Indepth Arts News: |
"Johannes Phokela Re-Working Iconic Images"
2002-05-15 until 2002-06-16
Cafe Gallery Project
UK United Kingdom
Johannes Phokela re-works iconic images by European 'Old Masters',
including Rubens, Bruegel, Jordaens and Jacob de Gheyn. Referring to art historical reproductions, Phokela frequently transforms
the gender and race of key figures in his original source material. The
results are dramatic and unsettling images that challenge nationalistic
and ethnic narratives around contemporary and historical art.
Phokela links these re-interpretations of Dutch Golden Age painting with
the development of the Enlightenment movement, and with the colonisation
of the African continent. Whilst Phokela's work weaves a personal
history into the canon of Dutch and Flemish old master painting, his
practice stands as an examination of the violent actions of the Dutch in
South Africa, as much as an inquiry into the history of painting.
inIVA and Cafe Gallery Projects present a new series of paintings by
Phokela that develops this complex but rewarding set of procedures. A
series of eight large-scale paintings, commissioned by inIVA, brings an
extensive art historical knowledge and a playful sense of humour to bear
on powerful issues, which include (amongst other subjects) mortality,
individual weakness and human vulnerability.
Johannes Phokela, b. 1966 in Soweto, South Africa, studied at FUBA,
Johannesburg before moving to London to continue his studies, completing
his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1993.
Recent exhibitions include Unpacking Europe (Rotterdam, 2001); EV+A
(Irish Triennale, Limerick, 2001); Fixations, Art Exchange Gallery
(solo, Nottingham, 2000); Routes (Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London); Trade
Routes and History (Johannesburg Biennale, 1997).
Johannes Phokela, Ecstacy of Medusa
oil on canvas, 1999