibition's finissage on 24 September.

Participants include: Catherine Dickerson, Amber-Jade Geldenhuys, Ansie Greyling, Kai Lossgott, Leroye Malaton, Agnes Marton, Naadira Patel, Sandile Radebe, Pauline Theart and Marguerite Visser.

The exhibition is facilitated by guerilla gallery, an artist-led platform that hosts projects in makeshift city spaces. The venue is courtesy of The Living Artists' Emporium in Doornfontein and 1886, a property development, asset and financing solutions company. The exhibition is partly sponsored by the National Arts Council.

Exhibition opens: Tuesday 11 September @ 18h00
Exhibition closes: Monday 24 September
Exhibition venue: 2nd floor, Warehouse Building East, 3 Buxton Street, Doornfontein, Johannesburg
Exhibition hours: M-F 10h00-14h00; Sat 10h00-14h00
Artist's walkabout: Saturday 22 September @ 11h00

Contact details: guerilla gallery

Thursday, August 9, 2012

'APPEAL 2012': Q&A with Elgin Rust

'APPEAL 2012': Kim Gurney interviews Elgin Rust in a written exchange about her forthcoming research project and collaborative exhibition that spans art, law and the media, opening 11 September in Johannesburg.

KG: One element that recurs to me in the story behind 'APPEAL 2012' is the question of voice. Achille Mbembe has spoken a lot recently about the capacity to voice and how this is linked to a crisis of language in this country, and in turn to imagination. And this project really began with the silencing of your voice. In what ways would you consider your project an exploration of giving voice?

ER: 'APPEAL' is the continuation of an investigation that I initiated in 2008 for my Masters at Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. And yes, its roots can be traced back to a personal experience of the judiciary. One where I felt like my voice was silenced and which propelled me into this journey investigating redress and what I have come to term aesthetic redress. It now attempts to allow other voices represented by a 'jury' of artistic collaborators to explore notions around the judiciary.

KG: You speak about processes of "aesthetic redress", how the work may trigger memory for the audience to imagine the invisible rather than seeking to reveal some kind of hidden essentialist truth. Would you elaborate on how 'APPEAL' may explore this?

ER: I guess it would do so in a similar way as the initial fictional trial did in 2010. R v Judicial Redress was and still is driven by the invented characters Advocate Alice and Detective Prince. They collected 'evidence' from various Cape Town based courts and re-staged the material as a performative installation - the trial. This was based on three precedents that encapsulate aesthetic redress: research + reconstruction + reinterpretation. It is a process that led me to play an aesthetic game by re-staging heterogeneous objects and processes based in the aesthetic and judicial realm. This revealed a clash, which is part deconstruction and part constructive affirmation of subjectivity.

For 'APPEAL', I have invited a jury of participants from different disciplines to re-investigate the same material. Much like a trial gets re-opened for an appeal where evidence is re-evaluated, the project is re-opened and investigated. And like a case that goes into an appeal moves between courts, the project now moves location from Cape Town to Johannesburg.

The exhibition comprising the evidence and part of the installation will be 'trial ready' for the opening 11 September. Over the ensuing fortnight, the jury will incorporate its judgements, understood as opinions, estimates, notions, or conclusions. I hope the collaborative processes will reflect the complex nature of emotional transformation. A vernissage will close the 'APPEAL' on 24 September.

R v JR (installation view) (2010)
Mixed medium installation of found material from courthouses
Dimensions: variable
Photo credit: Dave Robertson
KG: One of the main symbols that you use in the installation is a ship. What is the significance of this visual metaphor for you?

ER: The metaphor of the ship is effectively used by many artists to express concerns around imagination, migration, colonialism and globalisation. Yinka Shonibare, Cai Guo-Qiang, Kcho and closer to home Cara van der Westhuizen and Renée Holleman come to mind. Unlike Shonibare's ship, which is made using Dutch wax fabric, the ship for the trial Das Narrenshiff is made entirely from found courtroom furniture -- the evidence collected by the detective for the case. It is conceptually based on Sebastian Brant’s The Ship of Fools, a reference indirectly to my roots but more pertinently to law as a problematic colonial import. The ship stands where the participants of a trial act out the controlled ritual of truth-finding. It invites us to play an imaginative game, with notions of childhood memories and contemporary social concerns.

KG: The project crosses mediums, from photography, to found objects to sculpture and sound. Tell me something about how this enables your conceptual ends.

ER: The play across different mediums allows for play between the judicial and aesthetic realm. Photographs, physical evidence and sound clips are read very differently when positioned in the court or in a gallery. This game as described by Jacques Rancière, deconstructs, in a Derridean sense the meaning, revealing inherent unresolvable binaries, which create space for new meaning. This breaking of past and present, which leads to an overload of meaning, reveals the fragility of materials, images and messages in the installation. The deconstruction of materiality is what makes it possible for the work to offer alternatives for emancipated subjectivities.

