Collections: n. the act of collecting; the gathering of contributions; from collect v.t.to assemble or bring together: to put (one’s thoughts) in order: to accumulate.
This is the title of the first group show by the new Honours in Curatorship students of 2016.
A little white cube, the Bindery Gallery, tucked inside the Michaelis School of Fine Art precinct, is being inhabited this week by the lives and objects of twelve new students breathing life into this hide-away space. Twelve new voices are drowning the street sounds with their collections of curated memories and experiences.
Throwing formalism to the wind, the students of 2016 are baring their souls (and their cupboards) through the curation of personal objects whilst occupying a liminal space, the last week in February.
So, how do we choose from our personal archive of objects and stored memories and bring it into a shared space with unfamiliar faces? With each tentative step we claimed our positions and constructed our narratives. By expanding or collapsing, setting up communities along the way, we established methods of communication, learning the value of collaboration, ambiguity, memory and thoughtfulness.
In this gallery space, we see the diversity of this group of students. We are a collection too. We are various ages and stages playing our parts as a “background hum” as Kara Walker puts it. Heinrich Groenewald employs sound to his installation of lost love by adding to that hum. A number of students have constructed their spaces using memory and nostalgia as a palimpsest to their archival material. Marc Smith and Sue Kaplan deal with notions of absence and presence, using the senses to create (or recreate) the ephemera of their nostalgia, whilst Ruzi Rusike speaks of relocation as her taxonomy. Amohelang Mohajane responds passionately to the crisis in South Africa by using the iconic elements of the tire, with its ominous shadow looming like gallows. From a curiosity cabinet of stubs by Lisa Truter to postcards from travels around the world by Viola Makin, resonances and evocations of past experiences create meaning to us all. The traces of ghosts allude to absence and the unspoken. It is unspoken love which has drawn us all here and to the tangibility of that love such as Carly Schultz’s ode to her father or Twahiru Sabuni’s ambiguous images photographed and framed. It is the dialogue that exists between the rectangular floor piece of craft bottles and their connective threads by Elize de Beer, and the scientific botanical display as an ode to her love of animals by Julia Kabat, where we make formal connections. Finally, Daniel Rautenbach’s shoe offers the voice of reason amidst the ephemera of emotion, putting a stop to all our nonsense.
We have seen the evolution of our first tentative thoughts this week, made manifest in a shared space. It is going to be an exciting year!
The exhibition runs until Friday 26 February 2016.
See profiles on this year’s honours in curatorship students here.