Indepth Arts News: |
"Jane Alexander Installations Featured in Solo Exhibition"
2003-04-12 until 2003-07-27
South African National Gallery
Cape Town, ,
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
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