KG: Your work is described as a kind of serial, performative installation, much like a shifting archive of meaning. In an earlier personal conversation, we touched on an apparent increasing incidence in contemporary art-making that approaches the archival. Yet often this does not extend beyond the catalogue to personal affect, a realm wherein your work finds full meaning. What in your view is the key to this bridge?

ER: The key is the incorporation of affect, something that got a bit lost in the 60’s and 70’s, the heyday of critical art. It was so focussed on interrogating social systems by mimicking them that the artist's personal touch almost completely disappeared. This project mimics the judicial system but it also elicits affect as it incorporates the artist's mark. This leads the viewer to see rather than to think the truth -- a truth that is viscerally sensed, also termed by Deleuze as sense memory. Process art has a long historical trajectory with affect or sense memory, which is understood to run deeper than visual memory. According to Deleuze, this “seeing feeling” is achieved by looking at the "how”, or the production of answers. These emerge though the game-play.

Process sketch (2010)
Dimensions: A4
Elgin Rust 
KG: You have also chosen to work collaboratively with other artists. Can you give an example of how such collaboration has worked in the past to serve the project's broader purpose?

ER: The exhibition 'JUDGEMENT-UITSPRAAK' hosted by The AVA Gallery in Cape Town in 2011 was the first move in that direction. I invited artists to spend time in the initial trial installation R v Judicial Redress set up for the 'Masters Moving Out' show facilitated by the Michaelis Gallery to produce a work in response. The 14 judgements were curated alongside elements from the initial trial installation, including Das Narrenschiff. The artists worked mostly in their respective studios to produce new work using material of their own choice. These judgements which, while offering up some closure, nonetheless remain open-ended and up for discussion. The responses were varied. From Max Wolpe’s ink drawing and Nina Liebenberg’s performance piece to the direct interventions of Bridget Baker and Sonja Rademeyer into pre-existing material or requested evidence.  These immediate interventions caught my eye.

KG: What role do you think artists have to play regarding social justice if any; and how might a broader "trauma culture" that you cite from Hal Foster underscore this?

ER: The primary aim of the court aside from law-making and law enforcement is to resolve disputes and redress violations of rights. The manner in which disputes are resolved has far-reaching effects especially for South Africa emerging from the apartheid regime, which abused the judicial system to enforce an unjust society. It is therefore pertinent for all South Africans to continually keep vigil, to contribute, and to protect an independent judiciary. The shadow of the law shapes society and society shapes the law. The awareness of this circular nature should encourage voices to re-imagine the judiciary. This dialogue fuelled by artists potentially has the power to embolden courts to produce creative and innovative judgements that no longer perpetuate what Foster terms a “trauma culture” but rather a culture of emotional redress.

KG: Recently Khulumani Support Group in South Africa was successful on behalf of 25 South Africans in receiving a settlement from a US court against corporations that produced parts for military vehicles used by the apartheid regime to carry out raids and assassinations. How do you view such compensation in light of the concerns of your project?

ER: From what I understand, the settlement of [US]$1.5 million will be split between the Khulumani Group and the claimants represented by Lungisile Ntsebeza. In the larger picture, it is just a very small settlement from a company that has gone bankrupt. In light of my project, it’s how these funds are put to use which is interesting. Money goes a long way to cover actual incurred cost but I believe emotional redress cannot be bought. That is why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was so important. Also interesting is the fact that the reason this case could go to court was the Alien Tort Claims Act, which allows non-US citizens to bring cases against non-US citizens in a US court. As a precedent it is interesting because it paves the way for litigation against multinational corporations and foreign banks that financed the apartheid government. The snowball effect could be endless.

KG: Of what particular significance is bringing this research project to Johannesburg?

ER: Johannesburg is richly steeped in matters pertaining to the judiciary. It houses the Constitutional Court and places like the Drill Hall. It seemed like a logical progression to allow for a broader band of artists and audience. This attempts to further an awareness of the role art can play in making abstract social systems more tangible. It also activates a visual and theoretical discourse between cities across art, law and media.

KG: What is next for Elgin Rust, once 'APPEAL 2012' has come and gone?

ER: I would like the project to travel more. And seeing the response I had from people outside of South Africa, I believe this model can still be taken further. Dakar springs to mind… [laughs]. The project containing all the research, evidence and the various manifestations thereof is documented and archived online. The call is open for interested parties to get involved. In the interim, I am looking towards 'Infecting the City' [public arts festival in Cape Town] in 2013. But for now I will continue to take it one step at a time.

R v JR (installation view) (2010)
Mixed medium installation of found material from courthouses
Dimensions: variable
Photo credit: Dave Robertson
Elgin Rust is an artist, researcher and cultural practitioner based in Cape Town. 
Kim Gurney is an artist, researcher and journalist based in Johannesburg. She helps curate 'APPEAL 2012' through guerilla gallery, an artist-led initiative.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reminder: Deadline Appeal2012

Just a reminder to all that the deadline for our Open Call: Appeal2012 is set for the 28th of May. Please read the post below for any details regarding info and contact details.

