Please visit us at Booth 06 at the FNB Joburg Art Fair
27 - 29 September 2013
Sandton Convention Centre
Friday 11:00 - 20:00
Saturday 10:00 - 19:00
Sunday 10:00 - 17:00
At GALLERY AOP's 44 Stanley Avenue premises:
Itinerant Studio No33 : Vestiges
7 – 29 September 2013
Christian Nerf will be working out of his 33rd itinerant studio at GALLERY AOP from 7 September. The studio and the exhibition will be open to visitors from Saturday 7 September. The official opening event will take place a week later, on Saturday 14 September at 14:00.
Please scroll down for Texts in association with Christian Nerf's 'itinerant studio No33: Vestiges'
Having spent the better part of the past year on the move and working out of various ‘itinerant studios’ in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, Christian Nerf recently returned with a body of work on paper. These works will be on show during Nerf’s exhibition at GALLERY AOP, and will be augmented by new drawings produced during his 33rd resident itinerant studio.
Having embraced the restrictions offered by drawing and ‘challenging its ability to be a lawless territory’, he refers to the drawings produced in his recent itinerant studio practise as ‘by-products’. The ‘making’ of these drawings often involves complex folding of the paper, animated by his own physical motion and/or that of the drawing materials.
Nerf is known for his conceptual investigations associated with collective action. As he puts it “I have also come to know the value of what can come from relinquishing myself to the relationship knowing that our combination would conjure up a third voice, an original voice. Over the past 15 years these endeavours resulted in multimedia installations, texts, interventions and the odd boat ride.'
Text by Kathryn Smith
There are many adjectives that describe Christian Nerf’s practice and each does so accurately: maverick, agitprop, mythic, absurdist, astute, formal, conceptual, secular, profane, playful, serious. That these adjectives appear to contradict each other is a good thing: binaries shut down and confine, and Nerf's practice is characterised by a radical multivalency that extends through concept and material.
Coming of age at the apex of Apartheid's darkest moments, Nerf attempted formal tertiary education but ultimately chose the freedom of a practice-led education before the phrase became fashionable. At this mercurial political moment, the streets became both studio and gallery, shaping a practice in which long-term projects that rely on nurturing relationships with artists and non-artists alike, develop alongside a form of visual thinking that produces rather iconic formal objects, including prints, sculptures and drawings. His Working with Tom (1999), in which a homeless panhandler used a novelty beercan-shaped camera to photograph passing motorists doing their best to ignore him, is an arresting portrait of prejudice. It also evidences Nerf's approach to collaboration and authorship, and his critical awareness of the ethics embedded in working with others.
For the better part of his adult life, Nerf has simply been working, steadily and with the sparest of means. And for the most part, completely invisibly to the mainstream art world. It has taken several observant artists and curators - Brad Hammond, myself, Tumelo Mosaka, Bettina Malcomess, Clare Butcher - to draw him out and provide a critical space for what he has described as 'scenarios, interactive events and situations that break the so-called natural rhythm allowing for time out, a time for reflecting.'
An artist’s artist, his innately experimental and 'otherwise' position is clearly evident in the work of younger artists like Anthea Moys, Francis Burger, and Josh and Jared Ginsburg, and senior figures like Barend de Wet, Penny Siopis and Willem Boshoff have also recognised and acknowledged Nerf's quiet but incontrovertible demand for ‘uncalled-for newness' and ‘unnecessary solutions’. What artist, with no theatre experience whatsoever, can decide to enter a theatre performance event (I Didn’t Like It When I Was There But Now I Recall It Fondly) and then win it, to the disgruntlement of more seasoned practitioners?
In the late capitalist quandary in which we find ourselves, cash may still be king, but in Nerf's world, barter has always been smarter. This ability to operate from the margins is his greatest asset, and has provided the mental space in which witty word play and mathematical puns (The Thing in Breathing, /+\=X) sit alongside his visual aphorisms, whose often apparently simple form belies real complexity; of concept, process and method. End