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Irma Stern Museum
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Current Exhibitions

Brown Bush Moon, 2018, enamel paint on board Nicolaas Maritz exhibition

From 11 May to 1 June 2019


An exhibition of new landscape works

Opening Saturday 11th May 2019
11am - 1pm

Walkabout on Saturday 18 May at 11am

'Most of the landscape works on this exhibition were inspired by a road trip through the Northern Cape and southern part of Namibia during December 2018. Flat and barren wastes, now and then interspersed with sudden crusty rock formations with deep shadows, such personable geological events in an otherwise seemingly endless wasteland, glided by as the tar road stretched straight ahead like a pencil line over brown paper.

No rain has fallen here since I don’t know when. But it’s beautiful in its own repulsive way. There were few people about, and the one’s I noticed, seemed to appear out of nowhere, and to be living very far apart. The sheep looked tired, in the nicest way possible. The inhospitable aspect of the landscape was exacerbated by extremely hot weather during the day. And a blistering sun. But towards evening a surprisingly cool wind came up. At night the moon and the stars were so much more brilliant than I could recall. The fresh morning landscape was deliciously bathed in a soft and surreal violet light, which I found didn’t photograph well at all. But the purples have always been such difficult colours, especially when it comes to painting; so often too telling, too prosaic…

Crossing the national border between South Africa and Namibia held its own grim fascination; the stern officialese; the strictly formalised process of leaving and entering; the anxious faces of tourists, uncertain in this sudden existential moment, alarmed by loud stamping noises from behind a bullet-proof glass partition. It is a venerable rite of passage, approaching a nightmare, but stoically borne.

Back home, I have to trust my memory to create a painted version of my journey. In doing this, I like afresh the problematic dimensionality of layered paint, the ambiguous order of a chaotic mess, and the ironic coolth of emotionally charged colour. I feel I have succeeded if a successful photograph cannot be taken of the work; that something is left to the intimacy of a primary encounter.'

The exhibition will close on 1st June 2019

Tessa Frootko Gordon photography exhibition

Part of two photography exhibitions - 6 April to 4 May (extended to 29 June)

Meditations, Zanzibar

Tessa Frootko Gordon, a Boston based, South African-born photographer will be exhibiting images made on the island of Zanzibar in 2018. “I would not have known of Zanzibar had it not been for the art of Irma Stern,” says Gordon.

She developed an interest in African art and also European and American modernism in her mid- teens. Stern’s work held a particular fascination for its foundation and fluency in German Expressionism yet its sensibility and subject matter were essentially African.

Gordon had Stern’s Zanzibar in mind when visiting the island for the first time in 2018, some fifty years after first seeing her work. She went in search of Irma’s Zanzibar as she discovered her own through photographs of Stone Town and the East Coast.

This work in progress is a homage to Irma Stern and it is appropriately exhibited in Irma’s house, the UCT Irma Stern Museum.

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