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Indepth Arts News:

"Jane Alexander Installations Featured in Solo Exhibition"
2003-04-12 until 2003-07-27
South African National Gallery
Cape Town, , ZA

Jane Alexander, winner of the 2002 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African sculpture, was put on the map by her powerful 1985 masterpiece, Butcher Boys, produced as part of her masters thesis. Today Butcher Boys occupies pride of place at the S A National Gallery where her solo exhibition, funded by DaimlerChrysler, runs until 27 July.

The impact of Butcher Boys, a life-size "trio of malevolent figures ... with ripped-open spines" is so immense that it is famous even to those with little knowledge of art. In fact, it was Butcher Boys that established Alexander as an artist, one whose works offer merciless commentary upon socio-political issues, reflecting the disquiet and inhumanity of the times.

Three major works will occupy three separate halls of the Gallery: Butcher Boys, Bom Boys, a collection of scaled-down masked figures inspired by Cape street children and African Adventure, the main tableau, which she created after winning the DaimlerChrysler award for exceptional artistic achievement. African Adventure comprises an extensive group of sculptures, photomontage and video inspired by, and offering loaded commentary upon, the tourist agencies of Long Street where Alexander lived for many years.

It has been said that Alexander transforms her unique vision of reality into a powerful visual experience, exposing man's bestiality. To this end, her creations have been described as menacing, theatrical, disquieting, chilling, primaevel, fearsome, arresting and ghoulish. Life-size, life-like, indeed larger than life, these sculptures are the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

Alexander's work is a response to the environment and to issues that interest her. The public, Alexander believes, is drawn to violence; the more horrific the work, the more people look at it. Certainly there is no shortage of evocative material and Alexander's works are dramatic and masterful portrayals which leave the viewer deeply moved and disturbed. Of Bom Boys, one critic asked: "How does one read the Boms?" to which Alexander herself provides the answer. People should make their own interpretations of her work, she feels, and if it differs from her idea, it doesn't matter.

Alexander, a senior lecturer at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, is the recipient of numerous awards including National Fine Arts Student Competition Award (1982), Standard Bank Young Artist Award (1995) and FNB Vita Art Now Award (1996). Her works have been exhibited internationally.

Jane Alexander
African Adventure

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