Monday, November 24, 2014

Jeppestown Mural -- Fotos

A corner of Jeppestown now has a 'Golden City Plan' with a difference. Sandile Radebe yesterday transformed a disused wall surface into a city grid mural morphed into block lettering. Depending upon your orientation as a viewer, his silver and gold block alphabet can be multiply read -- as different letters and sometimes integers instead. In their composite playful form, they suggest both a celebration of the golden city of Johannesburg and its bright lights while also critiquing top-down urban planning.

This public space artwork is conceptual cousin to Radebe's inaugural solo exhibition held last month, 'A Walk in the City', and is facilitated by guerilla gallery. Sandile was assisted by Chaduka Phiri in painting 'Golden City Plan'. Below is documentation from the day -- all the images are taken by Clarence Phiri.  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Golden City Plan: Jeppestown mural

Should our cities be planned in advance or should people occupy first and let planning come later? This question was posed on Wednesday night at a series of talks around urban land justice and rights to the city in Cape Town's City Hall. The next guerilla gallery project, by Sandile Radebe, intersects with this theme: 'Golden City Plan' is a mural intervention in Jeppestown that takes the form of the city plan while simultaneously critiquing its ideology. 

Radebe will take to Johannesburg inner city streets in the coming days with gold and silver markers on a chosen surface to create his artwork that alludes both to the gold mining history of the city and its bright lights. This mural is not just a regular city plan, however. Its blocks also spell out letters of the alphabet or ciphers that can be differently perceived depending on the viewer's orientation. This perceptual play in turn unsettles assumed fixities of the city plan and mapping in general. 

Radebe writes in his artist's statement: "The city plan, in its ambiguous form and sense, changes its meaning, its behaviour and ultimately nature. The conventions of writing, or the point of the alphabet, the purpose of transcribing, and indeed the purpose of reading, all get stretched to a new and unexpected end."

In this mural, everyone constructs their own reading or idea of a city and this reading starts with Radebe's own sense of place, "deciphering the graffiti that embellishes the city, the street etiquette, the lingo, the sounds of foot traffic, the vehicles, the trucks, the taxis, the busses, the police sirens; the smell of food, the smell of urine, the smell of oil visible on the tarmac on the streets". He adds": "It's sunshine piercing through the buildings and its shadows... It's night-time, and all of it encapsulated in a line to facilitate marking my presence as a part of the city."

This mural intervention links in concept and aesthetic to Radebe's inaugural solo exhibition, 'A Walk in the City', held last month at the National School of the Arts gallery in the round. See the project website for more:

'Alphabet Soup II' (2014), marking pen on drawing chart paper: Sandile Radebe

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Next public space intervention: Johannesburg

Sandile Radebe's maquette for public sculpture: 'A Walk in the City', NSoA installation view (2014)
--guerilla gallery, an offspace for experimental work, manifests nomadically when circumstances and resources conspire with a flexi-format according to each project's needs. At its heart is an activation of unusual spaces married to conceptual intent. The platform due to its nature has unpredictable gestation times and aims to enable something a little different with each iteration.

Last year, we ventured underground into Cape Town's network of subterranean tunnels, activating these spaces at three different public interfaces with a one-hour endurance lullaby sung by Pauline Theart (see Projects section: 'Cape Town Under: The Third Voice').

Next month, we are venturing back above ground and to our founding city, Johannesburg, for a public space intervention by graffiti artist and muralist Sandile Radebe. The execution of the artwork itself will be unannounced but documented here as and when.

This public artwork is conceptual cousin to Sandile's inaugural exhibition, 'A Walk in the City', hosted this month at the National School of the Arts (NSoA). It takes his language play on the Johannesburg city grid from the gallery environs back to its inspiration: public space. For more on this, visit the exhibition's project website.

 --KG, Cape Town

Sandile Radebe's graffiti block lettering on the floor of his installation for 'A Walk in the City' @ NsOA (2014)