Posts Tagged ‘Francois Knoetze’

To live in Grahamstown is to live at an address of amaz!ng privilege. We’re as spoilt as passengers on a cruise ship: we just wait here drinking aloe daiquiris in the sunshine until the world of art pulls up at the door.

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Artist Francois Knoetze presents a cell phone suit and one of the six Mongo characters in his public art exhibition, Cape Mongo, in Grahamstown on 6 July 2015, at the National Arts Festival. Cape Mongo looks at the stories of these characters, each made from the city’s discarded waste, as they journey through Cape Town. (Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe)

However you look at it, 2015 has been a curious year so far. Not long after the Red Berets staged their version of Karate Kid in Parliament, an understudy to political activist Andile Lili splashed poo on a triumphalist bronze metaphor that, up until recently, lazed on a plinth at an eminent university.

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Cape Town artist Francois Knoetze has created four wearable artworks including this one made of tins. Photo: CuePix/Ruan Scheepers

Francois Knoetze’s ingenious Cape Mongo is a searing exploration of contemporary South Africa, offering a punch to the emotional solar plexus. I left it teary-eyed.  Inside a hall tucked off Church Square – an area which most festivalgoers would otherwise have probably ignored – there are five sculptures made of trash (paper, plastic, metal and VHS tape).

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Francois Knoetze's Cape Mongo sculptures are composed of various materials; for example, this one is made of glass. Photo: Charles Harry Mackenzie

Francois Knoetze’s art project, Cape Mongo, consists of a series of sculptures made out of waste, which tower over you and overwhelm like overflowing rubbish dumps in inner cities. The dog, the buck, the draping video tape film, the albatross and the overweight cockroach define the social and political burdens of South Africa which we carry, but choose to ignore. Yet, with Knoetze’s looming sculptures, he makes it unavoidable.

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