-gg, may 15

Monday, April 16, 2012

guerilla notice: entry #1

guerilla gallery is partnering with visual artist Elgin Helga Rust to present in September this year Appeal 2012, an inter-disciplinary research project and exhibition that engages with judicial and aesthetic strategies of redress. It is a collaborative project, preceded by a workshop, that responds to an earlier body of work by Rust. The exhibition will manifest in innercity Johannesburg. See the Call for Participation, below (closing date May 28). Enquiries to: adv.alice08@gmail.com

--gg, april 16, 2012

Call for Participation: APPEAL 2012

The Forum For Redress (FFR), represented by Advocate Alice and Detective L. Prince, in partnership with guerilla gallery and artist/collaborator Elgin Helga Rust, invites Johannesburg-based practitioners from all disciplines (visual arts, theatre, dance, music, literature and law) to participate in the collaborative research and exhibition project APPEAL 2012.

The Constitutional Court is the final ground for justice. It is based in Johannesburg, a sprawling African metropolis loaded with historical and contemporary sites that are imbued with the residue of acts of violence and redress. It is here that APPEAL 2012 opens a space for debate by inviting 12 'jurors' to consider judicial and aesthetic strategies of redress in CASE NO. 001/05/2008.

The project was initiated by Rust’s MFA project at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (University of Cape Town) in 2008. This first phase materialised as a performative installation in which the arguments for CASE NO. 001/05/2008 were staged as a trial, R v JR 2010. Presented by two fictional characters, Adv. Alice and Det. L. Prince, the work playfully offered the viewer insights into judicial processes, but in a more publicly accessible space. The second phase, the exhibition JUDGEMENT - UITSPRAAK 2011 CASE NO. 001/05/2008, hosted by the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, called for a judgment. Artists external to the project were asked to immerse themselves in the work and act as jurors by providing aesthetic ‘judgments’ in the form of artworks that respond to Rust’s work.

APPEAL 2012, the next iteration, calls for 12 Johannesburg-based art practitioners to reinvestigate CASE NO. 001/05/2008. As the jury, this sworn body of people will convene for a week in September to render a verdict. They are asked to argue for or against opposing processes of redress - judicial vs. aesthetic, objective vs. subjective - to revise judgment for R v JR 2010. Individually, each juror is required to investigate the case thoroughly prior to the Jury Session, a collaborative workshop, in which they will produce a work in response. This represents a form of judgment, i.e. that is “the forming of an opinion, estimate, notion, or conclusion, as from circumstances presented to the mind1” where judgment rests on the evidence presented.

The online archive http://ffr.elginrust.net hosts material accessible to all potential jurors and interested parties who wish to familiarise themselves with the case. This site contains all documents from the case file, evidence archive, trial documentation and judgment collected to date. Please contact Adv. Alice via the blog for any queries or evidence pertaining to the case. Jurors are encouraged to request evidence well in advance to ensure that it is readily available at the Jury Session in September 2012.


The Jury Session is a one-week collaborative research and production workshop starting on 4 September and ending on 9 September 2012. The Jury members should be available for a Meet & Greet on Tuesday 4 September and for the compulsory Jury Sessions to be held from 5 September 2012 until 9 September 2012.
APPEAL 2012, the resulting exhibition, will open to the public on Tuesday 11 September, curated in partnership with guerilla gallery, and will run until Tuesday 25 September with a finissage on Heritage day, 24 September 2012.


Please send a short CV/Resume, portfolio, motivational letter and proposal with a list of evidence and production requirements to adv.alice08@gmail.com

Each participant will receive a stipend for additional materials required and a bursary of R500 to cover transport costs. For more information contact adv.alice08@gmail.com

The deadline for proposals is 28 May 2012. Selected jury members will be notified by 18 June 2012.

This project is produced in partnership with guerilla gallery, an artist-led initiative in Johannesburg (www.guerillagallery-jhb.blogspot.com). It is supported by Assemblage, the National Arts Council and VANSA, the Visual Arts Network of South Africa.

1 JUDGEMENT. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/JUDGEMENT (accessed: December 06, 2010).

Thursday, March 8, 2012

guerilla journal: entry #2

The House, 001

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 002

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 003

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 004

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Neil Nieuwoudt

The House, 005

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 006

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Neil Nieuwoudt

The House, 007

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Neil Nieuwoudt

The House, 008

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 009

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The Hou
se, 010
Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 011

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Neil Nieuwoudt

The House, 012

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

The House, 013

Johannesburg CBD
Mixed media
Dimensions variable
Photo: Kim Gurney

'The House' is nestled in the commercial quarter of Johannesburg CBD, a surprisingly large open space with remarkable graffiti and resonant surfaces hidden behind a burnt-out facade, book-ended on the one side by a commercial bank and on the other by a funeral parlour.

--gg, march 2, 2012