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Relevant / Irrelevant

Ingrid Winterbach May-June 2017

Journal of an Artist Moving Through a Political Landscape


“Relevant / Irrelevant” Solo exhibition by artist and novelist Ingrid Winterbach: May-June 2017 at the Gallery of University of Stellenbosch (GUS)


The ‘relevant’ part of the exhibition refers to topical issues such as rape, student protests, testimonies of family members of the Marikana victims, and scenes from daily South African life.


The “irrelevant” in the title refers to more personal concerns of the artist: Holbein’s anamorphic skull, male and female portraits, representations of an artist and his model.


Winterbach’s work is deliberately anti-aesthetic. The aesthetic, the harmonious, is seldom sufficiently complex, dense, visually interesting, or confrontational for her purposes. It has too little edge. Winterbach emphasises the eclectic nature of her work – she borrows freely from other artists such as Lucas Cranach, Philip Guston, Francis Bacon and Sandro Botticelli. She makes use of images of Western, African and Oriental art.


Artist Ledelle Moe, of University of Stellenbosch Visual Art Department: “The texts quoted in the works provide fragmented voices that articulate what is being said and also what is not being said. They are like pages in a diary - they meander, allude to and provide fragments for each reader to reassemble and connect into their own narrative. In this way, these works on paper can be seen as scaled up pages of a journal - unfolded in the gallery space”.


“The exhibition is an interesting dissection of art history, the body and current affairs. It weaves personal insight, journaling, and the meandering of the artist with the public engagement of the audience. The result is an ambiguous and uneasy tension of understanding and misunderstanding” says Moe.


Winterbach is the award-winning writer of eleven novels. She was formally a lecturer in drawing and art history at the University of Stellenbosch.

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