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LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

March 22, 2010
A new exhibition, curated by Christian Nerf and Spunk Seipel and taking place Tuesday of this week at SerialWorks Studio in Cape Town, South Africa, might just fall under the guise of grassroots international relations if you gave it a nudge. "A lot of artists and one collector have donated works for this project," said the curators ahead of the event, which aims to do more than just show art. "After the exhibition--together with Southafrican artists to be named--the works by the European artists will be donated to the National Gallery in Cape Town."

The show is dubbed , or as we like to say, Equals X for short.

The exhibition space itself is exactly what it says--a studio--and less of a gallery. The official byline list it as a multipurpose space developed via the networking and informal routes all artists know from "a personal studio and living space" to the occasional "project room for curated and invited events informed by, and directed at, critical conversations about art practice." The personal studio and living space at the heart of the space is of local artist, curator and researcher Kathryn Smith. The larger SerialWorks umbrella was brought about "to redirect focus towards first encounters with art; that is, to encourage discussions around practice and studio research, and away (somewhat) from the stylistic conventions of display that tend to dominate our encounters with art in the various evocations of the 'white cube'." The ambitions of Equals X, with the wide range of artists and disciplines, should certainly shy away from those unfortunate stylistic conventions of display.

Artists contributing work to the show hail from dozens of locations in both hemispheres. Alphabetically, the list runs from Peter Angermann to Hans-Jörg Voth. More than 70 works of art were selected by Nerf and Seipel for the show, including pieces by the prolific Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki, thematic local photographer Nontsikelelo 'Lolo' Veleko, Turner Prize-winning visual installation artist Wolfgang Tillmans, the 2008 New York Times 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books winner Ed Young, Johannesburg installation artist Phillip Raiford Johnson and "something special" selected by "writer, journalist, multimedia artist and theatre practitioner" Stacy Hardy.

With such a broad range of artists and ideas in the show--Berlin-based artist Karin Felbermayr, a laureate of the Tisa von der Schulenburg Foundation who often mixes performance art with video and photographic images, will show her photography "Reflective Mask"--finding a theme could prove difficult. No matter, say Nerf and Seipel. "Equals X could be described as a nothing that relies on a something," they say succinctly, before adding that, "it could also be seen as 8 slashes." Best not to over-analyze, they suggest, as connections could be tenuous. They should know, they've done this before. Previous to this event Nerf, a guest lecturer at the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and a founding member of the Blow-Up G_Ds artist collective, co-curated the show "MooiMark" with the painter, publisher and organizer Seipel in 2003. That show took place in an abandoned structure in downtown Johannesburg and then later in Vienna.

A pre-show inventory for the Cape Town joint runs down "photographs, paintings, sculptures, live performances and things that want to be part of your annals" as materials for the show, but again the tendency is to refrain from specifics. "What you choose to see in the few hours that Equals X exists is what you get."

And what might one choose to see? "On a superficial level Equals X will provide a cacophony of audio and visual keywords that make one smile and move one's head," the show's announcement assures the masquerading philistine. But the more discerning viewer choosing to "dig deeper" will apparently "find a bigger hole." Ponder at your own peril, lest ye fall in.

Doors in Cape Town open at 8pm on Tuesday evening. It is an all-caps FIRST COME FIRST SERVE event, and "there will be a how to, a what the fuck, a cash bar and secure parking behind the building." If you're going to see the art, think about getting there early. If you're just looking to swarm the Southafrican art scene, show up whenever. And remember, don't over-think it; taking in the show is "not a question of joining the dots," Nerf and Seipel insist.

SEE ALSO: www.serialworks.info

--
The LAS Staff
A number of the Lost At Sea staff have worked and continue to work for various publications, both independent and commercial. Often very stifling in their narrow focus, conventional media outlets left our writers hungry for something bigger, more diverse, more communal. More active, because this is the twenty-first century and it makes sense. During it's short life LAS has accomplished many of its goals (but not all) and has in turn set new ones. Everything that we accomplish is through teamwork and cooperation, both with our regular staff writers and with our contributing writers. LAS is nothing short of a collective. Another contrasting point to some of the magazines out there is that we've checked our egos and scene ethics at the door. We welcome anyone and everyone to contribute and cover a wide range of topics. LAS does not follow your guide lines.

See other articles by The LAS Staff.

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